Bad Times Are Good for Missions

I believe the Lord brought this word to mind in one of our prayer meetings on Friday:

The worst of all times is the best of all times for missions.

We were praying over Lamentations 3. Those were the worst of times for Israel. But in that moment they were given the best of promises,

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. (3:22-23)

Today marks the close of Missions Focus at Bethlehem. So we were praying for missions. That is when this word came: The worst of all times is the best of all times for missions.

Such words do not have intrinsic authority the way Scripture does. They must be tested. Here is the truth I hear in those words.

  1. During an economic downturn we are more dependent on God. That is the most fertile soil for creating missionaries.
  2. During an economic downturn unreached people around the world do not expect you to come, but to look out for yourself. So they may more likely see your risk as love rather than exploitation.
  3. During an economic downturn those who need Christ around the world may be less secure in earthly things and more ready to hear about eternal life.
  4. During an economic downturn people at home may be wakened to the brevity of life and the fragility of material things, and so may become more generous not less. And when they give under these circumstances, it will make Christ look all the more like the all-satisfying Treasure that he is.

And so it may well prove to be that the worst of all times is the best of all times for missions.

John Piper (@JohnPiper) is founder and teacher of desiringGod.org and chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary. For 33 years, he served as pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church, Minneapolis, Minnesota. He is author of more than 50 books.