Our church has supported workers in Indonesia for years. This morning we heard from a man who is from Indonesia and is active in one of the churches over there. He presented me with lots to think about…
They asked him to talk about what he thought the biggest obstacle, or issue, was in the church at large. (The global church.) He talked about obedience. There are workers and servants, there are leaders, people are using their gifts and abilities, there are resources… but is there obedience? Are we delivering fantastic teaching and then following up in the individual lives of those who received the message to guide them through obedience? It struck me that many of the problems in my life came out of being disobedient. I didn’t consistently follow the teachings of Jesus and the guidance set out in the Bible.
He was also asked about his own country and what were some issues over there that may be specific to them. He told how there is a law carrying a penalty of 5 years in prison if you convince someone to change their faith and follow Christ. There is also an extremist group who will seek out and kill people who are convincing others to follow Christ.
Here in America we toss around concepts of free speech and everyone has this right or that right to think and believe and teach whatever they want. In another part of our plant you can be put in jail for five years, or possibly killed.
When asked how they still found people interested in Christ he talked about seeking out the hungry. Seeking out those who have already had their hearts prepared by God. When someone is hungry they will not turn you in for giving them food.
This all got me thinking again about obedience. I’ve just started thinking about this issue as it relates in my life, but I’ve got admit…I’m concerned. If I struggle to obey now, how would my behavior be effected at the risk of jail time? At the risk of being targeted by extremists? I’m not trying to be dramatic. I do think this is something I need to spend more time actively working on.
It may have been his discussion on the section of scripture referred to as The Great Commission that hit me the hardest. He said that in Jewish teaching the importance of the items built as they were discussed. In other words the first thing is good, the second is more important, etc. In light of that walk through that scripture. (It’s linked above.)
“…go…” – That’s good.
“…make disciples…” – Better. If we’re going to spread the gospel we should be making disciples.
“…baptizing them…” – Ok, even better. Shows commitment by all.
“…teaching them to obey…” – The last instruction is obedience. In the Jewish system of teaching, this is the most important instruction from this lesson.
That’s a lot to think about. In a country and culture of I, me, rights, support groups, therapists, social networks, and free speech… obedience my be the missing link to a lot of my…our…issues. Obedience.
How do you feel about obedience as it relates to your life?