The Cross and Suffering



Few Are Willing to Give The Lord Their All

Have we ever thought about the meaning of "eternity"? I remember that at a gospel meeting I attended when I was young, a senior Christian brother tried to explain what "eternity" meant. He said that there were about 200-300 c.c. of water in his cup, with each c.c. containing about 20 drops. He also had a funnel for the water in the cup to flow through. Presuming it would take 10,000 years for one drop of water to go through the funnel, then how many years will it take for all the water in the cup to go through? That would take 40 million to 60 million years. How many years will it take then for water in a pond or a swimming pool to pass through the funnel? That would be an enormous figure ending with many zeroes. Now then, how many years will it take for all the water in the Pacific Ocean to go through the funnel? That would be an even more enormous figure. Yet, compared to eternity, that length of time will be just like an eye-wink!!

We must understand that eternity is a serious matter. How do we actually live and function in this world? Are we self-centered or God-centered? This is a matter that not only affects whether or not we shall have a share of the glory of the Kingdom of God and the millennium, but of the eternity as well (I John 2:17; II Cor. 4:17). The eternal glory is something God has prepared for those who love and honor Him wholeheartedly. They have drunk the cup that He had drunk and are baptized with the baptism with which He was baptized (Mark 10:35-40). This is why in past history numerous saints sacrificed themselves and offered their all to follow and love the Lord.

Thank and praise the Lord! During the several decades I was in China, I encountered many Christians who followed the Lord pure-heartedly. Even though they represented only a small percentage of Christians, they were, nevertheless, a group of pure-hearted followers of Jesus of Nazareth. Despised by the world and regarded as "the filth of the world and the offscouring of all things" (I Cor. 4:13), they were also referred to by Paul as "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable". Brothers and sisters, are both you and I more pitiful than the rest of the world? Are we regarded as "the filth of the world and the offscouring of all things" for the sake of Jesus Christ? Or, are we regarded as people of outstanding status in the secular world?

What I have observed during my several decades in China (from 1949 when China came under Communist rule, up till my departure in 1986), is the message that I am bringing to brothers and sisters in the United States (the Free World). Or, to be more exact, it is an alarm or warning that there are not many who really know the Lord, not many who really love the Lord, and not many who are truly spiritual. Those whom we used to regard as spiritual were those who preached well and had eloquence as well as sound biblical knowledge. That was fine; but let me tell you: among such people very few really knew the Lord and shone in the trials. Oh, it is useless to be praised by men and be regarded by men as spiritual and great! On the contrary, it does not matter if we are despised. That is because on the day when we shall all appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ "the Lord will bring to light the hidden things of darkness and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts; and then shall every man have praise of God." (I Cor. 4:5). What really matter are the Lord"s final words at the Judgment Seat - that is, the Lord"s "evaluation."

Thank God for allowing the Chinese Christians to experience decades of fiery trials even before the advent of the fire before the Judgment Seat. It let us realize our true spiritual condition in the fire, leading us "through the fire and through water " into abundance" (Ps. 66:12).


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