The Christmas Octave including Steven’s death, John the Apostles ministry, and the death of the babies in Bethlehem by Herod can teach us much about missions.
Stevens death overseen by Saul is the opening of the great drama which will see Saul become Paul the greatest missionary in history.
John’s heart, warmed by the gift of God’s love in Jesus Christ, the Savior, reached out in love toward others. He wanted them to have a part and share with him in the blessed fellowship which he himself had found. “That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you that ye also may have fellowship with us” (1 John 1: 3). Christian faith is not static. It is active. “Faith worketh” (Gal. 5 : 6). It does what it can to see itself multiplied in the hearts of men everywhere. And it worketh “by love” (Gal. 5: 6). You give gifts to those whom you love -as a rule, perhaps, the largest and best gifts to those whom you love most. Christian love encircles the world, and there is no better gift of love that you can give anyone anywhere than to show him his Savior, that he also may have fellowship with you in the communion of saints through faith in Christ Jesus. Christmas, therefore, should be for us a tremendous festival of missions, spurring us on to reach out as never before to enlarge the reaches of the fellowship of faith and love. (Luther Pellot).
The little children killed by Herod simply because of the time they were born are a great warning as we do mission work. As an African deaconess told me, “when you preach the Gospel and do acts of mercy together the devil goes crazy”. The devil will do all he can to thwart mission work because he knows his time is short. Mission work needs a clear eyed and tough minded look at the world and the issues that will be faced as we witness to Christ in word and deed.