I recently finished the move Safely Home by Randy Alcorn, an incredible novel that chronicles the stories of two former Harvard University roommates and best friends. One a successful American businessman, the other a former professor no Christian in China, this novel follows them as Ben (the American) makes a trip to visit Quran (his old roommate) in China on behalf of his company. Ben soon realizes that Quan is not a successful and esteemed professor as he though he would be. Instead, he discovers that Quan has reclaimed the faith of his fathers and lives humbly as “The Best Locksmith in all of China.”
First, let me tell you that this book is an absolute must. Next to the Bible, this is the one book that I would recommend to anyone no matter who or where they are. Because 1) the arguments for Christianity are so logical and so profoundly impactful that it will blow your mind, 2) it provides an accurate picture of what the Church in China actually ensures – as opposed to what the Chinese government wishes us to see, and 3) throughout the story, Alcorn paints scenes of heaven and though it is little more than Biblical speculation it is incredibly profound. It was in those scenes – where I read of the Father’s love for His children and saw how He wept for those who were crushed and abandoned in the eyes of the world – it impacted me so deeply. And that’s what I really wanna y’all about here.
The epilogue of this book depicts the King finally declaring that He will “no longer” delay His judgment on the wicked and His salvation for His servants. We see Him cut down His enemies, the serpent, and his minions. We see Him and His armies of angels pull every suffering servant into their saddles to be caught away to the truer world.
And let me tell you. I have never been so impacted by a work of fiction.
And when I set that book down – after reading of how the Christians in China and other countries still suffer and how the heart of the Lord Kong’s to be with His children – the first thought that came to my mind was: “I’m done wasting my time.”
For years, my mind has been scattered and all over the place trying to figure out what I wanted to do with my life and where I wanted to go. I’ve been caught up in my dreams and my plans and my struggles and my talents. And I can’t help but feel like I’ve wasted all this time going back and forth with myself. And I’m done with it. I’m done having my focus and my energy and my time being torn in a thousand directions.
From now on, the one singular thought that must go through my mind is: Lord, what can I do today to most please You?
Guys, it’s all about Him. Everything – and I mean everything that we do and own and strive after in this world – will amount to nothing in the next world.
There are people being slaughtered for their faith in places like China, Sudan, Bangladesh, Iran, and hundreds of other countries. There are people who own nothing in this world except a few scattered pages of Scripture… and yet their faith is probably stronger and steadier than that of most American Christians’.
I realized while reading Safely Home that the American Church is pretty weak. I know, that’s mean to say. Don’t get me wrong, though. I love the Church. I am passionate about the Church. But I have been recognizing more and more how desperately, desperately weak the Church in America is. We have Christians in America who can’t manage to dedicate a few hours of their week to their local church while Christians in China are facing obscene criminal charges and sneaking through the mountains in the middle of the night every week just to be able to gather with other believers and pray, worship, and study the Word. Come on, guys… am I the o my one here who sees how sad that is?
But I can’t control the American Church. As much as I want to grab people by the shoulders and shake them and tell them to wake up, I can’t force them to start seeing things from an eternally-minded perspective. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m done wasting my time on things that won’t matter in the long run.
It’s time for me and for you and for the Church all over the world to take our time on earth seriously. Do we even realize how brief and fleeting our > 100 years on this planet is? And that’s only if we manage to avoid accidents, sickness, or disease. I’m almost a quarter-of-a-century already. Many of you may be older. Some younger. But we all have only a designated time on this planet. And after that? Our lives will be weighed by how we lived before the Lord. Some Christians will barely make it into heaven. Everything they committed their earthly lives to will be consumed before the Lord because it will be considered worthless in eternity. It will only be by the grace of God that they manage to make it to heaven. But that’s not the kind of man I want to be. I don’t want to barely get there. I want to live my life so fully devoted to the presence of Jesus that when I stand before Him I hear, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
That’s all I want. I just want Jesus. In this life… and in the next. So… you can have all this world, but give me Jesus.