Yesterday, I felt as if I had time traveled to the year A.D. 51 to the time of the apostle Paul. For, I was given a peek into the past and was able to see a heart just as his.
I am on staff at our local church, and during our staff meeting, a fellow staff member was sharing a little bit about his recent mission trip to Mexico.
We had church in that meeting.
We rejoiced with our brother over the salvation of a man whom we had been praying for. The man’s name was Polo. This was a man that Steven, my fellow staff member, had met on a prior trip to Mexico the year before. Last year, a seed for the gospel was planted in Polo. Then, there was the opportunity to pray over that seed for a year, to see that seed burst forth and take root in that man as a disciple of Christ. Polo surrendered his life to Jesus while Steven sat right next to him in an embrace. (The picture of this scene is priceless.)
We had tears of joy as the story was recounted. What happened next was my peek into the past. You see, my brother’s heart was already longing to go back. Already longing to be back with Polo, and others there, who are literally thirsty to know more and more of the saving grace of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Steven’s words reminded me of Paul’s words to the Thessalonians. Paul had been on a mission trip to Thessalonica, people there became disciples of Christ through Paul’s teachings (and the awesome saving power of the Holy Spirit), and then Paul suddenly had to leave. After Paul’s parting, he LONGED to be back with them. His heart was literally breaking for them. Since he was unable to make the journey to them, he wrote a letter instead, which became the book of the Bible known as First Thessalonians.
Our Sunday School class has just finished studying this book, but it was yesterday that this book came alive for me, as I had my peek into the past.
Check out some of the message Paul wrote:
“…just as we have been approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel, so we speak, not as pleasing men, but God who examines our hearts. For we never came with flattering speech, as you know, nor with a pretext for greed–God is witness–nor did we seek glory form men, either from you or from others, even though as apostles of Christ we might have asserted our authority. But we proved to be gentle among you, as a nursing mother tenderly cares for her own children. Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.
…But, we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short while–in person, not in spirit–were all the more eager with great desire to see your face…
…for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord. For what thanks can we render to God for you in return for all the joy with which we rejoice before our God on your account, as we night and day keep praying most earnestly that we may see your face, and may complete what is lacking in your faith?”
1 Thessalonians 2:4-8,17,3:8-10, emphasis mine
I promise you, I’m sure that the people surrounding Paul while his heart was breaking, longing to be back with the Thessalonians, felt the same way that I felt yesterday hearing Steven longing to be back in Mexico.
It’s awesome when you can see a message from the Bible leap right off the pages and into your life. The phrase that has been on my mind over and over since yesterday is, “Lord break my heart for what breaks yours.” For when our heart breaks for the unbelievers around us, we can change the world. More correctly, we can change THEIR world, their lives, by introducing them to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, who is worthy of all our praise, all our lives, all our time, all our efforts; worthy of ALL WE HAVE, for all we have comes from Him alone anyways, right?
Lord, break our hearts.