Homesickness - Only a "Mission" Problem?
"... I am made all things to all men that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you" (I Cor. 9:22-23).
If there was one thing Paul was not, it was homesick! Paul was a Christian who "practiced what he preached" concerning the gospel being "the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth" (Romans 1: 16).
The brotherhood has realized for a long time that "homesickness" and "culture shock" have been two of the most important factors in the quick return of many missionaries. The first recorded case of apparent homesickness occurred on the part of a preacher-missionary named John Mark (Acts 13). So serious was this case of "home-iris," that Paul and Barnabas had a "sharp-contention" over Mark and eventually went their own separate ways!
Examples of homesickness have arisen where Christian men went to preach in a state other than their home states. One stayed 2 months! Another stayed only 7 months! Was there a church problem? No! Were there personal problems within the families? No! Did the wives become homesick? No! But the preachers did!
In a day when much is being written by the brotherhood concerning congregations who change preachers every few years and the thousands of dollars that are spent in moving these preachers from congregation to congregation, what a sad development it is to see preachers become homesick and leave the Lord's chosen work!
Paul teaches in I Corinthians that Christians belong to the one body of Christ, trod yet are members in particular. Some were called to be apostles, prophets, teachers, etc. Each one had a different task to perform for the same intended goal - glory for God!
Now perhaps this same idea can hold true for different locations and fields of work for the preacher. Some may be suited for California, some for Texas, or some for New York. Not everyone easily adapts, however, in California. Not everyone easily adapts in Texas. Neither does everyone easily adapt in New York. Certainly many preachers are like Paul in the sense that they can adapt to anyone, anywhere. But let each individual preacher find this out BEFORE he moves and possibly causes great heartache and waste of money!
Perhaps a preacher can learn to adapt to any man, any place! After all, the Bible records that years after Mark's apparent case of homesickness, Paul told Timothy to "take Mark and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry" (2 Timothy 4: 11}. May God help us to "become all things to all men."
TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV: 25, pp. 13-14
April 30, 1970