Out of town this past Sunday, Judy and I attended Auke Bay Bible Church for worship.
First, the service revolved around a missionary couple who had just returned from serving in Venezuela for the past 20 years. In their mid 40’s the husband felt called by God to retire early from a promising career. They went to a very remote village to support a couple who were spending their lives translating the Bible into the local dialect. Their two kids, in middle school, were put in a boarding school, a 3.5hr flight away. We can second guess their priorities (family vs. foreign missions) but not their commitment to Christian service. Story after story of hardships, dangers and the confirmation of God’s grace, they were a testimony of one couple’s lives devoted to the Lord. Now deep into their 60’s and in poor health, returning “home” with humble spirits and, I suspect, though never said, little in the way of financial reserves. It reminds me, with some trepidation, of the verses in Matthew 6 and Philippians 3 that our treasures and our citizenship are not of this earth, but reside eternally in Heaven.
Second, the worship leader asked for prayer for his step-sister who does not have a personal relationship with Christ. Standing two seats down from me was a guest who I know believes good deeds are the ticket to heaven. Ignoring the Bible, it would seem so logical that if heaven exists, good folks would be the ones going. But His ways are above our ways (Isaiah 55) and we are ALL sinners and fall short of Heaven (Romans 3:23), regardless of how good we may appear. It also reminded me that week after next I will be spending a couple of days alone with a confessed atheist, working on a project. He is such a nice, kind-hearted guy but, in God’s infinite wisdom, currently destined for an eternity in Hell. My prayer is to have an opportunity to share the Three Circles (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ynABoGMoxgc) with him.
Some food for thought.