By: Doug Beacham
I am grateful that the IPHC is so deeply committed to serving the poorest peoples and nations of the world. Through the various avenues of World Missions Ministries, we are sharing Good News through word, deed, and presence. We stand with thousands from various Christian communions who pray for, give to, and go to our brothers and sisters in Christ who live in those nations.
Yes, we lament the local and global policies, corruption, and cynicism that keeps so many of these nations in economic and spiritual slavery. But as followers of Jesus, we find ways to bless them; we do not curse them.
Haiti, El Salvador, South Sudan, and Democratic Republic of Congo are among the poorest nations on earth. You can view a list of the 30 poorest nations at http://www.businessinsider.com/the-25-poorest-countries-in-the-world-2017-3.
Like some of you, I’ve had the privilege, and yes, I said it that way, it’s a privilege to visit our fellow believers in those nations. We eat together, listen together, pray together, and worship together. It’s also a privilege to welcome them to our shores in Christ’s name when they arrive as visitors, refugees, and immigrants.
Yes, there are nations with abominable social, political, and economic policies that keep them in such bondage. The United States and the other “developed” nations have our own abominations and bondages. That’s the way of the spirit of the world: some nations are exposed in their darkness; other nations use distractions to masquerade their darkness.
But as followers of Jesus, we are in this world as representatives of another Spirit, another Kingdom, another King. Our King says, “Come unto Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). Our King says, “Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me” (Matt. 25:40).
The apostle Paul, recognizing the global and cosmic dimensions of the Gospel, reminded the Ephesian believers that their purpose was to live in such a way that “that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places” (Ephesians 3:10).
The power of that witness is manifested in the various forms of reconciliation accomplished and initiated in the death, resurrection, ascension of Christ, and sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. First, there is the reconciliation of lost humanity to its Loving Creator. Second, as Ephesians 3 witnesses, it is revealed in the unity of Jew and Gentile in the faith, being in the church the first-fruits of ethnic reconciliation. That power continues to be manifested in each generation as the global work of reconciliation continues between races, between male and female, between poor and rich, between weak and powerful.
Nations and their leaders make their declarations. Sometimes their words are wise; sometimes their words are foolish. It is our task as citizens of the Kingdom of God, to declare and make manifest God’s Good News in deeds and words to “the ends of the earth” (Isaiah 45:22; 49:6; Acts 13:47).