Monday, April 23, 2018

A PARABLE

There was a huge, 3-day business conference being held downtown for which people paid a hefty
price to attend. During a break on the second day, a woman who had not paid the registration fee
snuck into the conference hall. She wanted to meet the Leader of this conference. She had read
his books, seen his video, followed him on his weekly blog, but she could not afford the
expensive conference fee.

The woman managed to get within a few feet of the Leader when one of the Leader’s team
members noticed the woman did not have a conference name badge, the proper security
identification. He then questioned her about it. Realizing she was in trouble and her chances of
speaking with the Leader were suddenly slim, the woman quickly shouted out the Leader’s
name.  He was less than ten feet from her, so he turned and looked at her. She immediately cried
out with a concerned voice, “Leader, help me please. My business is failing. My husband is an
invalid due to a previous work accident and no one is helping us.” The Leader turned away and
continued talking to the people in his inner circle.

The woman continued shouting, “Leader, I am certain we have the right product, and we need
your help to market and deliver it.” At that outburst, someone called security and one of the
Leader’s assistants grabbed the woman to silence her. This resulted in her shouting even louder.
“Leader, please, please, I know you can help me. I brought my business plan, the by-laws,
balance sheet, my PL statement, cash flow sheet and some customer reviews!” The Leader
paused from his conversation and looked at the woman and said, “Madam, I am here to serve my
clients, the members of this conference. They have paid their fees. Sorry, you are not a member.”

Now what would the woman do at this point?
What would you do?
What would security do?
What would the Leader’s assistants do? (Likely throw her out.)

As security and the Leader’s assistants begin to push her toward the door, the woman breaks
away, sprints over to the Leader, falls at his feet and begs, “Leader please, I beg of you, I know
you can help me, please help me!”  To which the Leader replies, “Woman, it isn’t right to take the ideas and strategies which I have so diligently worked to master and teach to others, and give them away to deadbeats and cheapskates, to vagrants and bums who do not pay.”

Stop again.  Now at this point, how do you think the woman feels?  No one person in this crowd of 20 to 30 people are supporting her or encouraging her. Not one. Security has her in their grasp and they are lifting her to her feet, starting to move her away. How does she feel? What would you do if
you were her?

Then while being dragged away, she faces the Leader and cries out, “Yes Leader, you are right,
but even the vagrants and bums eat the crumbs, the garbage that is tossed out of the homes of the
rich.”  At those words, the Leader stopped, and looked directly at the woman. The Leader, whose name by the way is Jesus, says to the woman, “Your faith is great. Let it be done for you as you want.”

You may read another version of this story in Matthew 15:21-28.

Perseverance and believing your idea is His idea is essential to succeeding in B4T. Many of us
have been down to our last dollar. We’ve sold everything causing our families to suffer, yet we
kept believing. We worked even harder. And then, in His grace, Jesus answered our prayers for
our businesses.

Do you believe your job, your business, is Jesus’ idea? Are you willing to give it your all – and
put everything into it? Then keep working. Keep moving forward. And keep begging for His
blessing.

Monday, April 16, 2018

DO YOU COUNT EVERYTHING AS LOSS?

The following was submitted by an OPEN worker in the Arab world.


Paul tells the Philippians, For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:3

Paul points out the differences between the circumcision (us) and the uncircumcision (non-believers) is 3-fold:
1) We worship by the Spirit of God. For example, Jesus tells the woman at the well that she worships what she does not know but a day is coming when true worshippers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth.
2) We glory in Christ Jesus instead of the things of this world.
3) We put no confidence in the flesh, but instead put our confidence in the righteousness of Christ that depends on faith (v.9)

One of the three differences between us and the world is that we glory in Christ Jesus. Paul goes on to say that he counts all things as loss, including his earthly credentials (v.4-11). It got me thinking: what are the things that I glory in? Unfortunately, it’s not only Christ Jesus that I glory in. He has me in a process of learning, painful as it is, to count all things as loss and glory only to Himself. In Galatians 6:14 Paul chases this idea with, But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

Isn’t that astonishing? May boasting in anything save Christ alone be far from us as well! I want to call us to a greater holiness here. As B4T’ers, many of us secretly glory in our business. I sometimes hear a pride in the voices of B4T’ers that we are working with our own hands and not living only off of what other people give. We could slip into a state of pride that our business is going well. We can forget to count as loss all that we have given up to get this far. These are traps. Let us not fall in them.

I struggle to count my career as loss. I struggle to not overthink about all that I could have back home. Do you see what I’m doing here? When I let my affections stir for these things I’m failing to count them as loss. I’m feeling as though I have sacrificed something to be here doing what I’m doing. This is a real problem because in these moments, I’m miscalculating the tradeoff I made. These things are rubbish, says Paul. These things are worthless in comparison to what I got.

In the parable of the treasure in Matthew 13:44, Jesus has this to say: The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and buried. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

The treasure we have in Christ is so infinitely valuable that the man sold everything to go and buy that field – and he did it with joy. He didn’t do it grumbling; he didn’t do it with the pressure of his local church behind him. He didn’t say, “Oh, okay, Lord I will do it.” In his joy he sold everything to get ahold of this.

We have this same treasure in Jesus. Let our businesses, let all the things we left behind, let money and fame, let approval, let control and power all be counted as loss for the surpassing greatness of knowing Jesus Christ as Lord and being known by Him.



What do you need to count as loss today?