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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

A Worthwhile Life

"One of the most well-known martyrdoms in the history of Christianity in China occurred in December 1934, when a young American missionary couple, John and Betty Stam, were beheaded in Anhui Province along with a Chinese Christian named Zhang Shuisheng, who had pleaded for the Stams’ release.

Before she was appointed for service, Betty wrote:I want something really worthwhile to live for. Like most young people, I want to invest this one life of mine as wisely as possible, in the place that yields richest profits to the world and to me…. I want it to be God’s choice for me and not my own. There must be no self-interest at all, or I do not believe God can reveal His will clearly. … I know very well that I can never realize the richest, most satisfying life Christ meant for me, if I am not giving my own life unselfishly for others. Christ said: “He that would find his life shall lose it,” and proved the truth of this divine paradox at Calvary. I want Him to lead, and His Spirit to fill me. And then, only then, will I feel that my life is justifying its existence and realizing the maturity in Him that Christ meant for all men, in all parts of the world."

We can all only admire a heart that devoted to Christ. Knowing the heathen-like hearts of people who have never heard the Gospel, we would perhaps even say, "If the Lord called me to the mission field to minister to people such as those that John and Betty had a burden for, I would go." It would not matter to us that the people to whom we were called were dirty, or different or diseased - we would go to share the Good news.

At a recent service at our church, we had a young woman enter the building after the service had begun, her two children and one of their friends following behind her. After the service ended she asked to speak to the pastor about a need she had. I had the privilege of getting to talk privately with her while our youth pastor took the teenagers with him. I learned that this dear girl is very sick. She has had a very difficult life, seeing things that no human being should ever have to witness. My heart ached for her. There was a sparkle in her eyes, however, when she told me about trusting Christ as her Savior when she was a little girl.

As I sat and talked with her I had an argument with myself. "Should I give her my cell phone number so she can call me if she has a need? Will she call too often? What would others do?" Then, "No. What would Jesus do?" A song I had recently learned came to my mind, "Love as I loved. Give as I gave. These are the people that I came to save." I gave her my phone number and embraced her before she left. I went home blessed with the opportunity to call her my sister and help bear her burden. She went home with two children and their friend that had become children of God after they heard the Gospel!

As I've thought on that incident, I've thought about how we hold at arm's length those that are different from us. If they don't dress like we dress, smell like we smell, and have "decent" financial means we often look down on them. We shake our heads that they're dependent on the state for their livelihood. But if those same people were in another country and we went to minister as missionaries, we'd think nothing of it! Yet, here there are, walking into our churches, or shopping at our Walmart, wondering if there is anyone that will love them and help them. Jesus would have. He fed the multitudes. Whenever He looked up He was looking at the people. What people has He put around you who are wondering if you care? A neighbor? Someone in line behind you at the grocery store? A visitor at church? Love them the same way you were loved and give your life for "something worthwhile to live for."

Love As I Loved
Ron Hamilton
When our Lord was speaking to the crowd, a beggar came
Who fell down before Christ and called out His name.
The disciples quickly came,
And they turned the man away,
Till they saw the Lord's compassion
And they heard the Savior say:
Love as I loved,
Give as I gave;
These are the people
that I came to save.
Love as I loved,
and I will shine through.
Let others see My love in you.
Yesterday my time was filled with vain and empty things,
And I was so busy with all that life brings.
People crowded in my way,
But I pushed them all away
they were just a senseless bother
Till I heard the Savior say:
Love as I loved,
Give as I gave;
These are the people
that I came to save.
Love as I loved,
and I will shine through.
Let others see My love in you.
With love,

4 comments:

Vicki W. said...

How timely. The Lord has been dealing with my heart about being ever watchful of those around me, looking for opportunities to share the love of Christ. He has reminded me of several instances. One was an early morning plane ride with a flight attendant asking to look out my window at a beautiful sunrise. Did I take the opportunity to share the Creator with her? A young woman asked me to lunch and begins to discuss concerns and burdens on her heart. Do I share the truth of God's word or tell her what she wants to hear? Sitting in a crowded food court in an airport and see an elderly lady looking for a place to sit, looking troubled. Do I invite her to sit with me and share Christ with her? This is just a sample of the opportunities I've had lately. Did I always do the right thing? Sometimes yes, but sadly, sometimes I let the pressures of the day distract me.
O that I would be ever mindful of my true mission in life.

Denise said...

Thanks for your honesty, Vicki. I could share similar stories. I'll be praying with you about those oppportunities, and that the Lord will help us both to have a greater heart for the things that count for eternity.

Anonymous said...

I believe unsaved people watch Christians and their reacitons to situations. No wonder these people do not want to go to Church when they see so called Christians acting like they do......judging them on how they look and what they do not have. I hate to say this, but BCBC has some of these so called Christians.

Denise said...

I'm afraid every church does because it's filled with sinners that are saved by God's grace. Thank the Lord for the conviction of the Holy Spirit.