A few years ago we were in the city of Warsaw, Poland for a conference. Missionary Ray Nicholls was kind enough to show us the sights and share his knowledge of city and people.
One place pointed out to us was a tall, ornate building called the Palace of Culture. We were told that it is the most hated building in the city. Communist dictator Joseph Stalin had used it as his residence, and it is a sight that reminds people of horrible memories of days under communist rule. Many of their relatives suffered and died to regain their freedom.
If you ask, “What is the most beautiful site in the city?” they might answer, “From the top of the Palace of Culture – because if you are standing there looking out, you are not looking toward the building.” We asked, “Why don’t they just tear it down?” The answer was, “Because we never want our children and future generations to forget what can happen if they are not diligent. Neither do we want them to forget what a price has been paid for their freedom.”
I immediately thought, “Will we let our children and future generations forget what it cost to have what they have today?” Not only does this pertain to our country but also to the church.
I MUST take time to tell stories to my grandchildren about heroes I personally have known that made uncommon sacrifices for the Gospel’s sake! It felt right to drive them to the site of the home missions church of their great grandfather, Roy Simpkins, who lived with his family in the church basement in order to grow a great church. Did I mention the only toilets were outhouses down a path behind the church? I know many preachers, missionaries and national leaders who have made uncommon sacrifices, like the William Turner missionary family to Moscow, Russia, who trudged through snow to stand in bread lines and lived in such a tiny apartment that they slept on sofa beds.
We MUST NOT FORGET that a great price has been paid for us to have what we enjoy today. Most certainly we must tell over and over again the old, old story of Jesus and the price He paid on Calvary that we might be saved.
Robert K. Rodenbush was a missionary of the UPCI for 42 years and is now Dean of Missiology at Indiana Bible College, training the next generation of missionaries and ministers.