I love Wednesday nights at church. It seems that almost every week when the time rolls around, I feel too tired to go – but I go anyway. And every week I leave with more energy than when I came.
Last night was no different.
We had several missionaries present, and they really inspired me. One of the speakers was a young man who has been called to evangelize Spain. It would be easy to pooh-pooh such an assignment, since such western nations are tons of fun to visit. Yet visiting the nation and evangelizing the nation are two different things, and the latter is hard!
Across Spain, there are many who know abut Jesus, but relatively few who truly know Him as their Savior. They are often religious, but seldom born again – and that makes it harder then usual to reveal the truth of the Gospel. Yet, through the leading of the Holy Spirit, this young man and his family are impacting the entire nation for Jesus – especially among the youth.
Then we had two interesting couples who were called to the United States from Fiji and Ethiopia. They have started a church together in a section of Atlanta where many refugees have been relocated.
Clarkston, a suburb of Atlanta, has a collection of apartments which are owned by the government for a special use. When people are approved by the United Nations for political refugee status they are sent to designated places in several different countries. Clarkston is one of the places approved by our government for the location of these people, and it is quite an amazing experience to witness this gathering.
People from all over Africa, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, and many other countries are brought to that location and given assistance for a short period of time. They are required to get a job within 90 days and start paying their own expenses.
One of the major obstacles for them is that they usually don’t speak English, and many of them speak only an obscure dialect which makes it hard for them to communicate with local residents and employers.
Yet these brave missionaries from Fiji and Ethiopia have undertaken the important task of not only teaching these people about Jesus, but also teaching them English and helping them find employment. (Sometimes even training them for employment). People from all cultures and all traditions are welcomed and ministered to by these heroic couples.
Quite an undertaking.
What comes to mind is Jesus’ charge about the eye of the needle. Mark 10:25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
There are several ideas about the meaning of this, but there is one I especially like, so I’m sticking to it. There is a tradition which holds that the “eye of the needle” represented the needle-shaped holes in the walls of Jerusalem during its early days. At night time, if traders came to the city with wares on the backs of their camels, the animals would be required to have all items removed before entering these narrow vents. In the stripped down state, they would be slid through the holes on their knees.
In the same way, the only way we can enter into God’s kingdom is to be stripped of our wares and come to Him just as we are as humans. We don’t bring our money – or our education – or our status in society. We come with humility and the recognition that we have nothing to offer Him but ourselves.
We come just as we are with no embellishments.
When I think about the courageous missionaries – who are willing to leave the comfort and convenience of their own homes in order to serve others, I am truly inspired. They have had to remove their embellishments in order to fulfill their call.
Our western cultures have so many wares upon our backs. Our status, our education, our money and even our looks tend to pile up and cloud the reality of who we really are.
As important as we may look to ourselves, God’s view is different. He sees us as important to Him as humans. But no more nor less than the least sophisticated human on the planet. His love abounds toward all of us, and His desire for fellowship is equal to all.
So one more time, I left the Wednesday night service informed and challenged. Informed about the mighty revivals already in progress and challenged to be all in for God. Whatever He wants of me is what I want to do. Whatever He has for me is what I want to have.
I know that obedience is the key.
Hear Him, and take the next step. That’s what I want to do.