I try to help my neighbor through a crisis, and she shuts me down. I give cold water to a homeless person, and he says what he really needs is money. I offer to pray for someone and they look at me like I’m a crazy cult member.
Can’t you people see that I’m trying to love you? I quit.
It’s easy to get discouraged when our sincere attempts to love people as Jesus did are rebuffed. That’s why I so needed this story from one of our TCT partner churches in Southeast Asia–a glimpse of how God works through people who just won’t take “no” for an answer.
A landslide had dumped dirt into the grounds of the community’s school. But no one in town was willing to do anything to help. The village leader, the school principal, the families of the students…no one wanted to tramp around in the mud doing back-breaking labor to fix the problem. So the school sat half-buried in dirt.
Finally, the church in the much-poorer, neighboring community heard about the problem. They were of a different tribe that had always been looked down on, but they offered to help anyway. They wanted to show the love of Jesus to their neighbors.
The village leader refused. It would be humiliating to receive help from these poor, backward minority people–Christians on top of everything else.
The pastor from the church went to the principal of the school and made the same offer. The principal said he would rather have the dirt than accept help from such lowly people.
So the dirt remained.
A few weeks later, the pastor attended a provincial meeting where the government officials were discussing their concerns about a cult moving into the area. Cults are considered disruptive and divisive…much the same way Christianity is often viewed in the same area. With no solution to the cult problem, the pastor simply mentioned his church’s desire to help clear away the dirt at the school. The district official declined the offer–people like us don’t need help from the likes of you.
However, the provincial official (his boss) overheard the conversation and said, “Either get the work done or let the church do it.”
Reluctantly, the district official agreed that the church could help. Thirty people from the church worked together to remove the dirt and clean up the school grounds.
The provincial leader was so impressed by the Christians that he called another meeting to ask the Christians to go and evangelise in the areas where the cult had started to take hold.
Just in case you missed the miracle…Evangelism is illegal in this country, and many believers have suffered imprisonment, beatings, and loss of property for daring to share the gospel. Now, because of a simple Act of Love, a government official was condoning–no, requesting–that these Christians go to a neighboring community to tell people about Jesus and plant a church.
The pastor didn’t have to be asked twice.
Praise God for how He is using this church’s simple, persistent obedience to open so many doors for kingdom impact!
Let us not become weary in doing good,
for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.