The Task is Unfinished
Our Christian forefathers gave their lives to reach South Africa with the gospel, with great results. Over 70% of the population claim to be Christian. But the job is not done. Have believers been truly discipled? Do they understand God’s plan for the church, for the home, for integrity in the work place, the role of government, use of finances? They are hungry for the truth of God’s Word. We have the chance to give it to them, through thriving local churches, through church planting, radio ministry, schools, and countless ministries of truth and mercy. The gospel can truly transform this country when Christians are taught to obey all that Christ commanded (Matt. 28:18-20).
Pastors and missionaries will never change a nation on their own. This only happens through grassroots godliness: model Christian homes with godly husbands and wives, fathers and mothers, and faithful children; godly business people who are salt and light in their workplaces, who serve in the church, and who finance ministry.
What About Our Children?
But what about our children? Isn’t their safety and future success more important than our fruitfulness or fulfilment? Yes, our children are our first and foremost disciples. Their safety is our responsibility. But their souls are our biggest concern. Do we want to teach them to run away from trouble or to run to the battle? Do we want to teach them that life is all about how much stuff you can accumulate and how comfortable you can be, or that life is about serving others, building Christ’s church, and giving up your life to find it. “For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? (Mk 8:34-36).
I want my children to follow the examples of people like Jim Elliot who said, “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” As I think of protecting my children, I need to remember that there are other dangers besides physical ones. I would rather that they lose their lives than their souls. As they follow God and seek first His kingdom, He will provide for their needs (Matt. 6:33, Mark 10:29-31, Phil. 4:19). If they have a strong Christian character and work ethic they will not usually have trouble providing for their family wherever they live (Proverbs 10:4). I choose to stay because I don’t want to rob myself or my children of crowns that they can lay at the feet of our risen Lord.
Are We Testing God?
Am I putting God to the test by staying here? When Satan tempted Jesus to throw Himself off the temple and let the angels catch Him, Jesus refused to put God to the test. If I do something foolish that requires a miracle from God to save me, then I am testing God. Or on the other hand, if I complain about the circumstances that God has put me in and demand that he deliver me, I am also testing God like the Israelites when they demanded water (Deut. 6:16, Ex. 17:1-7). But if I joyfully carry out my duties in the land God has put me in, cultivating the ground, fighting the thorns and thistles, trusting Him to care for my family, even having to turn down amazing offers to go elsewhere, I am not testing God; I am trusting Him.
So much of God’s Word encourages us to trust Him and persevere in the midst of trouble and corruption. For example, Psalm 37 is packed with such counsel:
Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass, and fade like the green herb. Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him and He will do it… ….For evildoers will be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land… Mark the blameless man, and behold the upright; for the man of peace will have a posterity. But transgressors will be altogether destroyed; the posterity of the wicked will be cut off. But the salvation of the righteous is from the Lord; He is their strength in time of trouble. And the Lord helps them, and delivers them; He delivers them from the wicked, and saves them, because they take refuge in Him. (Psalm 37).
There is much work to be done here. So we believe that God wants us to take refuge in Him while we stay here, not to take refuge in a safer country.
Where Are You Called?
We stay because we are called to South Africa. When you are called, no promise of greater security or comfort can lure you away. You are free to enjoy all the beauties of South Africa without constantly wond