Question: Why has Coca Cola gone to the ends of the earth in less than a hundred years but the gospel has not in two thousand years?  I think the answer is this: the world welcomes economic wealth.  People want jobs and when we provide jobs, they invite us.  Jesus says, When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’  And in the morning, ‘It will be stormy today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ You know how to interpret the appearance of the sky, but you cannot interpret the signs of the times.   (Matthew 16:2-3)

The world has changed.  Money is drying up in the area of missions.  We’re seeing people graduate from universities with very different priorities than those of us who graduated over 20 years ago. Young people today want choices and relationships.  They need to feel loved.  Young people today want to have a job where they can make a difference and have an impact.  They expect—even demand—excellent service and they need to be connected.  They need to be linked to other like-minded young people.  Young people are changing the way we live, the way we work, the way we play, the way we study.  We live in a world today that is without walls.  Transparency is going to become a huge issue.

My son—who has been overseas for 4 years now—does not belong to a mission organization.  Why not?  Because he believes that within the next 10 or at most 15 years others will be able to research everything about him on the internet.  In the not too distant future we are not going to be able to hide anything.  Where we went to kindergarten, all the schools we’ve attended, every job we’ve worked, not to mention the kind of car we drive, who we’re married to, our kids’ names – it’s all going to be out there, available to anyone for $9.99.  We’re not going to be able to hide it.  We need to lead transparent lives.  We need to do missions transparently too.

If you don’t want a Muslim or a Hindu or a Buddhist to know something about your past, you’d better not do it today.  Such information flow is not going to greatly affect those of us who are over 50 but it is going to affect the young guys and gals coming up; especially their ability to live and work in hard areas for Jesus.  We need to understand that we have to do missions transparently.  If we don’t do it transparently we are going to be in big, big trouble.  Jesus points out at the end times, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. (Matthew 10:26)

PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.