A History Lesson
Kublai Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan, ruled during the 13th Century. Kublai Khan’s empire, which he basically inherited from his grandfather, stretched from China to Central Europe and was larger than that of Alexander the Great and the Roman Caesars. No one has yet matched the size of the Khan Empire.
Since the Khan Empire had reached its limit, Kublai focused on maintaining peaceful borders. With his mother being a Christian and with possible influence from Marco Polo, Kublai expressed interest in Christianity for helping strengthen his empire. The story goes that Kublai requested that 100 missionaries be sent by Pope Gregory X to the Mongol Empire to teach Khan and his people about Christianity.
That request went unmet, so Kublai Khan instead turned to Buddhism, which still exists as the dominant way of life in Mongol and the other areas previously part of the Khan Empire.
What if Pope Gregory X had fulfilled Kublai Khan’s request for 100 missionaries? We can only imagine the impact that would still be felt today not only in Mongolia and the rest of Asia but also throughout the world had that request been met.
While I am not a historian, nor do I pretend to understand the politics involved in Pope Gregory’s reasons for ignoring Kublai Khan’s request, I can say that this story has amplified my focus on reaching the lost. I realize even more the need to walk through the doors God opens. I’m more fully understanding that missions cannot wait. I have too often underestimated what serving and loving Jesus can do.
When God opens a door, I need to walk through it. I wish I could say I have always done this. Like Pope Gregory, I too have missed some significant open doors presented to me by God. I will probably miss others but less so since this story has heightened my awareness of the impact of letting fear keep me from walking through those open doors.
Missions Can’t Wait.
Just as Kublai Khan did not wait to strengthen his empire through religion, reaching out to this lost and dying world can’t wait either.
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead, he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
God’s patience astounds me, but 2 Peter tells the reasons for that patience. This scripture also indicates the importance of reaching the lost. The opportunity for missions is now, and that is the path of obedience we should commit to follow.
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 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 9:36-38)