Friday, March 09, 2012

Deep and living faith

One of the challenges of being a missionary is living what we are  preaching. We can proclaim to the people how to live by faith but if we  ourselves are not living by faith, then our teaching become questionable at least and false at most. It means our life will show what it mean to live by faith. It is believing God in every aspect of his life including trust in God's provision. It means following God whatever it cost. As I have observed, many Christian workers have left their ministries fearing that they need to work  to meet their financial needs. And we really could not blame them. We have been in the same situation. However, as our needs become bigger, God assures us that his provision is bigger than all we will ever need. As Luzbetak says:
Those engaged in mission must be, above all, individuals of deep, living faith, sincerely believing what they preach, with God as the very heart and center of their lives, the mainspring of their innermost selves. It is a basic theological assumption of the present approach to mission that every Christian, but especially those engaged in a ministry, must strive to be of “the mind f Christ” (1 Cor. 2:16) to such an extent, in fact, that he or she can say with Paul, “for me 'life' means 'Christ' “ (Phil 1:21) and the “life I live now is not my own; Christ is living in me” (Gal. 2:19f). To emphasize such personal theocentric oneness and wholeness is merely to re-echo the words of Jesus to the scribe who inquired about “the first of all Commandments” (Mk 12:28).
To illustrate his point Luzbetak tells a story that clearly tells us what it means to have God as the center of one's life. The story is about the response of the wise guru to the question of a young man who approached him.
“Master,” the young man asked, “when can I say that I truly love God?” Instead of giving direct answer, the guru signaled to two of his disciples, saying, “Give him the answer I gave ou when you asked me that very question. Yes, when can we say that we truly love God the way we should?” Compeletely bewildered, the inquirer allowed himself to be led by the two disciples to a nearby stream, where he was at once submerged and held under water for a very uncomfortable length of time. When finally released, the inquirer, coughing and sputtering, and wondering what all this meant, was brought back to the guru. “Now,” the guru solemnly said, “now you are ready for an answer to your question. tell me, my son, exactly what where were you thinking when you were held under water?” Still coughing and gasping for air, the young man half-smiling replied, “What could I have been thinking about, but about air, air, and more air?” The wise guru looked sympathetically at the young man and said, “Now you have answer your own question; you love God truly, the way you should love him, as soon as you seek God, and only God, the way you sought air and only air.”
This is what oneness with Christ through the Holy Spirit and completeness in the Father means. This is also what Paul meant when he said that life and Christ were synonymous. This is what it mean to love God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And although this can only be achieved when we die, this must be the goal of every true follower of Christ, especially those who want to succeed in the ministry. Without this God-centeredness even the best programs, methods and movements applied to the ministry are nothing but an exercise in futility, a gimmick, and a sham.

The Church and Cultures: New Perspective in Missiological Anthropology by Louis J. Luzbetak, pp. 3-4

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