‘A donkey for Jesus’
Volunteer discovers how ‘creation ministry’ is really for everyone
2 February 2004
Gary Bates, head of ministry development at CMI–Australia, received a striking email from Alex Williams, a long-time volunteer, who helped at the just-ended family SuperCamp in Sydney, Australia. We were moved by the attached document sharing his thoughts on the real creation/gospel ministry, which showed remarkable insight.
I was inspired by a comment you made during the conference about asking folk to ‘join us in the ministry’. This made me think about just what the ministry is. Up until then I had assumed that the ministry was the speakers and videos and the [volunteer Friends of CMI group] members were there to help those speakers (live or on video) who were ‘doing the ministry’. But you made me realize that it is the resources that are the main thing, and the ministry is getting the resources into the hands of people so that they can ‘read, mark, learn and inwardly digest’ them. It takes time to re-program your thinking, and it is the resources viewed and read at home that does most of the work. As mentioned, we should be motivating people to get hold of the resources and rebuild their thinking into a biblical worldview.
Consequently I wrote the attached article along these lines, to help people see how ‘getting the resources out’ fits into God’s plan of salvation, and inviting them to ‘join us in the ministry’.
We decided to present the document essentially as Alex wrote, from his heart.
Where’s the battle?
Modern warfare is not like ancient warfare. In the old days, armies would line up facing each other, the weapons were obvious tools of war such as swords, spears and guns, and the soldiers on both sides would fight unto victory, death or defeat. But in these days of terror, the enemy can be anywhere, the weapons can be ordinary items of commerce, and you don’t know where, when or how they will strike. The spiritual battle that Christians face today is the same. The enemy is often right in our midst, the weapons are the ordinary things of life, the attacks can come in the most unexpected places, and the victims may not even exhibit any external symptoms of their inner wounding or capture. And before you know it, the enemy has stolen hearts, minds, institutions and nations.
So where is our battle going on?
The battle is raging in our families, schools, churches, universities and governments—and yes, even in our own hearts. And what are we fighting over? We are not fighting for land or resources, we are fighting for the souls of mankind! The devil won the first round in this battle back in the Garden of Eden. He won over the whole of mankind in one fell swoop. Ever since then, God has been winning souls back again. In order to effectively join into this battle, we must therefore understand God’s method of soul winning.
In 2 Thessalonians 2:13 St Paul said, ‘God chose you from the beginning to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.’ Our salvation begins with God’s choice to save us, it continues via the inner work of the Spirit in our hearts, and it comes to fruition when we confess faith in His truth. The first two steps are the sovereign work of God, but the third step is where we come in—we can join the battle for souls by preaching God’s Word. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17). However, there are a number of stumbling blocks that people encounter in this process, and to be effective we need to be able to help people over these obstacles.
Obstacles to faith
Jesus’ parable of the sower (or soils) illustrates three of these obstacles (Matthew 13:3-23). The first is that people do not understand the Word that is preached, so the devil snatches it away and they are lost. Much of the Christian message today is couched in Christian cultural terms that the secular world does not understand. The great power of the creation ministry is that it can present the eternal truths about God and man in a way that people can understand. Darwin snatched away the great witness of the creation to the Creator, and we today can restore it to its rightful place as a primary evidence of God’s existence, but marred by the Curse upon man’s sin. A created world corrupted by sin explains what we see around us much better than the evolutionary model of order emerging out of chaos.
The second obstacle is shallowness. A persuasive preacher can gain many converts, but in the cut and thrust of the daily grind it is easy to lose sight of an emotional response to an inspiring message. The great power of the creation ministry is that we go right to the foundations of faith and life and the universe. By rebuilding the way people think onto the right foundation (six-day recent creation and Jesus as Lord of history), we can produce believers that endure.
The third obstacle is distraction. Christ provides a marvelous salvation for the soul, but family and work life can draw away our attention to more urgent things, and the lure of riches can consume our energies and resources. Such weeds can grow up and choke the fruitfulness of the Word. The great power of the creation ministry is that it reveals Christ not just as the Saviour of souls, but as the Creator and Sustainer of all things, the Lord of history and the coming Judge. This magnificent revelation has power to grip the attention of believers in such a way that it frames and shapes their priorities.
The Apostle Paul summarized his approach to this battle in 2 Corinthians 10:3–5:
‘For though we live in the world we are not carrying on a worldly war, for the weapons of our warfare are not worldly but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every proud obstacle to the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.’
Who are the soldiers?
The battle is to make the Word understandable in terms of the marvels of creation and the curse of sin, to rebuild people’s thinking upon the creation foundation and to exalt Christ as Creator, Sustainer, Saviour, Lord of history and coming Judge. Therefore, the soldiers are those who produce the resources, who carry the boxes, send out the mail, answer the critics, speak at venues, pray for the ministry, support the ministry with labour and finances, and share the materials with their friends and family. Anything you do that gets these materials into the hands of people who need to hear the message makes you a soldier in this battle.
Some years ago in India, my wife and I met a victim of a flash flood that had swept away his home, wife and three children. He survived because he sheltered in a tree for three days. Afterwards, the shock and grief drove him insane. Before finding shelter in the tree, however, he had been part of a remarkable rescue operation. He was a Christian schoolteacher and was at an after-hours sports training session at his Hindu boys’ school when the flood came. By swimming and carrying them, he managed to save 35 boys by getting them up onto the roof of the school. After all the boys were safe, he then swam to his own house nearby—to find it had disappeared under the floodwaters. Only then did he seek shelter in the tree.
When we met him, he had recovered his sanity, and he had walked almost a thousand kilometres to go and study at the feet of a famous Christian teacher in Madras, another eight hundred kilometres to the south. He had only a shoulder bag with him. After telling us his story he praised God that his wife and children were safe in heaven and that he had been counted worthy to be ‘a donkey for Jesus’—carrying those 35 Hindu boys to safety—boys who had yet to learn about Jesus.
Friends, if you too would like to be ‘a donkey for Jesus’ carrying his message to those who need to hear it, then we would love you to join us in this ministry. Share the magazines, books, DVDs, etc. with your family and friends. Pray for us. Support us financially and/or with volunteer labour. There are already many names written in heaven because of this ministry and you could well be a means to many more.