27 March 2011

Radical, Part 1

I just finished a book called Radical, which some of you have probably read...and if you haven't, you'll get to read at least part of it. (Bwa-ha-ha.) This excerpt has been burning in my mind since I read it:

[The author, David Platt] got up to preach on going to all nations with the gospel. When I finished, I walked down to the front while the pastor got up to close the service. These were his words: "Brother David, we are so excited about all that God is doing in New Orleans and in all nations, and we are excited that you are serving there." He continued, "And, brother, we promise that we will continue to send you a check so that we don't have to go there ourselves."

He wasn't finished.

"I remember a time at my last congregation when a missionary from Japan came to speak," he said. "I told that church that if they didn't give financial support to this missionary, I was going to pray that God would send their kids to Japan to serve with that missionary."


Did the pastor just threaten his congregation with the punishment of going to the world? 

He continued, "And my church gave that man a laptop and a whole lot of money."

Apparently the threat worked...Could it be that this deacon and this pastor expressed what most professing Christians in America today believe but are not bold enough to say? (Platt, 63). 

And at this point, I feel I must be perfectly clear.

I do not feel punished.

Yes, crazy though it may seem, I actually believe that God's will for my life is the best possible scenario for me in every respect. Living in Haiti is a blessing--to me. Our life here is the product of prayer--yours and others--for the nation of Haiti, that her people might become God's people. While we raised our support, I met people who had been praying for Haiti for years, and they expressed to us their joy at seeing us sent here.

[Christine steps up onto her soap box and clears her throat.]

Making disciples, followers of Jesus Christ, in Haiti is the greatest adventure of my life--not because I'm in Haiti, but because it is a page in the redemptive history that God is writing. My page happens to take place in Haiti, but my calling is the same as yours. "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God."

We beg you to sign the peace treaty God offers in Christ. We beg you to lay down your arms and join an unseen kingdom of orphans now adopted, of prisoners now free, of the strong now weak, of the wise now foolish.

Again, I feel I must be perfectly clear--I understand that I look foolish. Someone asked me once if there's much money in what we do...I said no, not really. Someone asked me once if I wasn't afraid to live in an unstable country...I said, sure, who wouldn't be? Someone asked me once how I could squander my college education on staying home, taking care of my husband and [future] children...I said I didn't think it would be wasted.

I get that people will look at us and see altruism--a selfless [if not misguided] concern for the welfare of others. If only they knew how selfish we truly are and how much God's grace has changed us. If only they knew that I wouldn't be here if I just thought I was putting food into hungry mouths and medicine into sick bodies and English into Haitian minds. If I thought that was it, I'd be gone.

Praise God for His work in us. Praise God that He is sending out ambassadors, not because they're all that great or selfless, but because His love compels them.

If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.

[Christine steps off soap box.]

Thank you for your indulgence.

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