Oct 11, 2011

Have You Said Your Prayers Today

One of the most disturbing short stories I have ever read was Matéo Falconé by the French dramatist, Prosper Mérimée.  It was a required reading in my 8th grade literature class.  It is a story about a young boy, Matéo, who hides his uncle who is escaping from the police.  When the police arrive at the house, Matéo refuses to give up the uncle until he is bribed with a gold watch.  When the young boy’s father arrives home he discovers what Matéo has done.  Since family honor is the most prized value of that society, Matéo is cast out of the household.

When we lived in Denver, we were very blessed by the house next door.  It was owned by a coalition of Baptist churches.  The purpose of the house was to provide a home for missionaries who were back in the United States on furlough.  We made many friends and heard many stories about work on the mission field.

One missionary had worked for years in a village south of the Sahara Desert.  I remember asking him the most difficult aspect of living in the Sahara.  I assumed that he would reply “the heat, silly”, but that wasn’t his answer.  He replied that the hardest part of working on the missionary field was living in a culture that didn’t have a Christian foundation.  In his village, the highest cultural value was being sneaky and getting away with it. In other words, it was acceptable to steal as long as you weren’t caught.

In our society, we value the constitution and the rule of law.  Since our laws are based in the Ten Commandments, we see justice in obeying them.  But what if the law was corrupt?  What if true justice was not carried out?  Throughout history the rich have bribed the justice system to oppress the poor.  It is a common theme in the Old Testament.  If the law is corrupt, then the only source of stability lies within the family.  And when that trust is betrayed, you end up with a situation like Matéo Falconé.

The world is a very dangerous place.  We are so blessed to live in a society with a strong justice system.  But that isn’t the case in most of the world.  I pray for missionaries who leave here and work in places where the culture is the enemy.

I believe the only source of comfort would be in knowing that at the end of time, Jesus will return with all righteousness and will judge all nations and all people.  He will judge harshly those who abused the system for personal gain. But He will extend mercy to those who extend mercy.  And that applies to His Bride, the church, who sends missionaries into the enemy camp.


Pastor David Hook

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