The first objective is sowing the seed. The second is reaping the harvest when the seed falls on good ground. If we sow the seed in every heart, but do not reap where the seed prepares a harvest, then we have not reached our objective. We have in effect added to the condemnation of men with the gospel. We have been a savor of death unto death rather than life unto life (2 Cor. 2:16).
If, on the other hand, we reap where we have sown, but we do not sow in every heart in our assigned mission fields, then we still have not reached our objective. This is serious. This objective is not a mere psychological goal that makes us feel good when we get there. This is a mission assigned by our commander in chief. Not to get there is failure to carry out the assigned mission: it is defeat. Even if people do not or will not respond to the message of good news, this has no bearing on the objective to communicate the message to them. God assigns the objective; the people do not choose their own.
Sun Tzu said, “In war then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns.” This truth was violated partially in Korea, completely in Vietnam, and not at all in the Gulf War in Kuwait. In the Korean and Vietnam wars, we rotated men and units in and out of the theater of operations. That meant everyone got ribbons and medals. It also meant lengthy campaigns, more casualties, and no victory. In Vietnam, our objective deteriorated to counting the bodies of the enemy killed.
As I write this, many Christian missions have set certain measurable objectives to be accomplished within the next ten years. However, there are three problems with this kind of thinking:
• The objectives are too small.
• They are too far away.
• They should not be measurable. (In the spiritual war, God keeps the records.)
In other words, we are planning for lengthy campaigns, not victoriouscampaigns. Ten years from now is too far away.
In World War II, the Allies defeated the two most powerful, industrialized, militaristic nations of the world, which already had a head start when the United States entered the war. They were already off and running, while we had to start from nothing with our Pacific Fleet sunk. We defeated them in three and a half years. They were at the extreme end of our supply lines. Men who had fought for two years in Africa and Europe boarded ships in France and headed directly for the invasion of Japan. In other words, we had an objective of victory, not a lengthy campaign.
The Church has been counting on the victory prophesied in the second coming, rather than seeking the victory commanded and mandated in Matthew 28:18–20 before the end of the age. This is a cop-out from present responsibility.
Unless we know where we are going, it is of little importance how we go about getting there. The objective is primary.
*Excerpted from Principles of War. To purchase, visit ccmbooks.org/bookstore.