Our Hearts are Broken for the People
Last October Lori and I had the pleasure of visiting Vienna for a week. Part of that time we rented an apartment from a gentleman we will call Hans. Hans was a cheerful, enthusiastic business man who kept his apartments and building immaculate. In fact, Vienna as a city is unbelievably clean; there is hardly any litter, the sidewalks and building are kept spotless and people have a well-kept look about them.
Matthew 23.25-28 has strong words against keeping up appearances for appearances sake. (Matthew 23:25-28 in right hand column).
During our stay we had multiple discussions with Hans. These were interesting because he struggled understanding our English due to our “deep Texas accents”. During one of these discussions he figured out we were visiting Vienna as Christian workers. He immediately told us he was a Christian and from that point forward he was much more careful with his words.
When I met with him to complete paying for our stay he asked me into his “office”. We went through the laundry room into a large room that was dominated by two things; a projection TV playing on a screen that was at least 20 feet wide and his desk which was outfitted with an array of the latest technology and decorated with numerous inappropriate travel posters (it was a challenge to position myself in the room with my back to these). It was interesting that he sat at this desk in an easy chair that was designed for a living room.
Because of what I saw in his office that day and through the limited discussions we had with him throughout our time there, it became apparent that Hans had no real understanding of Christianity. Sadly our language limitations kept us from ever really exploring this topic fully with him. We have heard Hans is typical of the people of Austria. They put forth a great appearance on the outside, but are hurting and desolate on the inside. They are like whitewashed tombs full of dead man’s bones.
God has broken our hearts for these people, probably because we see ourselves reflected in who they are. For both Lori and I one of the areas we struggle with in our Christian walk is worshipping the creature rather than the creator by caring more about what others think than what God thinks. When we do that, we are cleaning the outside of the cup so others think well of us while paying no attention to the inside of the cup.
Praise God he has made a way for us to be clean inside and out! Believing the Gospel message of Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone is the start of this process. God then takes us each on a journey conforming us to the image of His Son. We are to strive to be less self-centered by loving God and loving others as ourselves. We will fail… but, we know He will complete the work He has begun in us.
Pray with us for Hans and for the non-believing people of Austria. That God will lift the scales from their eyes so they not only whitewash the tombs, but also see the dead man’s bones. Pray they would understand the Gospel message, accept it and be transformed by it. Pray God would use us in this process.
Pray for us – that God would continue the work of transformation He has begun in our lives.
Lonely Outside - Clean Inside - ?????
We must pass a basic level German test in order to qualify for a residence permit in Austria. We have been taking German classes at Brookhaven Community College this spring and will be traveling to Houston on April 21st to learn more about the test and receive specific study materials.
We will have two opportunities to pass the test in Houston, one in June and one in August. If we do not pass the test on one of those tries we will need to go to Vienna in the fall, immerse ourselves in the language, and take two months of intensive German classes.
Pray God would quicken our minds, we would be diligent in our studies, and we would pass the test by August. You can read more about our German studies at:
25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean. 27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs, which outwardly appear beautiful, but within are full of dead people's bones and all uncleanness. 28 So you also outwardly appear righteous to others, but within you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.