Will He Find Faith on the Earth (05/11/15)
You have to love Jesus’ humour. In Luke 18, He tells the parable of a dishonest and corrupt judge, and a widow who was dependent upon society for support. The parable does not reveal the widow’s problem, her persistence is the lesson that Jesus wants to teach us.
The widow kept coming to the judge and pleading her case of injustice. For some time, the judge refused her request until finally the widow wore him down. Catch the humour with me of this line in the story: “For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care about men, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually wear me out with her coming!’”
I like what Nelson’s New Illustrated Commentary on the Bible says: “Jesus point is that if an insensitive judge will respond to the continual requests of a widow, God will certainly respond to the continual prayers of believers.”
However, Jesus humour turns into a sobering question at the end of the parable: “…when the Son of Man comes, will He find faith on the earth?”
We are living in a day when world events are a challenge to our faith. The threat of ISIS causes us to fear going to the local shopping mall, even in North America. I just spent that last two weeks in Kenya where the Al-Shabab have endeavoured to place the whole country under siege. Cars are searched as you enter mall parking lots. Security guards with metal detectors scan you before you enter a store. Now, because of recent attacks on a university campus in Kenya where one hundred and fifty Christian students lost their lives, churches have been forced to install airport type security at their entrances.
Two Friday’s ago, I attended an all night worship gathering in Nairobi where five thousand young people, and a few adults (like myself), jammed into a church in spite of social media threats of a potential attack that same week. Walking through metal detectors did not keep people away, nor did the threat of attack stifle powerful praise. This begs the question: Will Jesus find faith on the earth when He returns, or will fear and the inconvenience of security checks cause us to camouflage our faith?
As a pastor in Canada, I often preached to my staff and volunteers about the importance of “first impressions” for visitors who came to our church. Now that I have been transplanted in Africa, I find myself asking how many of us would still attend a church where security checks became the new “welcome committee”. Can you imagine the first impression of your car being searched and having to walk through metal detectors at the main entrances of the church?
Jesus question in Luke 18:8 is a sobering one indeed. When Jesus returns for His church, will He find fear or faith? Will He find churches full or half empty? Will He find camouflaged Christians who keep their faith to themselves, or people who are willing to stand up for Jesus even if it means dying for their faith?
Until next Monday…