“Surely he couldn’t be serious.”
It was 1997 and I was in Guangzhou, China sitting across the table from one of the greatest men I have ever met. His name was Dr. Samuel Lamb and he was one of the leaders of the Chinese House Church Movement. Dressed in the grey government-sanctioned clothing that was customary for the Chinese people during that time, he may have looked quite simple, yet the impact with which he had lived his life was unrivaled. As a young seventeen-year-old, I certainly never thought I’d hear all that I heard that day. With great conviction he spoke of his many years of ministry and of the persecution. He spoke in factual detail and without remorse.
The Strange Request
Dr. Lamb had begun preaching decades prior to our meeting. After preaching for a few years, he was arrested and put in jail for three years with the charge of disobeying the government’s rules concerning religion. When he returned from prison in 1957 his congregation had exponentially increased in size to several hundred people. In 1958 he was imprisoned for the second time, and this time for over 20 years. When he was released to his church he found that there were now thousands in attendance. After being jailed and released a third time, he saw once again that the church had grown in size. When we visited him, his very small building had two stories and they were having multiple weekly services for around 4,000 people.
The growth of the church and the impact was amazing. However, it was Dr. Samuel Lamb’s strange request that caused my western mind to come to a halt. Our time with him was ending, and so we asked him, “Dr. Lamb, we’d like to pray for you. How can we pray for you?”
Without hesitation he said, “Pray for more persecution.” Silence. Our group of technology savvy, American-born teenagers stared in disbelief wondering if we had heard correctly. “Pray for more persecution,” he repeated. “Every time I am persecuted, the church grows. Please, please pray for more persecution, because we need the church to grow.”
To this day words escape me as I think of Dr. Samuel Lamb, a true hero of the faith.
It’s Really Just One Thing
Paul too was known for tirelessly conveying the message of the Gospel. There is no doubt as I say his name that various feelings of respect and honor rise in each of our hearts as we remember his words in Ephesians 6:19-20: “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.”
I am convinced that the legacy of Paul and the legacy of Samuel Lamb share a common denominator. They were about one thing. Their one thing was obedience to God and to the mission God had put each of them on. For Paul, his one thing meant that He followed the call of Christ from the Road to Damascus, through the prison cells, into the city streets and finally into the Gates of Heaven. For Samuel Lamb it meant that he was to answer the call into the House Church Movement of China, into the jail cell and back into His hometown. For many women that are dear to me, their one thing is the raising of beautiful children that love and serve God, entering into their prayer closets to pray for those that they know and don’t know, and out to the living room to greet their husband upon his return. Each of us enjoy the beauty of a unique calling. All are significant.
Bringing It Home
We hear many stories of men and women that have left dramatic legacies to write in the chronicles of the faith. I believe with all of my heart that within God’s strategy for advancing the Kingdom each of our roles share equivalent value. God has given us an assignment, and we simply must be faithful to our one thing. Dr. Lamb needed prayer covering. The House Churches of China needed prayer covering. And I know for a fact that there are many of my friends old and young that have been praying for the persecuted church of China, fulfilling the Call God gave them – doing one thing, one very important thing.
God needs us all. He needs someone to raise Godly children. He needs someone to be ready to speak a word of Truth in due season. He needs someone to lead the board meeting. He needs someone to encourage the child. He needs someone to feed the homeless. And, He needs someone to build the House Church in China. He needs each of us to do our one thing, and we need to be about His. We are the church, and together we are better.
Hannah is passionate about living life well and not missing a beat. A lover of people and the differences between them, she enjoys conversations of every kind. With a love for adventure, she enjoys exploring, hiking, biking and trying anything once. Her passion is freedom and her heart is that women around the world would experience the Hope and redemption that is available to all of us. Hometown? She’s a bit unsure, but as much as she fought it, “God bless Texas.”
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