John Piper, in
his book, A
Hunger for God, has very helpfully reminded us of what the
appropriate posture of the Church should be. It is the posture of the longing
Bride, waiting at the altar for the appearing of the bridegroom. She is tapping
her foot and glancing at her watch. The bride is filled with a “holy
discontent” over the absence of her Bridegroom and is busy crying out
“Maranatha! Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus!” The New Testament church exhibited
this posture, because it was a persecuted church. Christians were intimately
acquainted with suffering and poverty. They were eager for Christ to consummate
His Kingdom, because they knew that things on earth were not the way they were
supposed to be.
Unfortunately, this agitated posture is not the posture of
the typical American congregation. We do not long fervently for the
consummation of Christ’s Kingdom because we’re really rather happy just the way
things are. American abundance and affluence anesthetize us. We are
comfortable. We are not crying out night and day for God to bring justice on
earth. We forget to shout, Maranatha!
Face-to-face ministry among the poor, though, can stimulate
within us the growth of an oh-so-needed “holy discontent.” We allow ourselves
to be touched with the brokenness and pain experienced by our needy neighbors.
As we entangle our lives with those who suffer, we can begin to become rightly
agitated with the ways things are (because they are not the way they’re
supposed to be) and more eager for Christ to deliver on His promise to “make
all things new” (Rev. 21:5).
There is a holy agitation we should strive for. The founder
of World Vision, the largest Christian relief and development agency in the
world, put it this way: “God, let my heart by broken by the things that break
1) In what ways are you, personally, comfortable with “the world as it is?” Do you ever hide yourself from news of the “big, bad world out there?” Ask God to give you the courage to bear the sorrow (and agitation) that comes when we acquaint ourselves with the hardship and pain poor people experience. Remember that the point is not to be weighed down with such sorrows, but to look to God in the midst of them with an increased fervor to see Him do His work of “making all things new.”
2) Read Revelation chapters 16-22. Identify the evils God will destroy at the end of the age and the “new things” He will bring about. Allow an appreciation for God’s “just and true judgments” (Rev. 19:1-2) to increase the fervor of your worship of Him.
© 2004, Amy Sherman. From Sharing God’s Heart for the Poor, used by permission.