“I know what you are doing: you have a name for being alive, but you are dead” (Revelation 3:1b)
Why do we even care if we have a name if the reality is that we are just big fakes? This is a really serious question which pokes and probes in and around the area we don’t like anyone to access; our heart and it’s motives.
Again, as with the church in Thyatira, Jesus is not backwards in coming forwards. His desire is to unearth the heart and see his people transformed from the inside out so that his Father would be glorified and his name would be praised in Sardis, the Mediterranean and the ends of the earth. However, the sad reality which he finds in this community is that the message they once received has become a distant memory, leading most of them to unfruitful living in the sight of God.
Do you not find it interesting that we are not told any specifics about moral or ethical avenues which caused this unfruitfulness? Sometimes we can chase about trying to find the cause when the answer is staring us straight in the face. This was a group of people who just didn’t listen to the Lord of the church. Their persistence in not listening to Jesus had led them to deaths door, oblivious to the fact that they were pressing the buzzer.
Now let’s root this in our situation. Are we truly attentive people, listening to the word of the Lord? The reality is that among the OMF community the answer to this (we would hope) is yes. But what does attentiveness mean for us as a team seeking to see God glorified among all of the nations?
There are obvious examples such as listening to God’s word and continuing in prayer for East Asia’s peoples, our nation and the church. Can I suggest that we also need to be attentive to where we find ourselves in the story of God’s growing kingdom. What God has been doing throughout his world is remarkable and the global picture of the church is radically different when compared to the middle of the 20thcentury. Let’s not be people who forget what God has done. Equally, let’s not forget what God is doing now and the new age of mission we find ourselves in. Perhaps we could be asking this question; “what is mission among East Asia’s peoples going to look like in the next 20 years and in this new environment who are the people who have the gifts to act as conduits of the gospel?”
It is crucial at this juncture in the mission of God that we don’t follow the path of Sardis. We cannot be people who rest on what happened in the past or be content with having a name as individuals or as a group in the present. Our calling is to be a people on the move with the Lord of the church concerned only that his name is glorified.