How can we accomplish the job God Gave us—taking the Gospel to an enslaved world? — DAWSON TROTMAN
More than twenty-five years ago, in one of his last messages to staﬀ members and trainees before his death, Navigator’s founder Dawson Trotman (1906-1956) drove home what he saw to be the need of the hour:
WHAT IS THE Need Of The Hour?
For a beggar with a tin cup, it’s a dime. For a woman being taken to the hospital, it’s a doctor.
But what is it in Christian work? I started to list the things we often feel are the need—those things which, if supplied, would end our troubles.
Some say, “If I just had a larger staﬀ . . Many a minister would like to have an assistant, and many a mission would like to have more missionaries.
Others say, “We don’t need more workers, but better facilities. If we just had more oﬃce space and more buildings and a bigger base of operation, then we could do the job.”
In some parts of the world they say it’s better communications we lack, or better transportation, or better health care, or literature.
Many feel the need is an open door into some closed country. But the Bible says, “My God shall supply all your needs.” If we need an open door, why doesn’t God open it-“he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth”?
Some say, “If we just had more time,” or “If I just weren’t so old, if I were only young again.” People have said to me, “Daws, if I had known when I was twenty years old what I know now, I could have done a hundred times more for the Lord. Why didn’t I?
Often the biggest need seems to be money. Money is the answer to a larger staﬀ, more facilities, better communications and transportation and literature. “If we just had more money.”
What is the need of the hour? I don’t believe it is any of these. I am convinced that the God of the universe is in control, and he will supply all these needs in his own way and in his own time, all else being right.
The need of the hour is an army of soldiers dedicated to Jesus Christ, who believe that he is God, that he can fulfill every promise he ever made, and that nothing is too hard for him. This is the only way we can accomplish what is on God’s heart-getting the gospel to every creature.
In 1948 in Europe I met for three days with a group of twenty-five German fellows. I talked to them every evening for three hours, laying before them the great commission and the idea that not only did Germany need to hear the gospel, but that Germans themselves needed to obey the great commission by sending out missionaries.
Every once in a while a hand would go up. One of them said, “But Mr. Trotman, you don’t understand. Some of us right in this room don’t even own an Old Testament. We only have a New Testament.” But I pointed out, “When Jesus Christ gave these commands, they didn’t have even a New Testament.”
Later another spoke up. “But Mr. Trotman, we have very few good evangelical books in this country, like you do in America.” I asked, “How many books did the disciples have?”
Scattered through our nine hours together were other protests: “In America you have money.” “You have automobiles, we have bicycles.” “In America you can hear the gospel any day.” Every excuse was brought up. Each time I replied, “But the twelve apostles didn’t have that either, and Jesus sent them out.”
Finally, near the end, one fellow who was a little older than the rest, and who had an almost bitter expression on his face, rose and said, “Mr. Trotman, you in America have never had an occupation force in your land. You don’t know what it is to have soldiers of another country roaming your streets. Our souls are not our own.” I responded by reminding him of the Roman soldiers who occupied Palestine at the time Jesus Christ and his disciples lived.
Then it dawned on me that when Christ sent out his men, they were in a situation so bad that there could never be a worse one: no printing presses, no automobiles, no radios or television, no telephones, no church buildings.
He left them with nothing except a job to do. But with it he said, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore …”
What does the therefore mean? It means, “I have the power to give you the order, and I have the power to back you to the hilt.” Christ has all power. Not just in heaven, but also on earth. Not part of the power, but all power, which means power over the Romans, and power over Communists, and power over every nation on earth.