“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes….” Romans 1:16a
The story was told, at our church’s missions conference yesterday, of an eye surgeon who traveled to a remote region in China to perform cataract surgeries. One of the surgeries restored the eyesight of a Chinese gentleman who was elated by the results.
The next day or so, the surgeon looked out his window to see the same gentleman walking back up the mountain toward the clinic, holding a long, knotted rope—and leading more than a dozen others, all blind, up the path toward the surgeon.
The story’s purpose? When we find someone who does extraordinary things for us, we immediately have a keen desire to bring others to that person. When we are brought out of darkness into light, we want to share that same light with those who are still stumbling and unable to see. We wish to lead people to Jesus.
Our missions conference this year was bittersweet—with reports on the current situation for churches we support in the Ukraine and with stories about pastors who suffer for preaching the Gospel message in countries under oppressive regimes.
What was remarkable about those stories was the profound courage that these believers exhibit in the face of persecution. I was convicted by the way one pastor responded to being arrested and thrown into prison for his faith—the first thing he did was to repent of his desire for a comfortable life.
At the same time, the message at the conference reminded us of this simple, joyful truth: everyone set free by Christ has the amazing privilege to speak of Him with others…to bring the lost into His kingdom so that they, too, might know His love and light.
When Jesus Christ calls you by His irresistible grace, you’re overcome by a desire to celebrate your newfound freedom in Him with others. You find yourself bubbling over with a joy you want your friends and loved ones to share with you.
I pondered this calling after the service, remembering times in the past when I was much more emboldened and eager to talk about Jesus with others. Both the comforts and trials of life, however, have distracted me lately from my mission.
And so I ask myself…who’s on my rope? For whom am I praying to come to know Jesus?
In the coming months, I hope to lengthen my rope a bit—through prayer, speaking out about Jesus, and simply loving others as Jesus would. I often fail miserably at all of those objectives. But by the work of His Holy Spirit (in an imperfect vessel), I hope to hold out a candle to those who need His light.
If you know Jesus, who’s on your rope? Or, if you don’t know Jesus, do you crave to know Him and have a personal relationship with Him? I’m praying for you.
Take this moment to lift your voice to Jesus. He has promised He will transform your life, placing a desire in your heart to seek His presence.* He has the power to save you and give you eternal life in heaven.
Please, friend—come join me in this privileged life called the Christian faith. Inestimable joys await you, as you are set free in His truth and love. Grab a knot on His rope, and let Him lead you into His light.*
O Jesus, let us experience Your irresistible love and then share Your joy with the world. Make us Your ambassadors, leading others into Your kingdom and salvation. Be with pastors and missionaries who serve You in spite of danger, and give us all the courage to shine Your light into a darkened world. In Your holy name, Amen.
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© Copyright 2022 Nancy C. Williams, Lightbourne Creative (text and photography)
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
*Here’s the good news of God’s grace for you:
The foundation of the Christian life is our faith in the Good News of God’s grace. The Living and True God is a God of justice and of mercy. Every person at one time bears the guilt of sinful rebellion against God and is separated by that sin from a relationship with Him. God’s holy justice requires punishment for human sin, but out of His love and mercy He gave His Son Jesus Christ to become the Savior of all who will trust in Him.
Christ became a man to fulfill the righteous requirements of God’s Law on their behalf, and to bear the punishment of their sins through His death on Calvary’s cross so that they can be forgiven and adopted into God’s eternal family.
Contrary to much of popular belief, we cannot earn the forgiveness of our sin and the inheritance of eternal life with God by being good enough to merit these blessings. The Bible teaches that as sinners we can never be good enough on our own merit. But God offers us these benefits as a free gift, purchased in love by the holy life and the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ.
We accept this gift by placing our faith in Christ, repenting of our sins and trusting in His death as the means of our forgiveness and acceptance by God, receiving Him as our Savior and Lord. You may express this by praying a prayer in faith like the one that follows:
Dear Father, I believe that Jesus Christ is Your only begotten Son, and that He became a human being, shed His blood and died on the cross to pay the penalty and clean away the sin that has separated me from You. I believe that He rose bodily from the dead to give me new life. Lord Jesus, I invite You and ask You to come into my heart. I confess my sins, and ask You to forgive me. I accept You as my Savior and Lord. I want to turn from my sins and pray that Your Holy Spirit will help me follow Your way. I believe that You have come and are living in me right now. Thank You, Lord. In Your Name I pray, Amen.
(By Dr. James E. Richter, Retired Pastor, Lookout Mountain, Tennessee)