In America, a sharp-looking businessman stands up at a luncheon to give his testimony: “Before I knew Christ, I had nothing. My business was in bankruptcy, my health was ruined, I’d lost the respect of the community, and I’d almost lost my family. Then I accepted Christ. He took me out of bankruptcy and now my business has tripled its profits. My blood pressure has dropped to normal and I feel better than I’ve felt in years. Best of all, my wife and children have come back, and we’re a family again. God is good – praise the Lord!”
In China, a disheveled former university professor gives his testimony: “Before I met Christ, I had everything. I made a large salary, lived in a nice house, enjoyed good health, was highly respected for my credentials and profession, and had a good marriage and a beautiful son. Then I accepted Christ as my Savior and Lord. As a result, I lost my post at the university, lost my beautiful house and car, and spent five years in prison. Now I work for a subsistence wage at a factory. I live with pain in my neck, which was broken in prison. My wife rejected me because of my conversion. She took my son away and I haven’t seen him for ten years. But God is good, and I praise Him for His faithfulness.”
Both men are sincere Christians. One gives thanks beacause of what he’s gained. The other gives thanks in spite of what he’s lost.
Material blessings and restored families are defintely worth being thankful for. The brother in China would be grateful to have them again; indeed, he gives heartfelt thanks each day for the little he does have. And while the American brother is certainly right to give thanks, he and the rest of us must be careful to sort out how much of what he has experienced is part of the gospel and how much is not. For any gospel that is more true in America than in China is not the true gospel.
(Randy Alcorn, Money, Possessions and Eternity, p. 89-90)