My wife and I recently visited Canada for the first time. Like many who have been there, we left with a desire to go back. We loved the place–both the cities and the spectacular wonders of nature. We loved the Canadians as well. They were polite and kept saying “I’m sorry” all the time.
One of my friends told me, “You should blog about your experience in Canada.” I said, “Of course.” Well, I have so many good things to write but there is one statement that has been haunting me. When we were in the city of Vancouver in the province of British Columbia, our host nonchalantly said, “Vancouver is the graveyard of pastors.” I was floored! And baffled.
The explanation given to me was simple: people in Vancouver are generally well-satisfied and content with their life. They have enough of everything; therefore, it is quite difficult to convince them that they need God, too. As a result, pastors face insurmountable challenges in planting and growing churches in Vancouver. Many of them have come and gone, feeling that they have not made a difference in the spiritual landscape of the city. I am sure one of these discouraged pastors was the one who branded this beautiful city as a graveyard of pastors.
I remember hearing about two shoe salesmen who were assigned to a remote town. After evaluating the market, one salesman called headquarters and said, “There’s no market here; no one’s wearing shoes!” The other salesman, however, called his boss and said, “Send thousands of shoes; everyone here needs shoes!”
I don’t know if this story is true, but it reminded me that there are two ways of looking at Vancouver. One way is to truly regard it as a graveyard of pastors; that is, people do not need the gospel, or even God, because they believe they have everything they need. On the other hand, we can look at Vancouver the way our Lord Jesus looks at it: a plentiful harvest.
Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:37-38 NIV).
Let us pray for Body of Christ in Vancouver, that they would be encouraged and strengthened in their faith amid a seeming spiritual apathy. Let us pray that they could convey the message of Christ’s gospel in ways that are clear and relevant. And let us pray that the Lord himself would remove the people’s spiritual blindness so that they could see and understand the truth that their sufficiency is in Christ alone.
And while you’re praying, remember that every other city all over the world is in the same spiritual condition. So, let’s obey the Lord of the harvest who commanded us to pray.
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