A word from Curt
Today is a travel day Up Country.
Upcountry is that part of Uganda above the Nile River.
It’s Wild. Open. Rustic. Beautiful. Frustrating.
Pray for Charlie, Shane, and me as we travel.
I can’t wait to show Shane Wilber this spot on the road north.
David Platt is the new leader of our organization, the International Mission Board.
Platt, who is best known for his challenging book, Radical, recently attended a meeting Germany. His words below are worth repeating about the Great Reformer, Martin Luther:
All of this leads me to the main thing I want to share with you. When I was in Germany last week, I had an opportunity with some of our leaders to visit Wartburg Castle, the place where Martin Luther was taken for protection after he testified at the Diet of Worms, and also the place where he translated the NT into German.
As I considered the immeasurable influence this one man had (and still has today) on the world for the glory of our Father, I was reminded of a quote I once read from him when he was asked how he played such a pivotal role in bringing about such massive reformation. Luther’s response was classic.
He said, “I simply taught…and wrote [the] Word; otherwise I did nothing. And then, while I slept, or drank Wittenberg beer with my Philip (Melanchton) and my Amsdorf (Nicholas von), the word so greatly weakened the papacy that never a prince or emperor did such damage to it. I did nothing. The Word did it all.”
Aren’t you struck by the simplicity of that statement? When Luther was asked how he brought about reformation, he simply said, “I read and taught the Word, slept, drank beer, and the Word did all the work.”
Now let me be clear: this is not my attempt to advocate a new alcohol policy! But it is my attempt to remind us that the Word of our Father is powerful, and to encourage us to arrange our lives and leadership in such a way that we depend on His Word to do the work. That way, when anything good happens through us, it will be clear: it wasn’t us who brought about this good; it was His Word that did the work.
As I thought about Luther’s dependence on the Word, I was reminded of George Muller in a similar way when it comes to intercession. When I first read Muller’s biography, I recall being struck in a similar way to how I felt when I read Luther’s comments. Many of you know that Muller cared for thousands upon thousands of orphans, and he did so by never publicizing (or allowing any of those around him to publicize) the need for financial resources. Instead, Muller set up his organization to revolve around dependence on the Father through intercession. I was overwhelmed when I first read his biography and heard Muller describe the reason why he started the orphanage.
He wrote in his journal, “If I, a poor man, simply by [intercession] and [belief], obtained, without asking any individual, the means for establishing and carrying on an Orphan-House: there would be something which, with the [Father’s] blessing, might be instrumental in strengthening the [belief] of the children of [the Father] besides being a testimony to the consciences of the [lost], of the reality of the things of [the Father}. This, then, was the primary reason, for establishing the Orphan-House…The first and primary object of the work was, (and still is) that [the Father] might be magnified by the fact, that the orphans under my care are provided, with all they need, only by [intercession] and [belief], without any one being asked by me or my fellow-laborers, whereby it may be seen, that [the Father] is faithful still, and hears [intercession] still.” (That quote is a bit hard to securitize, but I think you get the point!)
In other words, Muller said that the primary purpose for starting an Orphan House was not to care for orphans. Instead, his primary purpose was to design an organization that would be a clear testimony to all that the Father is faithful to answer the cries of His children.
As I have thought about Luther on the Word and Muller on intercession, I have been challenged in the way I think about our organization. I want us to have immeasurable influence in the world for the glory of our Father. I want us to make the good news known directly and indirectly to millions of people who have not yet been reached by it. But I want us to do all of this in such a way that it’s clear to everyone that His Word did all the work, and all of this happened only because the men and women of the Father in our worldwide family were desperately dependent on His power in intercession.
So worldwide family, let’s set up our lives and leadership so that this commentary might mark us. Let’s hold fast to His Word in everything we do, and let’s speak it boldly wherever we go. And as we do, let’s all fast and intercede (each and every one of us pleading before the Father to do what only He can do!) that indeed we might have immeasurable influence for the spread of His good news.
Learn more at Platt’s Radical Together website as well as www.imb.org