This past weekend we were blessed to be at our church’s mission conference. Our keynote speaker was Dr Cortez Cooper. Our family has been blessed to know him from his time at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashhville and from his time that he served at the Kirk of the Hills Presbyterian Church in St Louis. He is a gifted speaker and such a warm, humble man.
On Sunday morning, he spoke from Philipians 1:1-11 and entitled it “An Amazing Partnership.” One of the helpful illustrations that Dr. Cooper used in his sermon was the idea of a partnership. Thinking of a business partnership, he reminded us that God is actually the Senior Partner. He put in ALL the capital in our partnership. We actually have nothing that we bring to add to the business. This revelation should give us great confidence because what could be more sure than the blood of Christ- having already paid the price of our sin and winning us to himself. We have a sure partnership- a never-failing partner. Our mission work, and actually all of life, operates out of that confidence. Are you operating with the knowledge that God has predestined purposes for you, that He has powerful promises for you that are found in his Word, and that He perseveres us to the end? Dr Cooper asked us the very powerful question,”How is it going with you, partner?”
He reminded us in this partnership- in our walk with Christ- there is no such thing as a silent partner. If we are silent, if we have no motivation to share what our hearts have known to be true, we have to ask ourselves “Why?”. Maybe we are not looking at the amazing things that have been done on our behalf by a holy, loving, merciful God. If we really knew how bad our situation was without Him, and we really understood that we can not change our situation without His work on the cross, we would really be unable to be silent.
The image that comes to my mind is from the movie Schindler’s List . In the movie, Oskar Schindler is a greedy businessman in Germany during the Nazi regime. He morphs from wanting money, power, and glory for himself into a savior for the Jews who work in his factory. The factory becomes a refuge for those workers and he maintains their life by doing all he can to keep them in this factory. By the end of the film, he has run out of money and has to close the factory. He has a powerful farewell in which he looks at those things around him and he has these terrible realizations:
Itzhak Stern: Oskar, there are eleven hundred people who are alive because of you. Look at them.
Oskar Schindler: If I’d made more money… I threw away so much money. You have no idea. If I’d just…
Itzhak Stern: There will be generations because of what you did.
Oskar Schindler: I didn’t do enough!
Itzhak Stern: You did so much.
[Schindler looks at his car]
Oskar Schindler: This car. Goeth would have bought this car. Why did I keep the car? Ten people right there. Ten people. Ten more people.
[removing Nazi pin from lapel]
Oskar Schindler: This pin. Two people. This is gold. Two more people. He would have given me two for it, at least one. One more person. A person, Stern. For this.
Oskar Schindler: I could have gotten one more person… and I didn’t! And I… I didn’t!
He looks at his material possessions and wonders how many Jews would that have saved? How much could he have gotten if he had sold that pin. A life for a pin.
I wonder how many things I could do without so that someone else could live? What do I think I need that could send someone to those who need hope? What do I casually spend in Starbuck’s that could keep a missionary on the field all year? A life for a pin.
Thank you Dr Cooper for your lifetime of ministry and for your challenges to us.