Saturday, October 31, 2009

What is the price of Costly Stones?

The following is a great editorial written by John Wilson, the Executive Director of our Australian sister mission in their October newsletter. I love the perspective on the persecuted church that John comes from and his editorials are must reading for me when I receive our copy of VOM-Australia’s newsletter each month.  If you live in Australia, I would really encourage you to subscribe to their monthly newsletter. 

When King Solomon sat on the throne after David his father had died, one of his first decrees was to restore the temple of God. He would commission 210,000 workers to build a magnificent temple that would take just seven years to construct. At great cost, he acquired the best materials available and built a temple to glorify the God of Israel.

Apart from using the magnificent cedars of Lebanon, he also sought after stones that would be used for laying the foundation as well as the building itself. What caught my attention as I read this passage in 1 Kings 5: 17, was that these stones were described as “costly stones”. Solomon laid the foundations of the temple with these “costly stones” even though they would never be seen. This spoke to me of the way we should work for God. We shouldn’t work for the sake of appearance only, but we need to excel in the deep and hidden things. Spurgeon made an interesting statement about this line of thought.

“We have been the subjects of a great deal of secret, unseen, underground work. The LORD has spent upon us a world of care. My brother, you would not like to unveil those great searchings of heart of which you have been the subject. You have been honoured in public; and, if so, you have had many a whipping behind the door lest you should glory in your flesh . . . All those chastenings, humblings, and searchings of heart have been a private laying of foundations for higher things.”

He continued to say, “I want, dear friends, to urge that all our work for God should be done thoroughly, and especially that part of it which lies lowest, and is least observed of men.”

This is the way in which I believe we should work for God. It is in this manner that God will build His church, establishing a deep and strong foundation that is found in Christ alone and from which the church will grow.

Many persecuted believers who fill the underground churches within restricted nations, have also laid their foundation of faith with these “costly stones”. Presently there are 52 countries now listed as hostile toward Christianity. But throughout all the torment, intimidation and imprisonment that the underground church faces, they still survive.

Foxe: Voices of the Martyrs History has told us clearly that the underground church has for thousands of years, endured persecution. Countless believers have been martyred for their faith and their stories have been recorded in books like Foxe: Voices of the Martyrs – but many unknown and faithful followers of Christ have not had their story told. Their names however, have been recorded in another book – the Lamb’s Book of Life for eternity and are known by their loving Saviour. These believers have themselves become “costly stones” and today the challenge for us is – can we hear their voices? The horror and brutal persecution of our fellow Christians must be told to the world today. We dare not turn a deaf ear to their cries, but respond willingly, and intercede for them before the great Shepherd of love because He always hears the cry of the oppressed.

Will you join us to support these faithful believers and become part of the “costly stones” cemented together to build a sure and strong foundation as we tell others of their powerful testimonies?

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