“All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing, just as it has been doing among you since the day you heard it and understood God’s grace in all its truth.” Colossians 1:6
My right eye decided to be lazy as a child. While the left eye absorbed light rays and churned out superb images in my brain, the right one kicked back, yawned, and took most days off. In an attempt to correct the imbalance, my optometrist had me wear a patch each evening that forced my right eye to pitch in. So, as you might imagine, I ran around the house being a pirate—even though the patch looked more like an oversized bandage than something a scallywag might wear.
But the Captain John routine didn’t fix the problem. My amblyopia—or lazy eye—mutinied and refused to work harder. A thick lens in my glasses didn’t do it either, and contacts weren’t an option, since I can’t stand anything getting close to my corneas. To this day, I can’t really make out those nifty 3D effects in posters or movies, and when I’m tired, I sometimes see two overlapping images of the same person—one clear, one blurry.
I’ve lived with the lazy eye for so long that I don’t really notice it now. The left eye keeps on doing the heavy lifting without a hiccup, and unless I close it, I see just fine. But when the left eye gets blurry for some reason, that’s when things get ugly. At least, they look that way to my much-impaired vision.
How I view global Christianity is just about as lazy as my right eye. You see, I’ve had this naïve assumption for much of my life that as American (or even local) faith goes, so goes the gospel around the world. I see the local scene clearly enough, but everything else comes in blurry—if I even look at all. “Persecution” means being talked to meanly or not getting the result in a court case that I wanted. “Worship” means a Sunday morning experience with a building that needs to be just the right temperature. “Fellowship” means getting stuffed with a potluck array of meats, veggies, and 30 kinds of banana pudding.
Meanwhile, the gospel flourishes happily in Asia and Africa and even Europe without one whit of similarity to my own local preferences. Thousands cram into much-too-hot buildings, laugh, shout, and dance on the way up to the offering basket. Others break bread and eat inside the ruins of a burned out church building. Some whisper praises and prayers so that they won’t be overheard. And they all worship the same Christ I do.
“All over the world the gospel is bearing fruit and growing,” Paul said. Unlike me, his eyes weren’t lazy. He could see that God kept moving the good news express from one place to another, kept transforming lives, kept ripping people out of the kingdom of darkness.
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14