We often have no idea of the final results of what we do — what harvest will be gathered from the seeds that we sow. All we can do is continue to sow the seeds in faith, and leave the rest to God. And if that’s true for what we intend to do, how much more so for the things that happen to us, things completely outside of our control. But when we do, at some point in the future, see what God has achieved through us, all we can do is be thankful. Here’s a story that illustrates something of that:
The Church The Bible Built
Many years ago the Rev. Robert Burris, now 92 years of age, worked for four and one-half years as a missionary in South China. As part of his ministry he journeyed into the mountains carrying copies of the Scriptures in Chinese for distribution. In this way, although he could not speak fluent Chinese, the people were given God’s word.
Toward the end of his term Mr. Burris and three companions began a 180-mile journey with 4,000 copies of the Chinese New Testament. In the first ten days about half of these New Testaments had been distributed. Then, in the remote countryside, they were stopped by five armed bandits who took everything — money, clothing, shoes — and the remaining 2,000 copies of the New Testament. Mr. Burris and friends limped home barefooted in their shirts and trousers, glad to be alive.
Approximately 25 years later when Mr. Burris was the pastor of a church in Ohio, he and his wife attended a lecture with slides presented by a missionary to South China. Among the slides shown was a picture of the very place in which he had been robbed by the bandits.”Now,” the missionary said, “we come to the most important slide in my collection.”
“I call it The Miracle Church.” The picture on the screen showed a large rough empty building.”This is The Miracle Church,” the missionary continued, “Because no one knows who started it, or how, every Sunday, 400 people attend, each with a copy of The New Testament in Chinese.”
“No one knows where they got these New Testaments. So far as is known, no missionary or distributor ever went into these mountains which are infested with bandits and robbers. Yet today, the church is there and the people have God’s Word.”
Mr. Burris smiled in gratitude. God’s Word, taken from him that day by bandits had been building it’s own church in China for 25 years.