Friday, February 27, 2009

Give the seed time to germinate

If you offer your food to the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,
then your light shall rise in the darkness
and your gloom be like the noonday

These words of the prophet Isaiah (58:10) speaks to the care humanity should shower upon those less fortunate. Such deeds of kindness are not to "convert" but to introduce to them the change Christ can make in their lives. Too few missionaries and preachers don't give the planted seed time to germinate.

Our first years in Taiwan taught us many things. Some took longer to learn than others. Churches generally baptized their new believers at Easter or Christmas. I thought that strange until I realize it was a custom going back a long way even in the Holy Land. I helped our Chinese pastor baptize 55 new believers one Easter. They had spent the months, some a year, germinating. Learning what they had experienced in Christ. Growing to appreciate what being a Christian meant and how important the church was becoming in their lives.

We expect the Christian churches to have spiritual influence on the community. But if the newly converted are not grounded, but rushed to membership, our influence is far less than it should be. Building cannot be built on poorly produced foundations. No one, especially God Almighty, wants anemic Christians that evolve into what the world calls hypocrites.

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