The biggest ride at Johannesburg’s Gold Reef City Theme Park is the Anaconda, a sweeping, swirling high speed chase through tunnels, twists and 360-degree loops all while dangling from a chair above nothing at all. I had always avoided it, leaving it to the less-sane members of society, until I was one day forced into it by a corporate team building exercise. Sitting on that “chair”, waiting for the unexpected, I was more-or-less asking myself, “Why would anyone do this??”
But the rides were free for us that day, and three Anaconda-runs later I had quashed my fear and ignited a craving for more.
Standing at the top of the unknown we often ask ourselves, “Why would we do this?” Certainly, as we stand on the threshold of seeing Cross Culture Church launch into becoming self-sustaining and eventually (Lord willing) fully constituted, it is worth asking the same question. Why would we risk the safety of being supported from another congregation? Why would we take on the responsibility of caring for a whole spiritual family, as well as a pastoral household? Why would we commit to a task that could cost us our comforts?
The answer in our hearts is exhilarating!
Look at the fields
The Rainbow Nation is a widely diverse population, thrown together by conflict and circumstance. People of each tribe and language bring something unique to the mix, yet still, at times, fiercely defend their own identity over against the others. This division drives much of the political ideology that dominates the government, a government tasked with rebuilding the ruins of Apartheid, but wracked with self-serving corruption at every level. This corruption shows itself in business big and small, as Capital vies for the affections of politicians, and personal interests destroy the hope of many of society’s downtrodden.
In the terms of Romans chapter 1, we are living in a nation that has been handed over to the consequences of its sinful, God-hating, desires. Through droughts, disasters, and wilful destruction of property, as well as addictions and abuses of every kind, the wrath of God is being revealed.
Judgement, Peter reminds us, begins at the house of God (1 Pet 4:17). Enveloped by the prevailing humanism, the South African Church has not been vigilant to defend the Gospel and keep allegiance to Her One King, Her Saviour and Head. Amongst her leaders the cause of Jesus Christ has been overshadowed by the impulses of power and self-glory common to all men. She has preached a social gospel of Liberation Theology. Her shepherds have preyed on the sheep, or simply abandoned them to the many wolves.
Yet the judgement of God always has a purpose to bring many sons to glory. The Body of Christ is the “pillar and foundation of truth”, Paul teaches (1 Tim 3:15). Against her the gates of Hell cannot prevail. From among her ranks no one can be plucked by either the schemes of men or the fears of Hell. She stands as a City on a Hill, unwilling and unable to be hidden. She shines the Light of Christ into the darkness of the generation from which she is called. While she stays true to her Master, she will look out and see that the fields are white unto harvest.
For such a time as this
David asks in Psalm 11, “How then can you say to me: ‘Flee like a bird to your mountain. … When the foundations are being destroyed, what can the righteous do?’” Is this not truly the temptation of our hearts as we consider the state of the land, and even of the world? Do we not desire to flee to our happy place and escape the onslaught of bad news? Yet this is not what we are called to!
“The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord is on his heavenly throne.” This is David’s confidence. Not his own wisdom to solve the troubles of the earth. Not his treasures to make him comfortable in the midst of the turmoil. No, the king sees that Yahweh rules the affairs of men unhindered. “He observes everyone on earth; His eyes examine them.” Nothing escapes the righteous notice of our God. He will judge the nations, but hope awaits those who trust in Him. “For the Lord is righteous, he loves justice; the upright will see his face.”
David, like Esther, sees that he has been raised up for such a time as this. For such a time as men rebel against God, yet God shows Himself to be faithful. Against the common wisdom, the sensible course of action, the heroes of the faith have always been compelled by the love of Christ to steadfastly proclaim and live the Gospel.
This is why we would do this.
The love of Christ compels us to proclaim Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life, and to see rebel sinners converted to the worship Him. Our Lord has set a lamp on its stand in the North-western corner of Johannesburg. He has entrusted us to keep it shining by the Word and Spirit.
We will do this to take the Gospel to our nation, convinced that the Scriptures alone are the Word of God and our highest authority. We will proclaim Christ alone as Saviour and King. We will cling to Him by faith alone, and plead with others to do the same. We will live not by our own strength, but by grace of God alone. As good soldiers we will serve our Commanding Officer and Captain, Jesus Christ, for the glory of God alone.
South Africa is a dry, thirsty, and waterless land. Will you join our family, and come with us as servants on a mission to draw others to the Fountain of Living Water?