I’ve been hanging out with Koulandiso Tendeng this week (you know him as Dave Miller) in Africa. We’ve spent the week together sharing the gospel and trying to plant churches. I’ve got to die someday: I really hope I die someday doing something like this rather than playing Bejeweled Blitz.
It scares me sometimes to stand at the headwaters of what I hope will be a family of enduring churches. To try to insulate them from my mistakes, I often tell them, “We just want you to read God’s Word and do what it tells you to do.”
Sounds so easy, right? But can we all be honest enough to admit that it takes a great deal of courage to do that? Sometimes what the Bible says comes up against our traditions (infant baptism, anyone?). Sometimes it comes up against our relationships (church discipline against a friend?). Sometimes it comes up against our own self-interests (forgive up to seventy-times-seven times?). Wimps will never read the Bible and do what it says.
And so, sometimes I feel a bit like a hypocrite when I say something so simple to these people. For them, doing what the Bible says will mean stepping apart from a centuries-old tradition of demonic animism, risking tribal exclusion, risking economic persecution, and embarking bravely upon what must be a terrifying new journey. Nevertheless, no other way could be so rewarding or safe.
May God, as I ask Him to give courage to these dear friends, give it in equal measure to my own soul.