Imagine a wealthy relation leaves you an inheritance, the scope of which is beyond your wildest imagination. Between the wealth and property he’s bequeathed, you’ve become one of the richest people on the planet. Delivered of your own debts and worries, his will stipulates one thing: that you help individuals out of their destruction too, using his funds. You follow his instructions, and in doing so, find a delight in helping to liberate people who were also trapped. Tapping endlessly into this bank account never leaves it overdrawn.
But along the way, the postman delivers a gadget to your home. It has buttons and lights up. While it adds little value to your life other than amusing you, you find yourself drawn to it more and more. At times, you even find it leaves you irritable. But mesmerized, you can’t tear yourself away from this new toy.
The executor of the will follows up and asks how you’re enjoying having access to such a lavish inheritance to right so many wrongs for people. Sheepishly, you admit that you’ve been so distracted playing with a toy in your living room, you’ve not done much with the inheritance. The executor is silent in disbelief. How could anyone in their right mind waste both their life and this coveted inheritance by forfeiting their waking hours playing with a goofy toy?
Is this not a picture of what we do with Christ? His divine power has given us all we need for life and godliness. He has given us authority over all the power of the enemy. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us into His kingdom of marvelous light. Freely He has given to us, and tells us also to freely give.
More even than all this, we have the supreme delight of getting to know our Great Benefactor as the ultimate personal who ever stepped on the stage of humanity. He who knows us better than we do ourselves longs to see His same attributes birthed in us with His manifold love and goodness as we spend time with Him and give our lives over to His all-perfect will.
Yet, like foolish children we so easily swap these costly and unsurpassed riches for tawdry and temporal pastimes.
Recently I was challenged as I read of C. L. Culpepper and the Shantung Revival in China. Leading up to the revival, dismal reports circulated among missionaries of scores of “dead” Chinese churches, among which it was estimated that “thousands of church members had been converted to Christianity, but not to Christ.”
Particularly provocative was the account of how the Lord used Marie Monsen, a Norwegian missionary, as the spark to light a regional revival which began with a spirit of prayer and deep repentance.
Below are links to these stories. They are worth every minute of the time you’ll invest in reading them.
I’d like to share a personal story of how the testimonies out of the Shantung Revival convicted me that I’m too easily distracted and spiritually lazy. I am the heiress to a fortune described at the beginning, preoccupied with lesser things.
Under conviction of this I decided to get away and seek the Lord. Leaving the responsibilities of work, chores, and family, I booked a room out of town (the Lord sent help so that all three of these obligations were well cared for). Departing in the morning, I spent time in the woods and by water, reading my Bible and just quiet.
In the hotel room that evening, I played worship for hours and did nothing else. No television, no phone, no distractions. The next morning I awoke early and it was the same.
During that time, nothing dramatic appeared to happen, no seismic revelation. There was only the worship and a steady, ongoing sense of the worthiness of the One to whom it was ascending.
The next day was a Sunday and as I headed homeward to join our morning church service, several remarkable events occurred. Someone I’d long been praying for called, expressing a renewed interest in scripture and a desire to return to church fellowship. I witnessed an instantaneous healing as my faith to pray for such a thing was fortified by the Lord’s presence. And after requesting of the Lord to glimpse a bald eagle the day prior at the state park (and leaving disappointed), an enormous bald eagle swept down right in front of me as I drove (this felt like a sweet gift from the Lord with the implication that while His answers may be delayed, they’re better than expected when they finally arrive).
The crown jewel of the day was the spontaneous and impromptu baptisms of my children following our church service (despite their resistance to all prior nudging on my part).
Were these manifestations of the kingdom of heaven related to my consecrated time with the Lord? Very possibly. But even if they’d not occurred, in a heartbeat I would give that time to the Lord again.
I hope you’re encouraged, dear friend, to do the same. Set aside time. Turn off the screens. Worship. He is worthy.