I have pondered over the last few days how visiting the Church in Malawi impacted me. And then it dawned on “me” that this is the whole problem with our western world. We think that it is all about “us”. We don’t necessarily see it but our society is self-absorbed – and in our great comfort (which we are born into). As a society we are blinded by the things of this world… not appreciating that it is all vanity, it all passes eventually, is a memory for a while and then forgotten. Cf. The book of Ecclesiastes!
What seems to restrict us is our “clutter” or our “stuff”. We are so busy… mostly about things that don’t ultimately matter. We just convince ourselves that they do. Jesus put it simply (paraphrased) and advised the smart alternative: “Martha, Martha .. you are anxious and troubled about many things. Mary has chosen the good portion (listening to the simple words of the Gospel), which shall not be taken away from her”.
Yes – there is a super-rapid expansion in Malawi of the Church… but for good reason. Even in my life, I recall that once upon a time in Australia people were more open to the gospel, intrigued about the miraculous and the miracle of speaking in tongues. In less naturally comfortable circumstances, these people in Africa REALLY hunger and thirst after righteousness and the power of God. They are yearning for it. Malawi for me has brought into focus with some clarity that we don’t need to search far for the Lord or the miracle… just drop the sophistication, the questioning, put aside the cynicism, forget the disappointment of denominational “religion” and how it has let the world down by not preaching the full gospel (as opposed to God’s spirit-filled Church) and just realise that the Lord is right there waiting to bless; and as Spirit-filled people we should not think that the Lord is far away. He is the same God in Malawi as He is here – and we would be encouraged to learn from the simplicity of the acceptance of the Word of God in Malawi and humbly follow the example of their zeal for the things of God.
I went to Malawi to work, to contribute what I could in some small way for the Lord, and to learn. I praise the Lord that I received exactly what I asked for…to have a new adventure each day of watching and experiencing the Lord’s miraculous hand in action and interacting with our wonderful, faithful, longsuffering fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. I am so glad I went… and that I understand more that it’s really not about “self” and the here and now at all… but about our ultimate destination: the kingdom of God and “the more exceeding and eternal weight of glory”.
Thanks again to John, Gilbert and all who made this trip possible.