. . . or “250 million is a lot of people – until you consider . . . .”
Like all organizations, we enjoy celebrating milestones. You know, those achievement points that remind us how far we’ve come since (insert arbitrary date here). So when our digital Bible outreach recently passed the 250 million mark we were understandably elated that so many people had engaged with God’s Word through our digital networks over the last five years.
And why shouldn’t we be? Let’s face it, that’s a whole bunch of people interacting with Scripture in their heart language – many for the very first time. Over a quarter of a billion folks hearing the eternal-life message of Jesus Christ; I mean we should get a gold star for that, right?
Wait. What? You say there are over 7 billion people on the planet? That kind of changes things.
Consider this: 250 million is slightly less than 4% of the world’s population. That’s right. Four. Percent.
With recordings in over 900 languages that are spoken by nearly 6 billion people, we have to look beyond this first 250 million and push toward greater reach and availability.
Now don’t get us wrong; we are excited and overjoyed to be reaching so many people. Moreover, we realize ours isn’t the only mission outreach and a lot of great mission groups are also working hard to complete the Great Commission. As a matter of fact, we’re proud to call many of them partners. But they’ll be the first to tell you that even with all our efforts put together, there is still much to be done.
Wycliffe Bible Translators will tell you that more than 1,800 languages still need a translation to begin.
Deaf Bible Society will tell you that only about 2% of the Deaf have ever been exposed to the Gospel.
All of us will tell you that the Bible must be in a format that overcomes poverty, illiteracy, deafness, blindness, internet connectivity, and numerous other obstacles that prevent true understanding and engagement with the Word of God.
I guess what we’re really trying to say here is, with so many people in the world that have never even heard the name of Jesus, we can’t rest on our laurels; we can’t say, “Wow, we’ve done quite a bit, so maybe it’s time for someone else to step up and pitch in.” We can’t be happy and content until the Lord’s command is met.
So when is that? Well, He said, “This gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations . . .” (Matthew 24:14). Yes, when every people group has access in a language they understand and in a format they can actually use.
What happens then? Well, as He concluded: “. . . and then the end will come.” Yep, that’s when we can be content with our work. And better yet, we can all go home.