Sharing the burden of our brothers

Pastor Tianming leads the members of Shouwang Church in Beijing, China in worship in the midst of a blizzard.

The members of Shouwang Church in Beijing have suffered for Christ. They have been evicted from their building because they refuse to allow an earthly government to dictate to them how to worship their Lord, Jesus Christ. They have met outside in blizzards. Many of them have been arrested, interrogated, physically abused, harassed, and threatened with the loss of their jobs.

They are relying on the Lord for their strength.

We admire their faith. But admiring their faith does them no good.

We pray for them. That helps. The Lord owns everything the church needs and He is quite capable of supplying them with every resource — including their faith that we so admire.

But are we not moved to action by their story? God has blessed churches in the United States with remarkable resources. We have money and means where they have needs. Can we not make this connection? What if we have been blessed with these resources so that we can, in turn, be a blessing to our brothers and sisters?

Do we really think we’ve been blessed so that we can have new carpet in our sanctuaries and state-of-the-art air conditioning? Do we really need a new gym and coffee bar?

I can hear the objections now…

  • The gym really needs a new floor. The old one is so worn and tattered. It just looks so bad.
  • The carpet hasn’t been replaced in 20 years. It’s almost impossible to keep clean.
  • But our air conditioning is about to go out. If we don’t replace it we’ll have to attend church in 85-degree temperatures in the sanctuary. It’s even possible that some of our members may not come if that’s the case.

Our brethren in China met outside in a blizzard so strong was their desire to hear the Word of God and to fellowship with other believers.

What if the money we were going to use on our own comforts we instead sent to China so that they may have a roof? What if we used it to go and be with them in person — to pray with them, learn from them, cry with them, rejoice with them? What if we came back to our own churches and saw them in a different light?

Our perspectives might change concerning the tattered gym floor, old carpets and the uncomfortable temperatures. Perhaps after sharing in the burden of believers whose need far outweighs our own we would view these things as tangible reminders that we are doing without a little because we helped our brethren who are doing without so much more.

Note: If you are serious about helping churches around the world then contact one of these missions agencies. I’m sure the folks there would be happy to help you get connected.

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About Chip
Chip is a graduate of Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR and Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary in Memphis, TN. He served more than five years on the staff of the State Convention of Baptists in Indiana as Director of Communications and Public Relations, editor of the Indiana Baptist newsjournal, and regular contributor to the Baptist Press, the official news service of the Southern Baptist Convention. He currently earns his living as a writer. He serves his local church as a teacher and deacon and his local Baptist Association as a Seminary Extension instructor and supply preacher.

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