Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. Hebrews 12:28 NKJV
For quite a while now, I have been studying the Sabbath school lesson every morning, over the phone with my father, who lives 1,200 miles away. I always look forward to this special time we can spend together. The other day, as we studied, I read the above passage. As I read, “a kingdom which cannot be shaken” my mind went to our dear brothers and sisters in the Ukraine. Their kingdom is being shaken. My father and I pray for them every morning now.
Meanwhile, with soaring gas prices and grocery stores having bare shelves, and various other inconveniences that United States citizens are not used to, we are sensing the vulnerability of our nation. Its always good to have a healthy sense of pride in your nation, but perhaps we in the United States have been a little too arrogant over the years? Maybe we think that, as United States Citizens, we are above suffering inconveniences that other countries suffer. If that is so, then that is not pride, that is arrogance.
If as a United States citizen I think of myself as too good to suffer the same things that my brothers and sisters around the world suffer, then I divorce myself “from whom the whole family in heaven and earth” (See Ephesians 3:15.)
Several years ago I was on a mission trip to Peru. I and several others were holding reaping meetings after our Peruvian brothers and sisters had been having small group Bible studies in their homes. The Peruvians were honored to have U.S. citizens come to help them. They were surprised and pleased when I told them that they, along with us, were actually missionaries in Peru. Their citizenship, as well as mine, is in heaven. We are equals as we serve God together. At the end of our mission trip, our flight was delayed, and I ended up sleeping on the airport floor that night. I was perfectly comfortable on the floor that night, knowing that many of my Peruvian brothers and sisters, who were much more noble than I, also had no bed that night. After all, if they did not have a bed to sleep on that night, who was I to have a bed?
Now when I get into my comfy bed at home I realize there is only one reason that God has granted me a bed for the night, so that I can get a good nights rest in order to share the Gospel the next day. God does not owe me a bed. I owe God for giving me a bed. I assure you God does not think more highly of me than He does the beggar sleeping on the street. I can assure you God thought more highly of John the Baptist while he was being beheaded in prison, than He thinks of me sleeping comfortably in my own bedroom. I remember, while in Peru, all the children especially seemed to be awe of us United States citizens. They would flock around us and talk to us regardless if we could understand each other or not. They just loved being around us. I also remember one girl, about 12 years old or so, who would stand at a distance and watch with what I perceived as disdain as the other kids made over us. She refused to join them as she kept her nose in the air. Over time I realized she was not so impressed with us United States Citizens. She did not think we were “all that.” I agreed with her! We weren’t “all that.”
Revelation 6:14 speaks of “every mountain and rock being moved out of place.” The entire world is being and will be shaken. The Ukraine is being shaken, but so is the United States. It is time for us to identify more with the sufferings of our brothers and sisters around the world – more than we identify with our respective nations. It is time for us to identify more with our heavenly citizenship than our earthly citizenship. It is time to realize we are all citizens of heaven and each of us are here only as missionaries. Any advantage we have is only to be used to strengthen our brothers and sisters around the world. We are not too good to suffer anything our brothers and sisters around the world suffer. Hebrews 11:36-37 mentions those who,
had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented— Hebrews 11:36-37 NKJV
How can I, as a missionary in the United States have any ambition any higher than that? Am I any more special than my brother and sister missionaries around the world? Do I deserve any special treatment, privileges or favors beyond what they endure? NO! NO! NO!
While we pray for our heavenly family in the Ukraine, we must also suffer with them and share with them. They are our brothers and sisters in that family which spans heaven and earth. Regardless if we are missionaries in the United States or The Ukraine, or wherever you are reading this, we must realize we are only here to share the Gospel. When our respective nations are being shaken we must realize, we are only missionaries here. We must make sure we are a part of that kingdom which cannot be shaken. The kingdom that Our High Priest has now made us citizens is the only kingdom that will never be shaken. Friend, wherever you are reading this from, I invite you to be a part of Christ’s kingdom, which will never be shaken. By faith you can endure the trials, hardships and persecutions missionaries before you have suffered. By faith we can give our lives for the sake of the Gospel, and be a part of that kingdom which will never be shaken.
Outpost Centers International networks and nurtures hundreds of Adventist supporting ministries around the world. I have trusted them with my personal mission offerings for years. I would like to invite you to join me in ministering to our brothers and sisters in the Ukraine. If the Spirit leads you, you can go to the OCI Ukraine Emergency Relief Fund page. Alternately, you can also give through ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency), which has partnered with Hope Channel International to deliver aid to the Ukraine. I encourage you to give as the Spirit leads. Derek Morris is president of Hope Channel International. (Note that you can give to support Hope Channel International staff at the Hope Channel International URL, and you can give to the support of the general population of the Ukraine through the ADRA URL.)
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