Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Chapter 3: The Work We Have, Can, and Should Do
I have been saying that I was going to write this for some time now so here we go. In the first chapter I talked about the things we have done that has made God look bad. I now want to go on to the works that some people have done to make God look good. Now, I know there are many people that have done great things in the name of God but I just want to focus on four people. I am going to talk about two that are no longer with us and two that are in our time now doing great things.
First, I want to talk about William Tyndale again. I have touched on some of the things he has done but want I want to go into further detail. William Tyndale was the one of the captains of the army of reformers, and was one of their spiritual leaders. Tyndale holds the distinction of being the first man to ever print the New Testament in the English language. Tyndale was a true scholar and a genius. He was so fluent in eight languages that one would think that any one of them was his native tongue. He is frequently referred to as the “Architect of the English Language”, (even more so than William Shakespeare) as so many of the phrases Tyndale coined are still in our language today. He was a single minded man, in a good way, especially when it came to translating the Bible into English and getting the Bible into the hands of every man. He wanted them to have and understand the Bible so much so that he was willing to die for this. He also held to the ideas of men like Martin Luther, that the church was holding people back from knowing God wholly. He was determined to make sure that people knew that salvation only came by grace through faith and no other way. One of his greatest quotes is “I defy the Pope and all his laws. If God spare my life ere many years, I will cause the boy that drives the plow to know more of the scriptures than you!” This was a reply to a man telling him that it is better to have the laws of the pope instead of the law of God. This man was focused on spreading the gospel to everyone no matter what. He was so driven that while he was being killed he said, "Lord, open the king of England's eyes." Many believe that this statement was about allowing the Bible to be translated into English and this finally came to pass three years after Tyndale's death. This man is a shining example of what it means to fight for what is right even in the face of everyone who says it is wrong. He was a respectful man but he had his convictions on what it meant to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. He did everything with integrity and is a great example of someone who makes God look good.
The next person is someone most of us know about, Mother Teresa. Now, I know that many people know that she gave her life to helping the poor and needy but how much do we really know? Her real name was Gonxha Agnes and she was baptized at the age of five and a half. At the age of eighteen she joined The Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary, known as the Sisters of Loreto, in Ireland. That is when she received the name most people know, Sister Mary Teresa. A couple of things that is not as well known as her help with the poor is that she was also a teacher and ultimately became a principal of St. Mary's School for girls in Calcutta. During her time as a teacher there she made her Final Profession of Vows and shortly after got the name that we all knew her as, Mother Teresa. She gave her life to helping the poorest of the poor and helped develop many ministries world wide doing the same. Even in her last days she spent her time helping people and leading the ministries that God had put her over. She is another great example of what it looks like to give ones life away for the calling of Christ. Making God look good does not always mean being killed, most of the time it is living a life completely surrendered over to his will all the way until the end.
Okay now lets look at some people still with us that are making God look good. These men are Bill Wilson and Matthew Barnett. The great thing about these guys is that they are on two different sides of the USA and yet doing basically the same thing. Bill Wilson lives in New York, New York and does intercity ministry. He goes out into the toughest parts of NY and brings people the gospel. He buses kids in every week to be taught the word of God but not only that he also takes box trucks, that have been remade into fold out stages, to many local neighborhoods so that they can also hear the word of God. Metro World Child, the ministry started by Bill Wilson, does many events throughout the year to help the lost in NY. He is driven to see the next generation rise up and become followers of Christ no matter what their environment is and has extended his ministry world wide. Now, Matthew Barnett has an outreach ministry called The Dream Center. Like Bill Wilson, Matthew Barnett goes out to the intercity; but in L.A. He also buses kids in to hear the word and has the box trucks too. The Dream Center is more than just that, it is an old hospital that has been made into a place for people to go to get help. The Dream Center helps all kinds of people form pastors who have messed up, to helping girls out of the sex slave industry, to helping former inmates, and the list goes on. I am not comparing these two ministries, or men, but rather showing you what a life dedicated to Christ can do. I have great respect for both of these men and encourage you to look them up. These are two men doing there best to make God look good.
So what can we do? Look at what has been done and think about what needs are around you. I have heard it said "the need is the call". God has put you in place that you can help people and can guide them to Christ, for if it is not about him then you are just doing nice things. We need to take up the baton that all of our forefathers have left us and go back to making God look good. We need to be people that represent his name well and that do things that show our love for God and people. I know we can do this and that it is time for us to stop being people who just watch others people do these good things. We are called to be the body of Christ and to take our roles seriously. I am not saying that all are meant to do outreach but I am saying that we are all meant to do something. Whatever it is that we are meant to do let us do it with a passion for Christ and His work. We must be driven people again and stop being lazy about doing the will of our Father.
Finally let me say that this is not meant to make you feel bad or belittle anyone but instead to spring you into action. I wanted to share these stories to show you that ordinary people, who follow the will of God, can do extraordinary things. Let me end with one more story. This story is about a high school girl, when asked one day why she was so happy she answered, "because I have a personal relationship with God through Christ". That is all she said but those words caused the person who asked her to start searching through the Bible. After about six months of going through the gospels this young man came to have a personal relationship with Christ. That young man is now Dr. William Lane Craig. If you do not know who he is that is okay let me tell you. Dr. Craig is one of the top apologetic in the world, he contends for the faith against other religions and atheist. He has written or edited over twenty-three books and has a website to help people in their faith called Reasonablefaith.org.
That story is not about young Dr. Craig but instead about a young girl who was bold enough to share her faith. We never really know the kind of impact we can have when we are simply making God look good. Let me challenge you again by asking, are you making God look good? Are we bold enough to share our faith at any time? What are we doing everyday to grow the body of Christ? What is God asking you to do?