For you remember, brothers, our labor and toil: we worked night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, while we proclaimed to you the gospel of God. 1 Thessalonians 2:9 The Apostle Paul’s definition of success is very different than the world’s definition. His...
“My children, I will be with you only a little longer… Where I am going, you cannot come.” John 13:33 (NIV)
If Peter could have traveled through time to join us in 21st century America, he would be absolutely astonished.
- You tell him to get in your car, and you explain that you use this instead of a donkey.
- Your phone rings. “Peter, it’s called an iPhone!” He sees the email and wants to know how the scrolls get inside.
- You take him to one of our great hospitals and show him the radiology department. “This is where we help people who are sick.”
- Then you take him to a local university and show him around—the athletic facilities, corporate labs, and people from all over the world.
- Then you take him on a tour of some local churches, and you show him the Christian institutions and seminaries—serving thousands of people.
Peter says, “This is amazing! We didn’t have anything like this. But let me ask you… are there any people in this city who’ve experienced the loss of someone they love? Are there any people in these institutions who feel let down, disappointed, or betrayed? Do you have any folks in these great churches who are humbled by their failures and grieve over their sins?”
Of course, your answer would be, “Yes.” And when the tour was over, perhaps Peter would say, “Your world is so different… and yet it is exactly the same. The nature of life in this fallen world does not change. And Jesus confronts us with the reality of life. We live with our failures, our disappointments, and with the experience of loss. There is no escapism in Christianity.
How has the world changed over the millennia? How have things stayed the same?