In the past two months I have read 9 books; 8 of which have been books on missions:
- Lords of the Earth
- Peace Child
- Eternity In their Hearts
- Bruchko: The Astonishing True Story Of A Nineteen-Year-Old’s…
- Mountains Beyond Mountains
- Through Gates of Splendor
- End of the Spear
- Let the Nations Be Glad
I have been amazed at the dedication and willingness of the men and women discussed in these books to put their own comfort aside and subjugate their bodies into the harsh realities of Stone-Age tribal living, willingly and selflessly for the love of people they have never met, people that don’t understand that love and sacrifice, people who often only know hatred and fear and killing, people that in many cases kill those brining the gospel of the good news.
Add to that the lack of want for revenge of deaths, how the families just get up and carry on, once again trying to reach the stone age tribes that have tried to kill them, or have successfully killed spouses or children – it’s humbling and convicting. They truly understand Matt 10:39:
“If you don’t go all the way with me, through thick and thin, you don’t deserve me. If your first concern is to look after yourself, you’ll never find yourself. But if you forget about yourself and look to me, you’ll find both yourself and me.”
But tonight, while talking with a friend, I realized there was even more to it that I found so enthralling. I thought I would share some of my thoughts that I shared with him during our discussion on why missions work is so enthralling to me…
“I watched the EE TAOW video you referenced [on youtube]; it was pretty amazing. Growing up in a Christian family (and in some ways, I’m sure not complaining), however, I missed out on the amazing experience of reading the gospel story as an unfolding book from start to finish. As an adult, I have read many, many life-changing books, and I can appreciate the thrill of turning the next page to find out what happens next – but the bible is truly the most amazing story ever told.
In my early life, and in so many children and teen lives, I see that they are or have been underwhelmed with the story due to the over-indulgence of the terse repetition in a mundane and monotonous way. When the story is not a living and breathing story, but a bedtime story used to frighten people into moral submission.
It sadly seems that in a luke-warm “Christian based” society (Of course being most familiar with western Culture, I would say especially in the western culture), there is a lot of inoculation of the gospel that occurs in young lives by the way media, technology and advancements make passé the bible stories and take awe out of the unimaginable – that story that shows how the Creator would empty himself and take on our just penalty due to us in our own bodies for our own transgressions.
I think that is one thing that inspires me deeply when reading these books of missionaries reaching tribes that have never been exposed to the gospel – these people haven’t had their “Christian vaccination” yet.
I think the other thing is seeing people actually put their lives and actions in line with their convictions (something I think we all continue to try and struggle to do).”
Because of my experience with my “Christian vaccination” while growing up, where I turned the bible from the living and breathing word of God into a bunch of stories used to tell us the parameters of our moral imperatives.. I have always been afraid that I would inoculate my children against the Word as I was inoculated (innocently but detrimentally). I found that I was not really in love with the stories of the bible, but only respecting them for the knowledge that can be found within.
In the past I’ve read the bible to be smarter, but not to live better, I’ve read the bible so that I could teach others but I did not let it’s awe and wonder sink into my own flesh and bones, but I can feel that slowly changing…
In reading these stories of the missionaries that have died for Christ, but harder still, who also lived Christ – and hearing and seeing the joy and amazement being brought to the minds and hearts of people throughout the world by the revelation made known through the Word, I’ve realized, that within the right framework of a relationship with God, instead of a series of rules that must be followed – that through reading this book myself and to my children just the opposite is what will happen.
If this book is so precious it’s worth dying over; how much more so is it worth living over!