Portraits of faithfulness

In a world of unfaithfulness, what does a faithful gospel worker look like?

Phumezo Masango is a great example.

Phumezo is a good friend of mine and a lecturer at George Whitefield College, the Bible college affiliated with our denomination. He has also been a minister at Christ Church Khayelitsha for many years.

He has faced many challenges serving among many who embrace African Traditional Religions, where the ancestors are venerated and prayed to for help, guidance and protection.

Phumezo and the team at Christ Church Khayelitsha face particular challenges around the practice of circumcision.

They don’t have a problem with circumcision itself, but they do have a problem with the boys being part of rituals that call upon the ancestors.

Young men are converted at the church and serve Jesus alone as Lord.  However, when they are circumcised they are expected to partake in the traditional rituals that call on the ancestors.

Phumezo has faced death threats, threats of kidnapping and violence from angry parents – all while standing firm for the truth about Jesus – doing his best to protect the boys from the spiritually harmful practice.

Faithful gospel workers remain faithful amid hardship, persecution and difficulty.

A second example.

On October 3, 1935, Rowland Bingham, the founder of the Sudan Interior Mission (now Serving in Mission – SIM), heard on the radio that Mussolini, the Italian Dictator, had ordered his troops to invade Ethiopia. SIM had missionaries serving in Ethiopia.

The United States and British governments had ordered all their citizens in Ethiopia to evacuate immediately and the SIM supervisor wanted to know what to tell the eighty SIM workers in the country.

Rowland was well aware that if the SIM doctors and nurses left the country, there would be an even greater tragedy. Yet, these men and women would be in great danger if they stayed.

After much prayer, Rowland sent the following telegram:

“You are under higher orders than those of the King of England or the President of the United States. Get your instructions from Him and we are right with you.”

Word soon came back that all the SIM missionaries decided to remain with the Ethiopian people, no matter what it cost them.

There are times when it’s wise for missionaries to leave their mission field. There are many times when missionaries are forced to leave the mission field.

But what a great example of faithfulness amid hardship and difficulty.

The last portrait of faithfulness is the Apostle Paul.

On death row in a Roman dungeon, after many years of ministry, he could write:

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (2 Timothy 4:7)

Paul had persevered in serving Jesus amid great hardship, death threats, physical violence, betrayal, false teaching and persecution.

Well done if you are serving Jesus faithfully.  It’s infinitely worth it.

If you’re waiting for conditions or circumstances to improve before you start serving Jesus faithfully or being faithful in ministry, the Apostle Paul would say that you have the wrong view.

Ask God to help you. Start being faithful to Jesus today.