And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of
other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful (Mark 4:19).
It is a barrier that has existed for many years. It has
been the focus of prayer warriors, pastors, missionaries and churches. And it was an event
we applauded to see it brought down. It was the iron curtain of the former Soviet
The Christian world has been moved with compassion over the years to help bring
Christianity to a nation who had renounced Christianity. Many men and women put their very
lives on the line to take the Gospel into Russia, knowing that it could cause them to lose
much. Nevertheless, they chose to take the risk, believing that the Gospel of Christ could
indeed bring many to a saving knowledge of Jesus. For those who sought to carry the Good
News to that particular corner of the earth, there was nothing that was too great a cost.
And when the iron curtain fell, we rejoiced and thanked God that we would now have the
freedom to carry the Gospel more freely to the former Soviet Union.
But what else has been the result of the so called, "fall" of Communism in
Russia? A statement I heard from one Russian young man claimed that the presentation of
the Gospel had become even more difficult in some respects. For he said it seemed that the
materialism of so many was so much worse than Atheism had ever been.
It seems that the lowering of the iron curtain let a lot more in than missionaries with
the message of Christ, it also let in our western culture's obsession with want for
things. Perhaps it would be unrealistic to think that you could allow the good without
also making way for the bad. For it has been so with most everything. But may God forgive
us if the messages of Christ and Capitalism came from the same source.
We might stop for a moment to question, "What do the other nations see in the church
of the United States?" Do they see a bundle of contradictions or mixed messages?
Let's hope not. But what have we brought to them? The Gospel of Christ? Free commerce? Or
perhaps we can find in the lives of most Christians a mixture of both. Perhaps we have
learned how to balance our want for things with our want to be righteous, and have taken
comfort in that we believe that we can have the best of both worlds.
But what shall we see happen to our fellow Christians in places such as the former Soviet
Union if we demonstrate a lifestyle wherein we believe we can have the best of both
worlds? Will we not become a stumbling block to the world? Have we become that already?
Will we ever truly give up our desires and wants of this life so that we can see the world
come to Christ? May it be so by the strength of our Lord.