Learning from John

Truth and Love

A big movement has arisen that declares that we can walk in love and grace, but ignore truth. The “hyper-grace movement”, as it has been termed. Yes, we must walk in love and grace towards one another, but part of love is holding one another to the truth.

Enter John. John ended his life known as “the Apostle of Love“. It is a name that, today, might bring forth images of dope-smoking hippies, but such an image couldn’t be further from the truth. Jesus originally gave John, with his brother James, the name: “sons of thunder”. John was an emotive character and this didn’t simmer down as he aged. There is a tale of him jumping out of a public bath (streaking) when a known heretic entered it, because he would not share bath water with a false teacher. He remained passionate, but his passion became founded on the love of God.

John challenges me because he never compromised the truth to remain popular. He was known as the Apostle of Love by the body of Christ, but I wouldn’t have wanted to be caught in sin by him.  One only needs to read through 1 John to hear his fierce love for God’s people, and yet equal fire for the truth to remain unsoiled. I want to cut and paste the entire first epistle of John here, but I’ll content myself with a small passage with the hope that you will read through it yourself today (it’s only 5 chapters).

See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are. The reason why the world does not know us is that it did not know him.Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is.And everyone who thus hopes in him purifies himself as he is pure. (1 John 3:1-3)

Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.You know that he appeared in order to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him. (1 John 3:4-6)

Little children, let no one deceive you. Whoever practices righteousness is righteous, as he is righteous. Whoever makes a practice of sinning is of the devil, for the devil has been sinning from the beginning. The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:7-10)

Pursing His truth and love

The prayer on my heart these past few months is that I would be known for love. Yet I know that this will only come to pass if I am also known for standing on the truth. God’s love and truth go together. The love of God is not a soft, wishy-washy love. God’s love is a fierce, jealous, consuming fire. God cannot abide sin, and those in Him will also be unable to continue in wilful sin (we all sin, but those in Christ should not make a knowing habit of any sin).

Our love for one another must also be fierce and protective. If we love one another, we will help keep one another from stumbling. When we read the epistles of Scripture they are commanding and corrective. The apostles guarded their flocks with a fierce love that called believers constantly back to the truth that they learnt in Christ.

Today we see a hyper-grace movement taking over the church. It falls under the same title as the gnostics of Apostle John’s ministry – libertarianism (from the gnostic belief that the body was evil and the soul good, so what one did with the body didn’t matter). Many churches today says that grace covers a multitude of sin and we must just “love one another”, but they ignore the fact that those who are in Christ have been made dead to sin! The love that is of God abhors sin. Those in Christ cannot keep making a habit of sin.

I feel like Paul’s argument in Romans makes it one hundred percent clear how we are to live (read Romans, or at least Romans 6-8!):

What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? (Romans 6:1-3)

So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. (Romans 6:11-13)

Grace is not an excuse to sin and those who preach such are not standing on the truth of the Gospel! The good news is that we have been set free! We are no longer compelled by our sinful flesh!

Are you dead or alive?

Christ was humble and meek, yet He intentionally took the time to sit and weave a whip of cords and then go clear the temple out of those who had turned the court of Gentiles (where the Gentiles who loved God were meant to be allowed to worship) into a place of trade.

And making a whip of cords, he drove them all out of the temple, with the sheep and oxen. And he poured out the coins of the money-changers and overturned their tables. (John 2:15)

Jesus never condoned sin in all His ministry. He loved those in sin, offered them healing and forgiveness, and then called them to leave their lives of sin.

Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:10-12)

Those who are in Christ must turn away from the darkness and walk in the light – and who is the light? Jesus! He is the way, the truth and the life. Recently I was heard someone share that they were once told: “Stop being nicer than Jesus”. How appropriate. Jesus is love. Yet Jesus was direct and corrective. Remember His words to Peter?

From that time Jesus began to show his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him, saying, “Far be it from you, Lord! This shall never happen to you.” But he turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me. For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.” (Matthew 16:21-23)

Walk in His light

The New Testament is full of passages that push us towards living out the truth in love and I’ll list just a few at the end of this post. Not one of these passages, however, allow us to compromise the way of God for the ways of the world! Yet the church has washed out the truth to make way for the world’s understanding of love.

God loves all people, but few of them are His. Those who are saved are those who accept Christ Jesus as Lord. Full stop. God will not save everyone, but only those who believe on Christ’s name. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God; all need God’s salvation. When did the church stop preaching this foundational message? We are all sinners in need of God’s love, grace, mercy and forgiveness.If we tell people that they are “good people” and “God loves them”, but do not tell them of their desperate need for God’s healing mercy and forgiveness then we have failed in our God-given commission. Accepting Christ means dying to our old self that was enslaved to sin and being set free to live righteously! 

The Gospel message is offensive to the world. We are not meant to be loved by the world. The New Testament is overflowing with the promise of persecution; Jesus Himself promised it (John 15:20, John 16:33)! If you are a Christian offended by this post then I challenge you to open the New Testament and read it from start to finish. What do you see of Christ? Who is He? What is His attitude to sin and compromise? And if this doesn’t convince you, go and reread Revelation and soak in the two camps – we are either in God’s camp, or we are in the world’s camp. There is no middle ground. And Christ’s camp is righteousness. 

So let us challenge ourselves to walk in truth with love. Let us challenge ourselves and our faith communities to walk in step with the teachings of the Bible. Let us ask God to reveal the true expression of love to us. Let our hearts be transformed into the image of Christ. Let us love sinners, and disciple believers. Let us no longer be conformed to the image of this world, but be transformed by the Spirit into the glorious likeness of Christ.

Light or dark?

Here are those Scriptures I promised (that are very far from a complete list!):

“No one after lighting a lamp puts it in a cellar or under a basket, but on a stand, so that those who enter may see the light.Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness.Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness. If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.” (Luke 11:33 36).

Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?What accord has Christ with Belial? Or what portion does a believer share with an unbeliever?What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you,and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving. For you may be sure of this, that everyone who is sexually immoral or impure, or who is covetous (that is, an idolater), has no inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (Ephesians 5:1-6)

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 1:5-10)

As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” . . . Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart, since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; (1Pe 1:14 -16, 22-23).

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. . . But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus,to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another. (Ephesians 4:15-17, 20-25)

Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work. So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. (2 Timothy 2:21-22)

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God’s impossible family

Glenn preached on Sunday about God’s impossible family. Impossible is the right word!

We live in a world of hurt. A world of brokenness. A world of hate. Where there are different races in a nation, there is racial division. Pride. Wounds. Hate. Segregation. Where there are different tribes there are histories of genocide. Histories of favouritism. Histories of oppression. Where there is difference – in schools, workplaces,  neighbourhoods – there is bullying, gossip and ostracism.

There is no bridging the divides. Many have tried,  but could not sustain it. Many are trying, but not succeeding. Many will try, but shall fail. No person can successfully bridge such deep divides by their own strength. It’s like a little brick bridge trying to stand before a tidal wave. Or a little wooden one gently being lapped at day after day until it rots and decays away.

No, we can’t bridge the divide. But God can.

First, He bridged the divide that separated man from God because of sin:

But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. (Ephesians 2:13-16)

Then, He bridged the gap between people. By doing so, He has created an improbable people, an impossible family. Not content to only heal us of our sins and brokenness, He binds us together as family, of which He is the first.

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10)

My 2009 SBS_Believers from many nations and backgrounds

For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. (Romans 8:29)

How? How does God build His impossible family that bridges racial, cultural, tribal, and personal differences?

1) Through His love

Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. (Ephesians 5:1-2)

Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. (Colossians 3:11-14)

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. (Romans 12:9-10)

& 2) Through the work of His Spirit

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26)

Are you part of God’s impossible family? Let Him heal your hurt and teach you a love that overcomes offence, hatred, and differences. Be part of His conquering love that crosses raging rivers, bridges gaping ravines and scales mighty walls.

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. (2 Peter 1:3-4)
For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they keep you from being ineffective or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8)

Are you quick to move?

After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here I am.” He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. (Genesis 22:1-3)

Wow! I can’t imagine a harder test than God asking for one’s child, especially after years of barrenness.

Now God abhors child sacrifice, but at this point the Law had not been given. Furthermore, Abraham had come out of idol worship so he did not know this aspect of God’s character. So when God asked for Isaac as a sacrifice, Abraham had no reason to doubt that God would require exactly that – Abraham’s only son on the altar.

Abraham’s response was immediate. Me? I like to dawdle in response to what I deem a hard, or unpleasant, request from God. This passage challenges me in regards to the immediacy of my response.

Sometimes God requires hard things of us, and other times His request appears hard because we simply can’t see how He will provide “the sacrifice” so to speak. This should not slow our steps.

God provided another sacrifice for Abraham to offer in keeping with His character. We can trust in God because we know His character from Scripture and from our ongoing relationship with Him. When you do not understand how God will provide what’s needed for a task, we can still take the first steps in faith. As we act upon His call, He will provide what is needed.

Be quick to walk out what God asks of you, entrusting the details to Him. What is He asking of you that you haven’t taken steps towards? Is it sitting at His feet amidst the busyness of life? Is it starting a fellowship group? Is there a business opportunity He wants you to step into that seems daunting? Has He been challenging you to live generously when you feel poor?

Be quick to respond, leaving the details up to God.

Quick quick quick

The Happiness Myth

“Nothing is worth it if you’re not happy” said a post on Facebook the other day. This seems to be a commonly held view in society, but I beg to disagree. Let the world pursue happiness, Christians have something better – joy. Joy in the Lord is our sustenance. Unlike happiness, joy springs within us independent of circumstances.

Consider what Apostle Paul endured:

but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities, beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger; by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love; by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left; through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. (2 Corinthians 6:4-10).

Are they servants of Christ? I am a better one—I am talking like a madman—with far greater labors, far more imprisonments, with countless beatings, and often near death. Five times I received at the hands of the Jews the forty lashes less one. Three times I was beaten with rods. Once I was stoned. Three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I was adrift at sea; on frequent journeys, in danger from rivers, danger from robbers, danger from my own people, danger from Gentiles, danger in the city, danger in the wilderness, danger at sea, danger from false brothers; in toil and hardship, through many a sleepless night, in hunger and thirst, often without food, in cold and exposure. And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness. (2 Corinthians 11:23-30).

Yet Paul could declare:

. . . In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy. (2 Corinthians 7:4).

James agreed with Paul:

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2-4).

Joy enables us to consider the needs of others, taking the focus off of our own needs:

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints—and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. (2 Corinthians 8:1-5).

We are called to a life of joy in the Spirit, not a life of happiness. I can testify that the season where the most people have commented on seeing my joy was during the season of greatest heartache. They weren’t seeing a feeling that came of circumstance, but an inner condition gifted by the Holy Spirit.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. (Galatians 5:22-23).

Joy may come with costs, but it far surpasses temporal happiness. Seek after intimacy with the Holy Spirit and receive His joy.

You have put more joy in my heart than they have when their grain and wine abound. (Psalm 4:7).

For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. (Romans 14:17)

Are you pursuing joy or happiness?

I AM knows

I was worried about the daunting experience I was about to go through as a first time Mum in the lead up to labour. You have no reference for what you are about to go through. All you know is it’s tough. And painful. Perhaps the worst pain you’ll ever have to endure in life. You also know it can be long. Days long. Yet in my uncertainty, God was there. We serve the great I AM – He was, and is, and always will be. He knows what’s ahead and can bring us comfort. He goes ahead and prepares the way.

Today I want to share two verses that God gave to me from His Word to get me through labour. I hope that this testimony will serve as an encouragement to you that God knows what you are going through, and what you are about to go through. Nothing is a surprise for Him! Whatever your circumstances, let His Word and His Spirit be your comfort, guide and hope.

Look to the dawn

God gives hope for each new day

God first gave me a verse to focus on in the lead up to labour.  It was a reminder that a cost had to be paid, but the reward awaited me:

When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world. (John 16:21).

Jesus couldn’t have chosen a better illustration to give his disciples regarding his coming death and resurrection. The agony of labour was the most intense physical pain I’m likely to experience in my life, yet it is only an intellectual memory now; the pain is forgotten for the joy that came with my baby’s life.

God also gave me another verse to get through labour:

Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning. (Psalm 30:5b)

Joy comes with the morning

Look to the morning

Again, how true this proved. I had to count the cost to receive the reward. I had to go through birthing pains to receive our beautiful boy. I know it isn’t the same for every woman, but, for me, the moment I saw my son appear all the pain was forgotten. I knew I would have gone through ten times as much to see his perfect little self come into the world.

Psalm 30:5b has gotten me through many a tough season. I pray that it will help you to lean on Him, too. Put your trust in Him and look forward to each new morning.

Cost vs Reward

In my last post I wrote about the material cost of following Christ. Since our little boy was born, I’m challenged again to consider costs verse rewards.

It is easy with children to focus on the costs. You hear of them all the time – lack of sleep; loss of “freedom”; giving up careers; money, money and more money to spend . . . The list is endless. I was surprised during my pregnancy how common it was for people to focus on the costs laid up ahead of us. There were plenty of people who seemed to want to daunt and scare us than encourage us regarding the joys of parenthood. (Thank you everyone who was an encouraging voice – you were also not few in number!).

Sure, Glenn and I are still in our early days of parenthood. Sure, I’m functioning on a few hours sleep. Sure, friends and family get to cuddle content baby whilst we soothe him when he’s upset, change the nappies, and deal with poopy laundry. Sure, my nipples and my episiotomy stitches hurt. But I wouldn’t change a thing. Why? Because the reward is worth the cost. 

In a society so often focused on the cost, I want to begin to focus on the rewards. It is through relationship with God and His love working in me that I can achieve this. God enables us to look beyond ourselves, to lay down our selfishness, and give out to others. The Word declares the truth:

Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward. (Psalm 127:3).

We could continue counting costs. We could continue to focus on what baby is taking away. But instead we are focusing on the joy he gives us. He is a blessing from God. He is a reward from our heavenly Father. We are indeed blessed to have him. We are blessed to be up all night; to cry from sheer exhaustion; and to have a little life to lead, guide and train up in the ways of the Lord.

This post is about our experience with a newborn, but there are many things in life where the reward comes at a cost. Where in  life are you focused on the cost to yourself rather than the reward? And remember that rewards can often be delayed, and sometimes they’re not to be seen until the coming Kingdom. Stand firm at such times, looking to the reward.

These all died in faith, not having received the things promised, but having seen them and greeted them from afar, and having acknowledged that they were strangers and exiles on the earth. For people who speak thus make it clear that they are seeking a homeland. If they had been thinking of that land from which they had gone out, they would have had opportunity to return. But as it is, they desire a better country, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared for them a city. (Hebrews 11:13-16)

No fool

Glenn and I have been talking about the cost and sacrifice of following a call into full time ministry. Of course there are positions that contain financial security in “traditional” ministry, just as there are jobs outside of ministry that do not hold security. But, for the majority of missionaries, it remains a giant step of faith – trusting God to provide, trusting God with our children’s health, giving up the “extras”, and “counting the cost”.

It seems like a tough call, right? I’ve been lucky not to have to raise much of my support for my time in missions, having worked before each season in the field. But even now we know we are giving up considerable financial security, despite having investments to sustain us, as we re-enter traditional ministry. We also know that we will be giving up a lot of comforts. For one, we live in a beautiful part of the world, in a rural area,  in a large house, with plenty of peace and quiet. This suits us both. Giving up our home to return to suburbia is not appealing, but this is a small cost compared to what some people give. There are the missionaries who, with multiple children and a paid off house, sell all their possessions to follow God’s call.

Giving up the easy life to follow God's call

Giving up the easy life for God

Why do such a crazy thing? And I have been called crazy many times in my life. I’ve also been told to “get a real job” and asked when I’ll return to the “real world” – by people in the church! Gone are the days when missionaries set sail from home with their coffins packed (literally) because they didn’t expect to come home alive! We have become a church that likes security and comfort.

So I return to the question – why? Why live by faith? Why give up financial security? Why put children at risk by going to third world countries? Why is it worth the cost?

I want to phrase it another way. Rather than looking at the cost . . . why don’t we look at the gain? Why not look at the riches we are storing up?

Let’s consider what Christ said:

“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:19-21)

“Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Luke 12:32-34)

One of my favourite quotes in this season is by Jim Elliot: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.” Jim Elliot gave up his life at the age of twenty eight to go to Ecuador’s Quechua Indians. He knew the cost and the risk, but he also knew the reward. (This quote, whilst in Elliot’s diary, is also attributed to Matthew Henry’s father, Philip: “He is no fool who parts with that which he cannot keep, when he is sure to be recompensed with that which he cannot lose”.)

Count the reward higher than the cost and hit the road again

Count the reward higher than the cost and hit the road again

You see, we have Christ. We have eternal security. We have eternal riches. We also have life now with the Everlasting Father. What matter to lose our lives for eternal gain?

I know this post has mainly focused on traditional missions, but I firmly believe that every Christian has a part in it. We are all called to make Him known and to lay down our lives for Him. Are you counting the cost as too high? Perhaps it is time to start looking at the reward and stop counting the cost.

Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” (Luke 9:20-22).
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:23-26).