(Matthew 16:24-28 WEB) 24Then said Jesus to his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25For whoever will save his life, shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake, shall find it. 26For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? 27For the Son of man will come in the glory of his Father, with his angels; and then he will reward every man according to his works. 28Verily I say to you, There are some standing here, who shall not taste death, till they shall see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.
There’s nothing complicated about Matthew 16:28. We are in His Kingdom on earth until He returns. He promised us His Comforter, God and Jesus with us (John 16:13-15). If the Holy Spirit is recognized in the church, then we are a part of His Kingdom. And the disciples lived to see this at Pentecost. God is intending us “to act” and not wait for the return of Jesus while neglecting to do His work in the here and now.
Take Up Our Cross
(Matthew 16:24-28 WEB) 24Then said Jesus to his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. 25For whoever will save his life, shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake, shall find it.
I knew a preacher who had a daughter and son-in-law plus their children who served as missionaries near Mosul in Iraq. They were ten miles from Mosul which was controlled by ISIS at the time.
I’ve seen the movie and have the book “Point of the Spear” about five missionaries and their families who sought to minister to Indians in Ecuador.
Nate and four American friends first made contact with the widely-feared Auca people deep in the Ecuadorian rainforest in 1955. Lowering down gifts every week for 13 weeks in a bucket from the plane, the missionaries hoped to show love and peace to a tribe renowned for violence.
These people had never been contacted by the outside world. It was an exciting opportunity for the Gospel. The Aucas – now called Waodani – not only received their gifts but gradually became more and more accustomed to the arrival of the plane.
By the 6th week, tribesmen even attached a beautifully feathered crown as a return gesture. From then on, gifts were exchanged back and forth until Nate made plans to land.
Two days later, Nate’s final call to his wife Marjorie said, ‘Pray for us. This is the day!’ At 12 minutes past 3 on Sunday 8 January 1956, Nate’s wristwatch was suddenly smashed against a stone. The hands stopped moving.
This is believed to be the moment he and his dear friends lost their lives to Waodani spears. The missionaries’ tragic martyrdom was only the beginning of a powerful message of salvation that has spread from Ecuador’s remote Waodani community across the world.
Their sudden deaths shocked the world. Many MAF supporters still remember hearing the news on the radio. Knowing God had a plan for them, Jim’s wife Elisabeth and their 10-month-old daughter Valerie, decided to stay in Ecuador and continue the work Jim had left behind.
A turning point came when two women left the tribe to meet with Elisabeth, thereby opening the door for both her and Nate’s sister Rachel to make contact with the Waodani. They lived with the tribe for two years, bringing them God’s Word, teaching them to forgive fearlessly and love tremendously – transforming their way of life forever.
Nate’s children were also invited into the tribe, where his son Steve committed his life to them. He was baptised by Mincaye – the very man who killed his father.
The tribe renamed itself ‘Waorani’, turning from their ‘Auca’ roots – which meant ‘savage’ – to display a powerful message of transformation.
Information about Waodani mission comes from the following link.
Their Story, Our Story
This is an extreme story about sacrifice and commitment to the great commission in Matthew 28:18-20. These kinds of sacrifices were also endured during the Roman persecutions in Biblical times. And these stories have been occurring every century since then. They are indeed commendable.
So what is our story? Many of us would have to admit fun, entertaining, self-satisfaction; and all with a minimum of sacrifice. Isn’t this largely the legacy of many churches?
While I’ve been on three short-term mission trips, they’ve not been anything like with the Waodani community. But there were some challenges. I had to raise the money through donations (adding some funds of my own for church members that couldn’t raise funds). The first time I went we were in a 5 acre walled compound (with an armed guard) that we shared with 3 horses and 7 goats. We slept in a shelter with chicken wire for walls and netting for mosquitos (we had our malaria shots before we left). I did this twice. I also went to the Philippines in another compound with two armed guards. It was a much easier trip except for the two 36 hour 3 layover) flights there and back.
But all of this was nothing like my son’s trips to Haiti.
There are many ways to serve in our country also. But I find many church members are skeptical of their own worth or the worth of people they would serve.
Pray for a Better Year
I pray for all of us that 2021 becomes a year where our country, our church, and ourselves turn around and serve God at His pleasure!
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