One of my favorite figures in the history of Christianity is from the area of Europe near where I spend most of the year, a guy named Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf or Count Zinzendorf as some refer to him. I encourage you to look him up and study what he did. In short, he provided shelter from Protestants who were escaping persecution in the wake of the Reformation wars.
I’ve been to Herrnhut, Germany, the town that he established on the edge of his estate. It’s sometimes referred to as the little town that changed the world. There were a group of refugees there from what is now Czech Republic known as the Moravian Brethren. Again, I suggest you check these guys out further because they were a part of the largest missional movement in the church at that point in history. They even sent missionaries to the British colony of Georgia. And while en route to Savannah some of the missionaries were on the same ship as the Wesley brothers, Charles and John. Because of them, John realized he was not truly a believer and came to Christ while on a journey to be a missionary to the new world.
Here are some of my favorite quotes of his:
“Missions, after all, is simply this: Every heart with Christ is a missionary, every heart without Christ is a mission field.”
“I have but one passion: It is He, it is He alone. The world is the field and the field is the world; and henceforth that country shall be my home where I can be most used in winning souls for Christ.”
“I am destined to proclaim the message, unmindful of personal consequences to myself.”
And then my personal favorite:
“Preach the Gospel, die and be forgotten.”
This hits home, at least for me. It echoes the words of John the Baptist in John 3, “He must increase but I must decrease.” I have to admit a moment of pride earlier this year. I am involved in a few different ministry projects and one particular project makes me really proud. And for good reason, it is creating life change in a community. I want to say that I am the one who started this specific program in this community, because, well I did. Without me it wouldn’t have existed these past few years. But now someone else is going to be doing something similar in the same place, which is great because there is a lot of need. But I was annoyed because I wanted some recognition from them that they were going to join me in something that I was already doing. Why? Because of course, it’s all about me! Right?
The problem is that it’s not. It never was and it never will be. And I am perfectly fine with that. In fact, I want it to be that way but in moments of weakness I forget. God has been working there long before I ever set foot in that place and He’ll be working there long after I’m gone. I’m just thankful that He trusted me to partner with Him for a moment to do His will. And I’m thankful that more people are involved to bring greater good and reach many more people who can help bring transformation to this community just as I have done since being introduced to it four years ago.
The irony of the situation is that the people who took me to this part of the world to begin with are the ones who are starting the similar program. And you know what? Praise God. They are going to take it to a level that I never could have done. And I am all in on helping them as much as I can and working together. I love these folks and I look forward to seeing all that is going to happen in the future. It doesn’t matter who God is using to do this work, what matters is that it is being done by faithful people for His glory and not for the glory of ourselves.
I am very happy that I am able to maintain proper perspective. At times though having this perspective can be nothing short of a miracle. Can you relate? Is there something you say you are doing for God but are really doing for yourself? If so don’t worry, God is in the business of redemption. He uses us and at times He uses us in spite of ourselves.
Preach the Gospel, die and be forgotten. I want to be a part of something bigger than me. What we are doing is bigger than us. If you would like to partner with us then ask God how He would have you help, either through a financial contribution or joining us in the harvest fields. Thank you for your prayers. Thank you for your support. May God continue to bless us all for our good and for His glory.