Take it from someone who once prided himself and what God was doing through the ministry. It is an epidemic among leaders in the church of Jesus Christ. Many without realizing it are making a reputation for themselves and their ministry. No doubt there are many doing wonderful things throughout Christendom but boasting about it is something that somehow does not fit into the teachings of the Kingdom of God.
It took years for God to show this to me but it was too late. With the onslaught of social media I made sure that everyone knew what God was doing through our ministry. Of course, many will not admit it, but let’s face it, a ministry needs funds and social media is a great way of getting the word out and making your ministry a hero in the community. Then add Television, radio, print and marketing venues and what you end up with is a real great reputation for the leader and the ministry that God called them to.
Does this mean that ministries that function in the limelight will not do great deeds? Of course not, but compared to those quiet heroes of faith that understand less is more, and the humble men and women who work daily for Christ under the radar you will look pretty foolish. More important than what others might think, if we really want to believe Jesus, it sounds like these leaders that want to make a reputation for themselves and their ministry will not be the king of the mountain once they get to Heaven. In reality, they will be last and in some cases will completely lose any recognition from Christ for all their efforts.
Now lets look a another “Quiet Hero.”
At 22, Jackie Pullinger wanted to become a missionary, but no society would take her on. So with little money she went on her own to Hong Kong and began a pioneering work among drug addicts and Triad gang members that continues today. It seems insane. Giving up everything you have to go to one of the most dangerous places in the world to show Jesus’ love to criminals, prostitutes and drug addicts. You might at a pinch go for six months or a couple of years. But how about going for the rest of your life?
In 1966, Jackie Pullinger gathered up all the money she had and bought a passage on the cheapest boat to Hong Kong she could find. She only had enough money for a one-way ticket, so there was no turning back. She almost didn’t make it past Hong Kong immigration. But she was eventually allowed in and found a job teaching at a primary school in the Walled City. This was an area where the Hong Kong police had no regular jurisdiction. As a result, it was Hong Kong’s most deprived and dangerous area. Many of its inhabitants could only scratch a living by slaving in sweatshops under appalling conditions. Others became prostitutes or sold drugs. All of them lived in fear of the infamous Triad gangs – even though most of the gang members were just teenagers.
Eventually, she gained the trust of the young men, and they began to believe that she was there to stay, and that she meant what she said – that she really did care for them. She began to see the boys becoming Christians one by one. Many of them were addicts.
“I could walk down the street and see a hundred people chasing the dragon. You had to climb over their legs. I wanted something real to offer them… not just treatment in a centre.”
Despite the power of heroin and opium addiction, the boys weren’t only kicking their habit, they were leaving it behind completely. They put this down to their commitment to Jesus. Many addicts who prayed for Jesus’ help found themselves freed of their addiction without going through any kind of withdrawal. Jackie opened a home for those who needed help and was soon inundated with pleas for help and a place to stay.
Not all of the addicts reformed immediately. Jackie started to realise that becoming a Christian didn’t automatically heal you of your addictions, or immediately reform you after a lifetime in the underworld. But the signs were good.
Several reformed addicts joined Jackie in her work. Ah Ping, a Triad who became a Christian, went on to set up a rehabilitation centre in Macao.
Jackie promised herself very early on that she would never ask for money for her work. But money started flooding in. She quit her school job and was offered monthly payments to support her work. She accompanied one of the boys from her house to court, and sometime later found was sent a large sum of money from the legal aid department, even though Jackie had never asked for legal aid, and tried to send it back.
As Jackie’s work grew, she found herself able to open a second house. By the time a third home was needed, Jackie, with the help of a couple of American missionaries, set up the St Stephen’s Society, which continues its work in Hong Kong and south-east Asia today.
The society has become one of the most successful drug rehabilitation programs in the world, rescuing hundreds of young people from a life of misery on the streets.
These are the quiet heroes of faith that most likely you will never hear or read about.
“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” ~ Philippians 2:3-7