The Herald Weekly Vol XV : 31

Irish Elk kind of CHRISTIANS

Here are some questions to prime your thoughts:

  • What do you mean when you say that you are a Christian?
  • What do you have in mind when a person says that he is a Christian?
  • What do you expect of yourself when you tell others that you are Christian?
  • What is it that we do when we serve God?
  • What should our attitudes be?
  • What are our motivations?
  • What do you expect to see in a person who calls himself a servant of God?

In Jeremiah 5, the LORD commanded the prophet Jeremiah “Run ye to and fro through the streets of Jerusalem, and see now, and know, and seek in the broad places thereof, if ye can find a man, if there be any that executeth judgment, that seeketh the truth; and I will pardon it” (Jer. 5:1).

God told Jeremiah – “Go and search out for Me one man who is just and truthful – one who is faithful to My Word.” God was looking for a godly man. One would have thought this would be an easy task.

First, Jerusalem was where the temple of Solomon was located. It was the capital city. It was known as the city of God. It is the place where the religious and political elites were located.

Surely, amongst the priests and princes, it would not be difficult to find a man who is godly. Sadly, the assignment was more difficult than Jeremiah had imagined. The commoners “are poor; they are foolish: for they know not the way of the LORD, nor the judgment of their God” (Jer. 5:4).

What about the princes? They were no better. They “have altogether broken the yoke, and burst the bonds” (Jer. 5:5). The prophets and priests were no better. “The prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests bear rule by their means; and my people love to have it so” (Jer. 5:31).

There is a disconnect between what they claim to be and who they really are. We see the same disconnect in Christendom today. When we look at twenty-first century Christianity, and we compare it with the Word of God, we will see – if we are honest – a great discrepancy. Things were not like before.

Some believers do not want to see the discrepancy. We want to console ourselves by saying that we are similar. When they read the Book of Acts and about the lives and ministries of the early saints, they claim that what they are now are not any different from believers in the apostolic church back then.

When confronted with the “day and night” differences, Christians concoct elaborate excuses for the differences – the impotence of the 21st century church; the lukewarmness in our service, the prayerlessness that pervades the church, the spiritual apathy that has afflicted the church at large.

I am sure that this change is not the result of God changing His demands and expectations of the church. God is immutable. His Word is timeless. The Scripture defines what Christianity is meant to be. Our God has not changed. He is not evolving. There is no shadow of turning in Him. He is rock-like. The differences between 21st century church and the early church is not that God has changed. Our God has not moved. We have moved, and we have lost sight of the Rock.

The elk is an amazing animal. Those who have seen an elk in the wild would realise that the animal always stands, with its chest out and its head tilt back a little.

Set against the backdrop of the towering mountains, the elk is a majestic animal. There is something about the elk that is moving.

A normal elk stands about 5-6 feet from its feet to the head. Its rack of antlers adds another 2-3 feet. So a grown elk is about a good 8-9 feet in height. But what is the elk of an elk? A normal elk stands about 5-6 feet from its feet to the head, and a rack of antlers may be another 2-3 feet. So the average elk is a good 8 feet.

There is a species of elk, known as the Irish Elk. It is officially classified as extinct. Skeletal remains of the Irish Elk show that standing abreast and straight up, the Irish Elk is about 10 feet tall. And on top of its head, there is a rack of antlers that spanned 12 feet wide. Twelve feet wide is slightly higher than the height of floor to ceiling of a HDB flat. The rack of antlers rises another 5 feet. The Irish Elk is a massive animal.

The Irish Elk can be likened to Christianity the way God has intended to be. And we put the elk next to an Irish elk, as impressed as we are with a modern day elk, the Irish Elk would have a “wow” effect.

The problem with the 21st century Church is that we lost sight of the Irish elk version of Christianity. We do not believe that it is possible. We do not aspire to it. We say to ourselves that God does not intend to do those things in a man or a woman anymore. That was what He did back then. These are Christians of yesteryears. Not today.

But that is what we need to be. The Irish Elk kind of Christians. A full-blooded Christianity. The kind of Christianity that stands on a rock that unmoved in all circumstances. The type of Christianity that knows the power of God.

We need to be the type of Christians – men and women – who gave themselves over to God and turned the world upside down. We need the Adnoriam Judsons, the Amy Carmichaels, the Hudson Taylors, the CT Studds, the John Sungs, the Jim Eliots. We need to rise to the occasion and be the Irish Elk type of Christians. We need to be the kind of Christians would cause the world to stop and say, “Did you see that and what God had done for them?”

The world may not believe that you are capable of such stature of faith. You may have doubts yourself. But I want to challenge you; consider the words of Isaiah 51:0 – “Awake, awake, put on strength, O arm of the LORD; awake, as in the ancient days, in the generations of old” (Isa. 51:9).

Awake, be strengthened by the LORD as He had strengthened the generations of old. And it is my prayer that we would desire to have your lives declare to the world what God can and will do through lives wholly submitted to Him. May our generation – may you – be the kind of godly Christian that God is searching for.

Rev Isaac Ong

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