I just spent three days ministering through art and it was a great trip. I ministered in OH to a group of people, many of whom were ex-Amish. The conversations I had with these people were quite incredible. These are people who came to realize that their life-long religion was not what it should be. They spoke of searching the Scriptures and counting the cost. They spoke of being shunned and being disconnected from their families, some for decades. Their faith was deep in the God of the Bible.
What was missing from these conversations? A lot of the hot buttons that the rest of the church is fighting each other about on a daily basis. I wondered why, but I think I get it. These folks had to sacrifice for their faith. They had to pay a high price to follow Jesus. They look to God’s Word and they try to live what it says, because the Word was a large part of the impetus of their coming to faith in the first place. They treasure their freedom in Christ and do not take it for granted. They realize their freedom in Christ does not extend to freedom to adapt what He said to a changing culture. This is so important. Culture does not change the Word of God, but properly applied, the Word of God changes culture. It was refreshing.
But do you know what was even more refreshing. Every one of the people I had talked to had a passion to see everyone, but especially people from their former culture to find freedom in Christ. Keep in mind many had been ostracized for their faith, shunned and/or mistreated. Their passion was palpable. They spoke often about sharing their faith and praying for even greater boldness. I went out there to teach them and found that I was learning as much as I was teaching. Our time together made me realize I need to pray for greater boldness too.
Some day we will all stand before Jesus. I can’t help but wonder what He will think. The passion and fervor we have over the divisive issues of the day will be put to rest once and for all and the real questions will be, “What did you do with my Gospel?” and “Why were you fighting among yourselves while your enemy ran rampant, the world fell apart and many were lost?” Jesus didn’t die so we could be more religious, more liberal, more conservative, more progressive, more whatever label we want to claim, He came and died so we could be more like Him and take His Gospel, NOT OUR AGENDAS, to the ends of the earth. My ex-Amish friends seem to get this.