-Wir sein pettler. Hoc est verum.--"We are beggars. This is true."--Martin Luther-

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Power of a Simple Message...

Some time ago, while skimming through a selection of books at a book sale at my school, I came upon an old dusty little book called The Stewardship Life. While certainly a solid Lutheran portrayal of stewardship and sanctification, I was especially drawn to a story Karl Kretzschmar relates of an area in India and the mission work that occurred there. This would have been late nineteenth century, I assume.

I am always awe-struck when I hear of the power of the gospel as it touches hearts and brings forth a new creation. It is amazing to think that the same gospel that knocked Paul off his horse and changed his entire life in first century Palestine, is the same gospel that was at work in nineteenth century India, is the same gospel at work in twenty-first century America.

I hope you find this story as inspirational as I have.

"Fifty years ago," said a high-caste, influential Hindu, recently converted, "the British soldiers came into this province and took possession of everything. They made new laws and demanded prompt obedience. They taxed us so heavily and punished every offense without mercy. But they did not succeed in breaking the spirit of the people. We hated our conquerors, and the harder their rule became, the more determined were we to resist it. This went on for twenty years.

"Then one day came a missionary with a Bible. He was a white man, too, and a foreigner, and we treated him with contempt. He was friendly when we were rude; he smiled when we sneered. He made his home among us and began to talk to us every day and to teach us in spite of ourselves. Soon a number of helpers came to assist him. They gathered our children into schools and even spoke to our women. In a few years a change came upon our villages. We all saw that some new power had begun to work in the hearts of our people. I cannot relate to you everything that happened; you can see with your own eyes that the Christian God now rules among us. It is all too wonderful to understand. What the laws and arms of the mighty could not do has been brought about simply and quietly through the Gospel of the love of God in Jesus Christ. It has made me a new man."

-Recorded in Karl Kretzschmar's The Stewardship Life (St. Louis: Concordia Publishing House, 1929), 68-69.

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