"The principle of the Gospel is this: the Gospel always brings life to the receiver, and death to the giver. If the Gospel brought death to Jesus Christ, why would we think in preaching the Gospel it would be any different for us?" Jackie Pullinger
Matthew 16:24-25 (ESV) "Then Jesus told his disciples, "If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.""
Something has always bothered me about the story of Abraham and Isaac. It's just such a neat, tidy story. In v.2 of Genesis 22, God tells Abraham to "Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you."(ESV) And so Abraham does this immediately. No objections, no questions, no concerns. Too neat. What has bothered me is the why? Why is this story so neat? Let's look past the obvious fact it was written much, much later by Moses in an effort to record Israel's history. Because this is the Word of God. And everything God does and says has purpose and meaning. Unlike the Preacher in Ecclesiastes, I believe everything relating to God has purpose under the sun. So why is this story so tidy?
I referenced a quote from a missionary above. Jackie Pullinger moved to Hong Kong at the age of 21 wanting to make a difference in people's lives who needed help. And for the past 50 years, she has worked with drug addicts in the slums of Hong Kong. People who were unwanted and with no hope. No future. Probably headed to their death. A job that, frankly, I wouldn't want. But she has embraced this role for Christ, calling herself "privileged to answer His call."
I had never heard of Ms Pullinger until today. I stumbled upon a video of her talking, and it moved me. She was completely committed to the call of Jesus Christ, and showed no fear of losing her own life, but was joyful over the fact that God had called her. Had given her a way to show His love to others.
I referenced the verses above from Matthew Ch. 16 where Jesus describes what it takes to follow Him. It takes losing you life. Completely. His Love is something that cannot be accepted without causing change in you. Because it took Him dying to show it. And anyone who does not change but confesses Christ as savior is a liar, because this type of love cannot do anything but change you.
Thinking about Abraham again, I concluded that he showed the same type of belief, the same type of Hope that Jackie shows. Unafraid of the cost of belief in God. Unafraid of the consequences, of what might happen. This story is tidy because Abraham loved God so much, he was willing to do anything.
Which leads me to me. How do I deal with this? I am not sure yet. But I also heard
Ms Pullinger, which moved me the most.
"The poor people all over the earth, who have never heard of Jesus, they are the poorest people. They're desperate for food, blankets, medicine, water. The most number of people worldwide who have never heard about the love of our Lord Jesus Christ are desperately poor, and they are not going to come here to hear about the Gospel. We are going to have to go there. So why haven't people gone? [...] why don't you all go? You've tasted such good things! Go to the ends of the earth because those poor are not going to watch Jesus on TV. They haven't got electricity. They're not going to hear about them unless you go, so would you? If you've known the love of God,if you've tasted of His sweetness at all, there's no other way to serve him except giving up your life. And this is voluntary. This is not a sentence of death at all; we're not sentenced to death, we're just privileged to answer His call"
We are privileged to know a God that loves us this much. And to serve God in such a manner as Ms. Pullinger or as Abraham did would be the greatest priviledge of all.