Sunday, July 02, 2006

The cost of discipleship

In tonight's sermon, I'm going to say something about a dear friend of mine, Dr. Helen Roseveare, who now lives in retirement (well, almost) in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The story of her time as a missionary in the Belgian Congo during the uprising in 1964 is well known (see here if you don't know it). I may not get around in the sermon to quoting this section from her latest book, Digging Ditches, and so I'll quote it here. It is deeply moving, especially when you know the suffering she has endured herself:

Being deeply conscious of the content of the precious gospel that is entrusted to us to make known to all men is, sadly, insufficient, of itself, to drive us into action. Even concentrating on the direct command of the Lord Jesus to all of us who truly love Him and have put our whole trust in Him and in His sacrifice on Calvary, to go to all peoples, all ethnic groups, throughout the world and to proclaim the gospel to them, even this appears insufficient, of itself, to motivate to action. Christians are so gripped by a defensive mechanism to protect themselves from hurt that they will not take the risk. What then will motivate us to obey our Lord and Master? What will motivate us to take seriously the fact that all men outside of Christ are lost and going to a Christless eternity? What will cause us to weep over the frantic state of the world today, sliding ever more deeply into a morass of sinfulness and wickedness, deliberate godlessness, unbelief and error, calling black white, and mishandling the Word of God? Only as we are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, allowing Him to change us into the likeness of Christ, truly giving us ‘the mind of Christ’ that we might think as He thinks, love as He loves, weep as He weeks – only then will we be motivated to move out, as Christ left haven to become flesh and dwell among us. Only then will we be willing to be spent and not count the cost." [Helen Roseveare, Digging Ditches: The Latest Chapter of an Inspirational Life (Tain, Ross-shire: Christian Focus Publications, 2006), 129-130].

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

And two more coming:

Give Me This Mountain
He Gave Us a Valley