Thursday, May 6, 2010
Pastor's Perspective - They're Not Ready
Last week I watched a very moving documentary online called ‘Beyond the Gates of Splendor’. I highly recommend everyone watch it (available on hulu.com) This 2002 film told the story of five American missionaries and their families who back in the 1950’s attempted to share the good news message of Jesus Christ with a remote and unreached people group – the Waodani of Ecuador.
Through a strong fraternity of faith, a mutual calling, and great courage, these young missionaries left their comfortable and promising careers in the US and relocated their families to the harsh Ecuadorian jungle. With passion and creativity they located and made contact with a tribe known worldwide for their violence, toward each other and especially foreigners.
After making contact expressing their goodwill, and having that goodwill reciprocated, the five missionaries took the ultimate leap of faith and landed on a small strip of river beach in January 1956. While their young families prayed and anxiously waited in their jungle homes, the men experienced positive contact initially with the indigenous tribe. However, hope suddenly waned, when the plane and radio contact did not return. An international story quickly developed and a group from Life Magazine was hurriedly dispatched to Ecuador to cover the story. There they found the speared bodies of the missionaries in the riverbed.
For me personally, the most moving part of the documentary was when it was revealed that the missionaries had several loaded guns with them. However, they made it abundantly clear to their families before leaving that if attacked by the Waodani, they would not use them. Their simple and haunting explanation? “They’re not ready for Heaven; and we are.”
Friends, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20) Paul was expressing something riveting – that he was already dead! In other words, the old Paul, with his old selfish and sinful nature and agenda was deceased, and the new Christ-indwelt Paul was on the scene – fully alive in Christ.
These five brave missionaries all realized some things we as modern-day believers sometime forget – that lost people matter greatly to our King; that comfort cannot be our objective in life; that if you’re truly new in Christ (ie. the old self is dead), His mission and story are the greatest things worth living, and yes, dying for.
Who around you is not ready for Heaven?
Remember! Dead folks don’t fear death any more, and care nothing about rejection and their reputations. Bottom-line: You can’t really kill somebody already dead.
Well are you?