I’ve been listening to The Journal of John Wesley. He was chased down, stoned, rejected and condemned. Yet he proclaimed the gospel to all he could. In Acts, we find the disciples were jailed, shipwrecked, and some killed. But they kept going. Jesus died on the cross to bring forgiveness for our sins and heal our shame, enabling us to live abundantly.
Missionary Adoniram Judson wrote,
“ There is no success without sacrifice. If you succeed without sacrifice, it is because someone has suffered before you. If you sacrifice without success, it is because someone will succeed after.”
Set Free leaders in some countries have been attacked while serving. Consequently, we are careful about using some names and faces. Other Set Free leaders are delivering food and medicine into war-torn parts of Ukraine. Our leaders sacrifice in small and big ways. Sacrifice is what is required.
Christians in Creative Access Asia CA, VN, PN and other places experience great persecution. Some are jailed and beaten. Some lose jobs. Yet they continue proclaiming salvation, hope and healing in Jesus’ name.
Sacrificial living is a characteristic of our faith (Luke 9:23, Galatians 6:14). Have we lost this fundamental teaching in our churches?
A few months ago, I was with a church leader who decided to eliminate his church’s online streaming. Why? He was deeply troubled by people forsaking the “gathering of the saints” (Hebrews 10:25). There is a theology of leaving comfort and gathering in the name of the Lord as a united, free people. It is countercultural and a great witness to refuse the easy way.
Jesus demands we count the cost. To follow Jesus is not just to believe but to pick up the cross and follow him into suffering and joy. In some inexplicable way, suffering and joy seem to be linked (Matthew 16:24, James 1:2).
Kuntee and Sopeep, the patriarch and matriarch of Free Methodist work in Cambodia, came out of the Khmer Rouge genocide with vibrancy, resilience and faith in Jesus. They are some of the most joyful, generous people I have ever met. They suffered greatly. They have few earthly possessions yet are earnest Christians. They follow Jesus daily into suffering and joy, and the fruit is a thriving Christian movement in Cambodia.
As an American serving globally, I wonder, what are we sacrificing for the Kingdom? I hear people moaning and groaning about the government and moral issues in America. I hear people wanting revival. Friends, there will be no revival without sacrifice, surrender and following Jesus earnestly. We need to count the cost.
Photo Credit: Kevin Austin