Would You Ignore Kublai Khan?

The Mongol Empire By Kallie Szczepanski, About.com Guide
The Mongol Empire
By Kallie Szczepanski, About.com Guide

Kublai Khan, the grandson of Ghenghis 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 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.

Amplifying Missions

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. And, I have too often underestimated what serving and loving Jesus can do.

Time to Walk Through Open Doors. When God opens a door, I need to walk through it. I wish I could say I have all A’s in this area. Sadly, I do not. Like Pope Gregory, I too have missed some significant open doors presented to me by God. And, equally as sad, I will probably miss others. But I can say that 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 and even stupefies me at times, but 2 Peter clearly tells the reasons for that patience. This scripture also indicates the importance of reaching the lost.

While missions have been a priority financially for my husband and me for many years now, we both feel the calling to prepare for more. The opportunity for missions is now, and that is the path of obedience we commit to follow.

Never Underestimate What Serving and Loving Jesus Can Do.

One of my favorite aspects of Missions Month at my church comes through the many stories told not just about the miracles taking place but about the opportunities God constantly presents to those with a heart of obedience.

People living their lives serving and loving Jesus provide endless inspiration for others to go into the world themselves or to be a part in sending others. Examples of such opportunities include teaching natives of a country to speak English by reciting Psalms, Proverbs and poems by Mother Theresa. They also include receiving support from country officials in unexpected ways and through being able to provide Bibles in native tongues.

These stories of serving and loving strike a chord in my heart to amplify my own outward expression of the inward reality of Jesus being Lord of my Life.

Reaching the Unreached Through Education

“There are over 400 unreached groups in Northern Asia. Many of the best and brightest from these peoples end up spending four years in a university. This is a crucial window to reach these never before reached peoples.”

The Bassett Family serves “the university students of Northern Asia. This gives [them] access to reach the unreached before they are sent into the work force. [Their] family aims to serve the future leaders of Asia with excellence.”

The Basset Family has said yes to the call to reach the unreached in Northern Asia. They have chosen to walk through an open door. They are serving and loving in obedience.

“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)

You can learn more about the Bassett Family and their service in Northern Asia at Light4Asia.


Be determined. Pursue simplicity. Find balance. Be curious. Be deliberate. Be intentional. Age gracefully. Make the most of every opportunity.


Mark Allman
February 6, 2013 at 10:50 am

My first thought was how stupid can you be Pope. Who can ignore a request like that? I am thinking how many thousands could have been impacted. I am seriously getting an attitude towards Mr Pope. I then realized a couple of things. First like you I have ignored request before, maybe not ones sent by courier but opportunities when I could have been a missionary to someone and turned down the chance. I am thinking numbers and I do not believe God thinks the way I do about numbers. He thinks the one when I think the many. The one is so valuable as to not actually be known. One could affect 10,000 while a 1000 could only affect one. I do believe that numbers are not a measuring stick; faithfulness is. If I am called to minister to only one who am I to question that and who am I to think that is less worthy than ministering to 10,000. My other thought is the Pope did not mess up God's plan. He might have given up an opportunity to be part of it but mess it up? No way. It is like the story of Esther; God was going to get it done with or without her. I am glad she chose to be with. Let us choose to be part of the harvest.

    February 6, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    For me, I can easily get critical and judgmental of others to the point of almost condemning them. That is, until I personalize the situation. When I place myself in the context of the story, I realize that the decision perhaps doesn't seem as obvious as it does to me in my context. This story helps me to see the important of having big-picture vision while at the same time loving in the details. The numbers connection is also so valid. It would be so easy to say that my "ignoring" isn't a big deal because it didn't affect millions throughout time. But, how do I really know that? We have to get the idea of measuring and comparing out of our heads at times to really grasp that the one is just as important. And, you're absolutely right. The Pope did not mess up God's plans. God has His divine will in place, and we cannot thwart that. Now, because He chooses to work through us, do you think the way in which that will is carried out might change based on our choices? What think ye?

      Mark Allman
      February 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm

      I do think that. In Esther 4 I believe she is basically told if she does not step up then help for the Jews will arise from another place. She is also told she may be in the position she is in just for that purpose. She was not told that for sure so she had a choice to make. I do think God's will is carried out by Him the way he chooses and we can be excluded or included based on our choices which is scary. I also know that God can make wonders our of our blunders too!

        February 6, 2013 at 12:41 pm

        So true, Mark. Nothing can stop His will from going forth, but He does allow us to play a part in determining the details of how that will is carried out. He didn't have to do things that way, but He loves us so much that He wants us to be a part of making His will come to fruition. I get brave when I know that He can make "wonders of our blunders." I know that I can make the best choice I know to make and that He will make wonderful things out of my imperfections along the way. Praise God!

Mary McCauley
February 6, 2013 at 6:22 pm

I love comment about numbers. I remember when a pastor friend said we should cancel a community service because he did no feel enough people were showing up. My response was that if ONE person was impacted and reached that was enough.
We are ALL missionaries. Right outside our door is the biggest mission field there is! So many in our world do not know Jesus, do not attend church, and have never experienced the true meaning of Easter or Christmas. So it is not where we travel, but that we are willing to do what God has for each of us to do. We are not all called to the same ministry. You Kari have a great one right here on your blog! Don't think otherwise!

    February 6, 2013 at 8:11 pm

    You know, Mary, I oddly had not applied the numbers comment to my blog even after I talked about doing so in my reply to Mark's comment. God and I have to revisit that issue every so often, and He always asks me the same question. "Will you write even if no one ever reads it, even if it's just you and Me working through stuff and growing your faith?" And when I answer "Yes," He renews my faith in what I am doing. Thank you for reminding me of that! Just came back from a mission service at church, and the speakers were terrific, telling some amazing stories. Makes me want to be bolder and have more passion for Christ. Just wanted to add that…

February 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I had the privilege of taking a missions trip to Mongolia. God is definitely doing some great things there now.
The story I heard was that the missionaries didn't want to travel in the harsh winters but would come later. Talk about a sad mistake. IT makes us realize the importance of today. I know I've missed opportunities to talk to people that I later regretted.

    February 7, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    Missions trip definitely change your perspective. For me, so does hearing stories from missionaries. My kids are being impacted by them too. You know, I wondered what the "real story" was, and maybe we can't ever know for sure. I did research a couple of places, and the story I told was basically what both of those sites said. Either way, the significance of the missed opportunity certainly is glaring. I truly hope it has changed my life in that area.

February 8, 2013 at 10:44 am

Thanks for giving us a "shout out"… We are privalaged to be working with amazing students in Asia. Blessings!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *