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Tuesday, May 2, 2006
"You are the salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13).
My Dad went to China on business in the mid-seventies, shortly after Americans were again allowed to enter. He supervised the construction of a power plant in a remote part of the country and for many Chinese he was the very first American they ever saw.
One of the humorous stories was the children's reaction to him, as my dad was a big man with a very large belly. On a number of occasions the Chinese children would boldly walk toward Dad and poke their finger right in his belly. Then they would break into hilarious laughter. Perhaps they'd seen the Pillsbury Dough Boy TV commercial and thought it appropriate to poke those who are a bit rolly polly!
Taking a bold stand for Christ, Dad took a case of Chinese Bibles into China and distributed them. He was seeking to allow his life to be salty. He wasn't vocal in his witness but this is something he sensed the Lord leading him to do.
Yesterday I went to a meeting at Lancaster Bible College where a Chinese believer shared about the work of the Lord taking place in China. What a joy to hear this man's incredible excitement for Christ, hear his marvelous stories, and view the colorful Powerpoint photos he had taken. The meeting was sponsored by CBMC, an organization of Christian businessmen I am a part of, who are seeking to salt our world. China has a very active chapter of CBMC and the leaders of several prominent Chinese companies are devoted followers of Christ.
The church of Jesus Christ has a great mandate directly from Christ to be "the salt of the earth." Hundreds of thousands of tiny units known as local churches dot the globe. Hundreds of millions of believers meet in these churches to receive encouragement and exhortation. There is the underground church in closed countries such as China that meets regularly in secret places to encourage, challenge and inspire the saints to live for Jesus.
Today we spread out like grains of salt through the culture that surrounds us. You may see your work as just a necessary but unrelated part of your Christian ministry. But I believe God uses our work to evenly distribute our presence throughout the culture around us. The basic premise of yesterday's meeting is helping leaders to see their business as a means of spreading the Gospel.
You may look around and see but a few grains of salt where you work. In a few cases you may even be the only grain. You may feel "What difference am I making?"
At times the difference we make is recognizable. What a blessing it is to experience the joy of ministry for Christ in leading someone to faith or in bringing encouragement to a fellow believer.
At other times we must practice a steady obedience and wait to see the impact of our saltiness. I don't know to this day how the Bibles my Dad distributed in China made any difference, although I am sure by now that he does. (He went to his heavenly home about 8 years ago.)
We are all like a tiny grain of salt today. Brooksyne and I so enjoy the feedback we receive in this ministry. You come from all over the globe with various backgrounds and you present various ways of serving the Lord. You may feel your contribution is insignificant, but it's not. In concert with millions of other believers you are presenting and preserving the truth, righteousness and order in this increasingly chaotic world. Stay faithful and salty!
Be encouraged today,
Stephen C. Weber
Brooksyne's Prayer: Jesus, may my conversation and actions be full of grace sprinkled with life preserving salt that comes from a vibrant relationship with You. May all I do and say bring glory to Your name and affect others for the Kingdom of God.
Note from Brooksyne: For about ten years I wrote to a Chinese Pen Pal whose name is Yhang Sue. She was learning English and teaching it in a college setting. She has since married and moved to Canada and unfortunately we lost contact with one another. I sought to be a witness for Christ as I wrote my letters (for the first couple years just building a friendship.) My prayer is that I will see her in heaven and the full story will be told as to how my correspondence and other believers led her to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.
I wanted to share a song of Amazing Grace sang by Chinese. This is an online audio I found from a Chinese Church in Maryland USA. It's in English with some Chinese narration.
Today's photo: It would sure be neat to have a picture of my Dad with that case of Bibles he took to China in the mid-seventies but I don't have one and I doubt if one was taken. Today's photo shows the love my Dad had for the little girl we adopted from Guatamala.
Yesterday Mark (yes that's his name although it doesn't sound very Chinese) shared how he had met Brother Yun, who wrote an incredible book that I would recommend concerning the bold stand for Christ taken by a Chinese brother.
The Heavenly Man: The Remarkable True Story Of Chinese Christian Brother Yun
By Brother Yun / Kregel Publications
You've seen the headlines---government crackdowns on Chinese house churches; mass arrests and human rights violations. . . . But this intensely dramatic autobiography makes it real! Learn how God took a young half-starved boy from Henan Province and enabled him to stand strong on the frontlines for Jesus, braving horrific opposition and impossible odds. Life-changing! 352 pages
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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."
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