International (NTM) — There’s a passage in Mark 10 where Jesus shares the parable of the Rich Man. It’s about letting go of what’s familiar and free-falling into the Gospel. It reveals what we cherish most. It is about the relationship between a person’s greatest treasure and the self-denial required to follow Jesus.
What follows is directly from a New Tribes Mission blog post, where one Gospel worker came face-to-face with a lesson at the bottom of the ocean:
Little did a missionary know when he started his Bible study early that Monday morning that God was focusing his heart on very specific truth for a very specific reason.
He was studying a characteristic which he knew should be visible in the life of every believer: a heart that is wholly true and undivided toward the Lord.
As he read various passages of Scripture, he began to ask himself: Do I have a heart that is really wholly true and undivided in my devotion to God? And that very morning, he says, “The Lord gave me a practical lesson and test regarding this.” It actually came right after breakfast.
“We received an e-mail with the news that the cargo ship which carried our belongings from the Asia-Pacific region to Germany broke in two because of a storm and sank in the Arabian Sea with its 1,700 containers on board.”
Their permanent residence ministry in the Asia-Pacific region had come to an end for the missionary and his wife. With the ministry leadership of the local church now turned over to three elders, they are headed back to their home in Germany.
He writes, “We left Germany for the Asia-Pacific region 12½ years ago with two bags and two pieces of luggage.” Three weeks ago, he says, they shipped several crates packed with their updated belongings: his library of books in three languages, his study Bibles with years of notes in them, all of the kitchen utensils, their clothes, tools, office contents, and precious pictures and gifts from believers through the years.
Thankfully, all of the crew abandoned ship before it sank and survived. But all of the couple’s possessions are at the bottom of the ocean.
“Obviously,” he says, “this ship accident was meant to be a lesson for us not to put our hearts toward earthly things.” Instead, more than ever, the couple desires to have hearts totally and undividedly focused on the Lord.
“And because of this,” he adds, “it really is a reason to thank God and to be happy.”
He shares 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
It’s much easier to do this, he says, when God teaches you a powerful lesson about having an undivided heart.