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Turmoil, Finale

March 11, 2011

And beyond prayer, what is our role, as the Western Church at the end of the age? My role specifically will be a part of that, so what’s the big picture, first?

Brother Yun started a ministry, that he describes at the end of The Heavenly Man, called Back to Jerusalem. He believes that Jesus will come back when every people group has had an opportunity to respond to the gospel. He believes Jesus will come back when Jerusalem invites Him. The goal of the ministry is not to evangelize Jerusalem, but the people between China and Jerusalem. The center of our faith has been moving west, around the world, for 2000 years, and the Church of China has answered the call to carry it the rest of the way.

Why? Someone has to. They love God and they love people. More than that, he explained his belief that while China – and their neighbors – owe a huge debt to the Western missionaries who labored to bring them the gospel, the Church in the Far East are the only ones who can carry the gospel through the Middle East. He has all respect, reverence and love for missionaries from all over the world, but he knows that Chinese believers have the endurance to withstand the persecution that anyone would face bringing the gospel of Jesus Christ through the Middle East.

He commented that they are better equipped to do this work because the violent persecution that the Middle East is known for is nothing they haven’t already encountered. “They cannot do to us anything that our own government has not already done.” It’s their calling. The baton is in their hands, and they’re running.

Of course there are missionaries from all over the world who will, and are, giving their lives to bring the gospel to the Middle East, but in general …

What is our role? Brother Yun is training scores of Chinese missionaries to run with handcuffs on, to jump out of second-story windows without breaking their legs, to endure days without food or water, and to memorize a chapter of scripture every day. They know their role, and they’re serious about it.

What is ours? Everyone has a unique calling and ministry, obviously, but in general – the Western Church of the Last Days – what is the one thing that we have in our hands? That God seems to be equipping us to do?

Money.

I think it’s money. And there are all kinds of reasons that our economy is in a downward spiral right now – scandals and greed and lies and corruption and poor choices and bailouts – but behind part, if not all, of it, I think, is the principalities and powers that know our role is about money. We do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places, and I think their plan for the American Church is two-fold:

  1. Let our freedom weaken our witness at home
  2. Let our greed weaken our witness overseas

And then all that’s left of us is a bride who cares more about her dress than her Husband.

Money is always a touchy issue, and it’s even more so now. I know that people are struggling, Husband and I are not exempt – I pray over our checkbook twice a month when I balance it and pay bills.

But none of us would be able to look Brother Yun in the face and tell him about our financial woes.

I know that people need jobs and health insurance. I know how it feels to be let go and given three days of income to find another job. I know how it feels to go to immediate care without health insurance.

But I know I could not stand before a Voice of the Martyrs partner in Burma and explain that our three part-time jobs aren’t enough to pay for our corner lot, heating, clean water from the city, and two cars. And I don’t want to have a Schindler’s List moment someday where I realize how many more could have been saved if I hadn’t been so concerned about maintaining my lifestyle.

Despite recent hardships, we are still some of the wealthiest people on the planet. Is this our gift? Is this our calling, as a body? Is this the tool God has put in our hand, the “talent” that the Master has entrusted to His servant in His absence? If so, are we giving of ourselves like Brother Yun and his partners? Are we fulfilling our calling with the same passion and long-suffering and sacrifice as the Church in Iran is fulfilling theirs?

We will not be judged someday for not being beaten and imprisoned for our faith, if the opportunity never comes along. Looking for persecution for persecution’s sake is not the same thing. But we will be judged according what we were given, and we will be rewarded according to how we gave.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 12, 2011 8:31 am

    It’s funny you end this series with this topic. My husband and I recently have had many discussions about this very topic. I feel we should be giving more, and he feels we give enough.

    We are so blessed in this country from a financial perspective, and yet we as Christians don’t feel called to share. I get not being persecuted, but we don’t even give.

  2. March 15, 2011 12:14 pm

    I have thoroughly enjoyed these 3 posts, Lex! So. Very. Good.

    • Lex permalink
      March 16, 2011 12:05 pm

      Elisabeth – I think it’s probably hard to constantly maintain that balance between providing for your family and giving selflessly. I imagine husbands sometimes feel the former stronger than their wives do, so much of our culture still makes it ultimately their responsibility to be the Provider. Holy Spirit will keep challenging him as necessary. :)

      Justin – Thanks. Here’s praying they’re more than just blog posts, for me at least.

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