The Mississippi Baptist Foundation  |  est. 1943  |  Psalm 24:1
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      Paul Chitwood serves as the president of the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention. He spoke at both the Pastors Conference and during the IMB report at the recent Southern Baptist Convention annual meeting in Anaheim, CA. Dr. Chitwood also was a panelist at a special presentation held at the Cooperative Program booth located in the Convention exhibit hall. I heard some of his comments while passing near the CP booth.

       Each time I heard Dr. Chitwood address those who were assembled, his topic was the lostness of the world. At the Pastors Conference, Dr. Chitwood read passages from the Book of Revelation focused on the “lake of fire” as the eventual destination of those who die without Jesus. Defining lostness as “the world’s greatest problem,” Chitwood asserted that “while all other problems end at death, lostness begins at birth and is Eternal.” He further noted that “this greatest problem is Universal.”

      Regarding the vastness of global lostness, Chitwood stated that more people are living on Earth than ever before and IMB statistics indicate the growing number of people who die annually without Jesus. According to Chitwood, the IMB considers population growth, death rate, and global lostness each year and has reached the sad conclusion that 157,690 people die every day around the world without a personal relationship with Jesus. All of those who die lost will be in the lake of fire.

      Against the backdrop of these sobering statistics, Dr. Chitwood offered an encouraging truth regarding global lostness by declaring “Jesus is the remedy for the world’s greatest problem (because) on a hill called Mount Calvary Jesus provided a solution.” He then challenged those in the assembly and the churches represented with “We have a tremendous task. We must be on mission making disciples of every nation.” Why? Because “John’s vision saw a great multitude from every tribe, peoples, and languages gathering around the throne.”

      Followers of Jesus Christ have received the divine mandate to make disciples in our own backyards and throughout the world…even to the uttermost parts (Matthew 28:18-20; Acts 1:8). Although Convention messengers celebrated 52 newly-appointed IMB missionaries who will be moving into a host of countries and people groups with the goal of reducing the extent of lostness where they will be living and serving, the breadth and depth of global lostness cannot be adequately addressed by Southern Baptist Convention-appointed missionaries alone. You and I are needed to accept the challenge to begin right where we are…in our Jerusalem… bearing witness for Jesus Christ to family members, neighbors, co-workers, classmates, the check-out clerk at the grocery store and Walmart, and anyone and everyone else within our sphere of influence.


Dear Heavenly Father, I wonder how many of the 157,690 who died in the previous 12 months without Jesus crossed my path sometime during the year. Burden my heart for the lost. May this burden translate into action as I not only pray for the lost, but also provide resources for mission efforts and participate personally in being a witness for Jesus whenever and wherever I have the opportunity. May I have the privilege of introducing someone to Jesus this week, the One who is the remedy for the world’s greatest problem. Amen.