Friday, October 05, 2007

Stories that need to be told

Missionary endevour looks foolish to the world. There's really no way around that. In fact, at it's best it looks foolish, at it's worst it looks imperialistic as well as foolish. Why would someone, particularly someone from the west, with all our benefits, education, health, wealth and advantages choose to go somewhere like Bulgaria or Yemen or Mauritania to tell people about Jesus? Why give up everything you've got for a religious ideal?

Well, because it's not simply a religious ideal. Jesus isn't a religious ideal. He didn't come to lobby, or save the environment or give us the kingdom on earth...he came to save. Jesus is supreme over every thought, very theory. He is Lord over every people group, every island, every language, every culture. And He will judge them all on the Last Day. And thats why missions is not foolish. Thats why it's the greatest act of love there is. Thats why Gospel proclamation is the biggest priviledge in the world.

Jim Elliot is a hero of mine. His life and especially his death looks foolish to the world. Bright man, young family, all of his life ahead of him, limitless potential...flies to a remote part of Ecuador to tell the Aucas about Jesus...and is speared to death days later. That is foolish if the gospel is not true. But missionaries like Jim are (i presume) driven by an all encompassing belief that the Gospel is true, and constrained by the joys of Heaven and the horrors of Hell. Ands thats why his life, and certainly his death wasn't wasted.

This week i came across the story of William Borden, which you can read in detail here. He didn't even reach his field before he died. Although he was a millionaire, Bill seemed to realize always that he must be about his Father's business, and not wasting time in the pursuit of amusement. Here was a man who knew the price Jesus had paid for His inheritance, knew the cost of following Him, and went anyway. Here is a man who would be in the 21st century Hebrews 11.

I love stories like this, that fill my heart with respect for men and belief in God, and make me realise that Christ is our all surpassing gain. These are stories that must be told.

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