As i accept this truth and strive to live it out, I have been burden by the fact that I do not and have not felt very effective in my re-entry to this country. I long to be effective in bringing Him glory and making His Name known. I have been humbled enough to know that I don't have the answers and have reached out to others...receiving criticism, rolling of the eyes, blank stares, and an occasional warm welcome to my plea for help. So today as I was finishing up some seminary class work, I was lead to look up an article on Piper's website. It was exactly what I needed today and so I thought I would share it with you. It definitely gave me the perspective that I needed to finish my day for His glory.
Do you think Gd has purposes for your life that will be realized in 1,400 years?
I do. Your life and mine.
Yes, the new heavens and the new earth may be here by then. I hope so. If so, there are things that are happening to you now that will have reverberations then for your good.
I say that because Paul says, “This light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison” (2 Corinthians 4:17). When Paul speaks of “light momentary affliction,” he is referring to all the painful experiences of our lives — the same thing he means by “the sufferings of this present time” in Romans 8:18. All of this present time.
And when he says that these life-long experiences are “preparing for us an eternal weight of glory,” he means that there is a correlation between those experiences now and our experiences of glory later. And that correlation is more than sequential, and more than evidence that we are going to glory.
It would be little comfort to Paul if I said the point was: “How I handle my backache and how you handle your beheading are evidence that we are both going to glory.” That’s true. But it’s not the point of the word “preparing” (katergazetai). His beheading will have a different effect on his glory than my backache will on mine. And I’ll be the happier for his reward.
Everything Relates to EverythingBut what if, in 1,400 years Chrst has not returned? Will your life make a difference in that world? I think so. In God’s governance of the world, everything relates to everything.
Consider this illustration.
When I was in Ethiopia last November, I was told of an Ethiopian M who went to Pakistan. He entered a town with a view to evangelizing and planting a club, even though Pakistan is not open to this kind of missionary work.
But when he went before the town leaders and they found out that he was from Ethiopia they said something to the effect: “You may do your work here. We owe you the gift of openness and hospitality, because your people gave asylum to Mohammed’s family 1,400 years ago.”
The Land of JusticeSince then I have tried to track down the history behind this amazing statement. In 2008 there was a symposium about this very tradition. Scholars from Princeton, Cornell, Rutgers, and the National Museum of Ethiopia met to discuss new historical findings.
In Islamic history and tradition, Ethiopia (Abyssinia) is known as the “Haven of the First Migration” of Muslims. During Mohammed’s lifetime (570 – 632) his followers were being persecuted in the surroundings of Mecca by pagan tribes.
Dr. Said Samatar, Professor of African History at Rutgers, explained “King Armah (Negash) and his decision to grant refuge to the family of the Prophet Mohammad, who arrived at Aksum while fleeing from their pagan persecutors.” King Armah was a Chrstn and had the reputation of treating people generously. Dr. Samatar described how “a Chrstn King refused bribes and granted sanctuary to the fleeing Muslims in Aksum.”
“Mohammad didn't forget the generosity of the Negash,” he said, “and in the sayings (hadith) of the Prophet that have been recorded and passed on for generations, it is noted that ‘Abyssinia [Ethiopia] is a land of justice in which no one is oppressed.’”
Therefore, for many Muslims even today, 1,400 years later, “Ethiopia is synonymous with freedom from persecution and emancipation from fear.”
Consider Your ImpactDo you think that the Chrstns of Abysinnia, 1,400 years ago thought that what they were doing would have an effect for the glory of Chrst and the good of the world fourteen centuries later, when a Pakistani mayor opened his city to a Chrstn Ethiopian missionary?
Therefore, I conclude that what we do in obedience to Chrst in this life is never wasted. Our acts are like pebbles dropped in the pond of history. No matter how small our pebble, Gd rules the ripples. And He causes the design on the face of the waters to be exactly what He wills.
Your pebbles count. Drop them with daily faithfulness, and leave the ripples to Gd.