Finding little treasures

Last night I was plugging away at my obscure book stack. This is an odd assortment of books I need to put on-line for sale, but which are not straightforward and require more research than normal. These tend to get set aside to deal with later. Well, it's later and I'm dealing with them; and that's not really the point anyway. The point is, people leave things in books. I've got quite a collection of odd little bits I've found in books, which I don't really have the heart to throw away - a strange little treasure trove. Last night I pulled out a book that I know has been sitting for over a year waiting to be put online. The book once belonged to a Quaker minister, now deceased. That much I know. Inside was a clipping. Here's what it said:

WE ARE NOT OUR OWN
Rev. C.E. Carlson
Missionary, Church of the United Brethren

"What attracted me to Christianity," said an African pastor to me, "was seeing one of your missionaries, a person of different race and from another country, washing and dressing those awful ulcers which our people have and which we refuse to touch."

The man who knows himself to be reconciled to God through the death of Christ knows also that he is no longer his own, for he has been bought with a price. And to him there are no longer Europeans, Asiatics, Africans, South Sea Islanders - they are all men for whom Christ died. With that knowledge in his heart, and constrained by the love of Christ, only one thing remains for him to do: to find ways and means of acquainting men with the wonderful news that "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not inputing their trespasses unto them." (II Cor. 5:20)

Doctrinal differences aside, his point is well-taken. He's speaking of the mission field, but every one of us who is a true Christian is a missionary wherever God has placed us. Ever since I've been a Christian I've been a bit troubled by our tendency to avoid our very own brothers and sisters in Christ who are sick, or even in deep emotional pain. I understand the desire to avoid getting sick oneself (and I'm not recommending taking your cough & raging fever with you to church on a Sunday morning to get comfort), but if we view our own brethren in the faith, who could really use our help and comfort as potential contagions and sources of discomfort to us, what does that say about us? One of the stories that impressed me most from the life of John Calvin was that when the plague visited his community and he was asked to leave, for his own safety, he refused, because the place of suffering was where he was most needed. Jesus touched the lepers, the unclean. We are his body. Let us be willing to do the same.

Comments

barrywallace said…
Thanks, Laurie. Although that was pretty convicting, I needed to hear it. I'm a little neurotic sometimes about germs. Where's my faith?
Lynn Cross said…
That reminds me of Mother Teresa for some reason. I know she washed her share of "ulcers." Where can I go to do the same? I will tell you when I find them. Lynn
Andy C said…
You bring up a great point about serving in Christ as Christ would. It is not easy for me, as I am sure it isn't for others to model Jesus in this area as well as we know we should. It takes faith, obedience and His love to do so.

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