First World Problems

The other day I heard an American pastor talking about the problems his church was facing. Their worship center was at least %80 full during their Sunday service. They’d had a difficult time finding a replacement children’s minister after the old one left for a bigger church. The city wouldn’t grant them a permit to perform their Christmas musical in public. Their video projectors need new bulbs every six months.

These are first-world problems.

Some of the “problems” we¬† face in our everyday lives aren’t problems at all. We complain, but most of the world’s population would consider it a luxury to get to decide what to wear or where to eat. We’re more than blessed. We’re spoiled.

I had a hard time sympathizing the pastor’s complaints. Often, when I talk to churches about their direct involvement in global mission, I hear very lame excuses blaming these “problems.”

“To support a missionary,” I’ve heard said, “we’d have to cut into our recreation budget.”

“We just can’t do a mission trip this year,” they say with a straight face, “because we’re committed to three weeks of camp this summer.”

What we’ve got to realize is that with our blessing comes obligation. Opportunities are responsibilities. That we have the option of hopping on a plane and traveling to pretty much any part of the world we’d like means that we must to go when we can. There are no excuses, and nothing is more important that our complete obedience to the God who has sent us.

Of course, one “problem” we can face is the overwhelming number of choices. How to get started, and where, can be difficult decisions. Fortunately, God doesn’t leave us alone to make those decisions. Jesus promised to go with us, and His Spirit is our guide. We need to recognize that “too many ways to help the world” is a very good problem indeed.

About E. Goodman

Ernest Goodman is a missiologist, writer, teacher, and communications strategist.