Four brothers left home for college, and they became successful doctors and lawyers and prospered.
Some years later, they chatted after having dinner together. They discussed the gifts that they were able to give to their elderly mother who lived far away in another city.
The first said, “I had a big house built for Mama.” The second said, “I had a hundred thousand dollar theater built in the house.” The third said, “I had my Mercedes dealer deliver her an SL600.” The fourth said, “Listen to this. You know how Mama loved reading the Bible and you know she can’t read it anymore because she can’t see very well. I met this priest who told me about a parrot that can recite the entire Bible. It took twenty priests 12 years to teach him. I had to pledge to contribute $100,000 a year for twenty years to the church, but it was worth it. Mama just has to name the chapter and verse and the parrot will recite it.” The other brothers were impressed.
After the holidays Mom sent out her Thank You notes. She wrote: “Milton, the house you built is so huge. I live in only one room, but I have to clean the whole house. Thanks anyway.”
“Marvin, I am too old to travel. I stay home; I have my groceries delivered, so I never use the Mercedes. The thought was good. Thanks.”
“Michael, you give me an expensive theater with Dolby sound, it could hold 50 people , but all my friends are dead, I’ve lost my hearing and I’m nearly blind. I’ll never use it. Thank you for the gesture just the same.”
“Dearest Melvin, you were the only son to have the good sense to give a little thought to your gift. The chicken was delicious. Thank you.”
Sometimes I hear things in the “Christian World” or in church planting circles that really bother me.
Today was such a day.
Its no wonder that what Jesus prayed for on the last night before his crucifixion (recorded in John 17) was unity. If we all naturally played on the same team there wouldn’t be any need to pray that we would.
The truth, however, is that we don’t always pull the same way or act responsibly with regard to each other and other churches.
It looks like I’ll be going to Uganda on November 26th for two weeks.
I’ll be going with Sisters Community Church who is headed to Gaba and Kapchorwa in Uganda to put on marriage conferences, work with their partner village and to meet and strategize with Africa Renewal Ministries.
It’ll be a great opportunity for me to see how conferences work (something that Antioch might be involved with in the future), how a village partnership looks years down the road and to sit in on discussions and brainstorming with Pastor Peter Kasirivu who founded Africa Renewal.
Lastly, it’ll give me a chance to work out the details with the Africa Renewal team for Antioch’s upcoming trip in February to Uganda.
“No local church can afford to go without the encouragement and nourishment that will come to it by sending away its best people.” – David Penman
It echoes the mantra that we attached to the name of Antioch… that we would be willing to take the best of what God gives us and give it away.
We developed the saying from the example we see in the original church at Antioch (written about in Acts chapter 13) who took the best of what God had given them — Paul and Barnabas, and gave them away — sending them on mission to help others.
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