God has a wonderful way of bonding people together through shared experiences. A few days ago several alumni members of Bibles for China distribution teams had lunch together. It was truly enjoyable to spend time together and very interesting to hear the various members discuss what elements of the trip had left a lasting impression. There were some universal shared memories: the anticipation and excitement among the believers in these rural Chinese churches just before the Bibles were distributed, the tender way the believers held their new Bible, and how so many of them immediately opened their Bible and began reading no matter how much commotion was going on around them.
One team member said their most vivid memory was the generous spirit of the believers in these rural Chinese churches. It was visibly obvious that these believers had few material possessions and it appeared that most even had a lack of food to meet their daily needs. Despite that fact, they welcomed the team with a lavish feast of fresh fruit and dried snacks. They were so eager to welcome their Christian brothers and sisters that they sacrificed personally to encourage their guests. Everyone agreed it was very humbling to experience this kind of sacrificial love from our Chinese brothers and sisters in Christ. God has a way of inspiring those in his family and often uses those who have the least to teach basic lessons to those of us who have substantially more!
Our time around the table brought a deeper revelation of the application of Paul’s words in Philippians 2:1-4, “If then there is any encouragement in Christ, if any consolation of love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by thinking of the same way, having the same love, sharing the same feelings, focusing on one goal. Do nothing out of rivalry, of conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. Everyone should look out, not only for his own interest, but also for the interest of others.”