One of the biggest joystealers that exists in the heart of man is that we feel failure whenever someone rejects our message of Christ. Yet, one of the biggest joy raisers comes when you realize that God will provide the strength to put forth the message, and therefore you find joy regardless of the rejection.
Today, I walked up to a young man who was on his phone. I spoke to him and shook his hand. I asked him if he spoke English. He said no. So, doing the best I could to communicate, I gave him a copy of my testimony in Hungarian, an invitation to a house church/Bible study, and a Hungarian New Testament. Then I waved goodbye. As I walked away, I glanced back and noticed him moving over to a friend, and they were clearly poking fun at the Bible man.
And, honestly, that’s fine.
I spent a good deal of my upbringing craving approval from people I cared about–and even from some who I really didn’t. And, friends, that grows not just tired, but exhausting. Living a life wanting someone’s approval means that you are putting someone else in the place of the Only One who can bestow His favor/grace upon you. Your sun rises and sets on what they think of you. You’re filled with joy when you receive the pat on the back that provides your legitimacy and identify; when you do not receive it, you bottom out.
Growing up, I began to wonder who needed the Good News more–others or myself? I called myself a Christian because I walked an aisle, said a prayer, and got wet. And even as God called me to ministry, He exposed so many idols in my life that I bottomed out again because I began to see myself as I was for the first time. It wasn’t pretty, but it sure was necessary.
Larry, the missionary here in Hungary, gave me a copy of the Bible that I will treasure forever: it’s a copy of the Good News for Modern Man translation in English and Hungarian–the translation from which I preached this past Sunday. He graciously gave me a copy after the service. I sit here staring at the title, and am grateful that the good news isn’t just for the ancient man or the modern man, but for every man. Every woman. For me!
Now I wonder who this missions trip was for? For the Hungarians or for me? Again, it’s was for all of us! I’m thankful for God’s intervening work!