First, A Story to Ponder
There were thirteen trumpets in a row on the porch.
The lady came alone. She still had the choice to keep the two small copper coins in her hand. She slowly walked across the Court of the Women. Then she paused close to the colonnade watching certain religious leaders step around and past her to make their offering. She felt pensive but determined. She had so little to give compared to them; she only had . . . everything. She must not be seen, but take care of her mission quickly.
He was watching and knowing. “That poor woman put in more than all the contributors to the treasury,” Jesus said to his band of followers, as he called them closer to himself.
Wealthy religious men such as those who “devour widows’ houses and for appearance’s sake offer long prayers” dropped in their offerings piously, “sounding the trumpet” as their coins hit its bell-shaped opening. The woman’s two copper coins didn’t really make any noise. Copper is not so good at making noise anyway.
But Jesus has made noise about her for two millennia. “For they all put in out of their surplus, but she, out of her poverty, put in all she owned, all she had to live on.”
This story is so compelling to me personally. “It isn’t about the amount on the check, but the balance on the stub” someone wisely said.
On the Move
As CCW Communicator Bryan Elliff leaves for Colombia for ministry very soon, we are aware again of the importance of working diligently to preach the gospel and to teach the Scriptures.
You may think that there is a lot of romance to traveling, but once you’ve done it a while, that part isn’t the appealing thing at all. But those crowded airplanes, sleepless nights, filthy streets, overpopulated dirty cities, stomach problems, strange food, uninviting beds and bathing facilities, strange toilets, and loneliness that are often attending our trips are offset by the kindness and welcome of true believers and the opportunity to share whatever we have learned about Christ. Believe it or not, a certain dread almost always accompanies leaving for a long trip. But we “eat up” the dread for the privilege of sharing Christ, the treasure of our lives.
The World Comes to Us
Remember this also. The world is coming to us and opportunities are abundant to talk with others from the various countries of the world right in our own supermarket. At Pentecost there is an often missed statement by Luke that devout Jews “from every nation under heaven” lived in Jerusalem. This is astounding isn’t it? Likely Luke is referring to the nations list found in the table of nations in Genesis 10, some 80 original nations stemming from Noah. They were all there in one city. So, before the gospel would go out to the nations, God brought the nations in to the disciples. Many of them must have heard the gospel from Peter’s mouth on Pentecost.
Just two days ago, I sat down in Chick-fil-A to study and eat. I often meet people that I mentor there. Next to me was an Eritrean who was eager to talk just as I was about to leave. He saw that I was a believer. He was also, coming from a family who experienced persecution in his native land, one of the worst countries in the world for persecution of Christians. His own family, in fact, experienced that persecution. He shared his story with me and we are now planning on working through some basic understanding about his walk as a believer. He wants to correct his views on baptism, for one thing. I didn’t have to be in Eritrea to do this. God brought him to me.
Both directions are important. God brings them and we go. What a privilege we have to represent Christ to the nations, wherever we meet them. We are planning trips now to various places in the world and across the USA to share the gospel and to train believers. I’m planning to be in Ukraine, for instance. We’ve done it for over 30 years through this ministry God called us to. Please pray that we remain faithful—Steve Burchett, Kole Farney, Bryan Elliff and Jim Elliff.
A Tribute to Ed Knight
I wanted to take a moment to share this photo of one of my favorite men. This is 94-year-old Ed Knight, my wife’s dad, who just passed away. I could say so many wonderful things about him. I took Ed and Doris, his wife, on a ministry trip to Mexico over 30 years ago. They were hooked and began to travel for ministry all over the globe. They have spoken the gospel message, taught English, started churches, been surrogate mom and dad for missionary kids, built buildings and served in so many ways it is impossible to recount them. Because of this, they have friends that love them all over the world. In the next world, there are many greeting him who have been recipients of his kindness. Ed was an amazing contributor and encourager to our work over all the years of our ministry. We will miss him in so many ways, as you can imagine.
Please pray for Doris, who at 90 years of age, took care of Ed to the end as she always has. She has many years of life ahead to serve Christ, and we can be sure she will.
So, I introduce to you one of the best men I’ve ever known.
I hope we can all be as ready to share the gospel as Ed always was.
Yours with Joy,