Building His Community: Following the Clarity of Christ

globe-of-facesHis name was Nimrod. You’ve heard of him. Great grandson of Noah. Sat on Grandpa Ham’s lap and listened over and over about the great flood, and how almighty God saved his great grandpa’s family. Nimrod became great in his day. So great he became a king. King Nimrod’s kingdom began with Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar.

History would tell us that Nimrod gave God the glory for his successes in the early beginnings of his rise to fame. The Bible calls him “a mighty hunter before the Lord.” But after becoming king, he forgot the Lord, and history records him as the most wicked man since the flood.

Some things never change . . . a little power so often leads to hunger for more. Genesis 11 tells about his hunger. “And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there. And they said one to another, Go to, let us make brick, and burn them throughly. And they had brick for stone, and slime had they for morter. And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; AND LET US MAKE US A NAME, … ”

We know the result . . . the consequences of Nimrod’s desire for fame and power. Again Genesis 11 records it. “And the LORD said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the LORD scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the LORD did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the LORD scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.”

The confusion of the languages. Consequences of one man’s insatiable hunger for fame and power. Thousands of years later, as we prepare for ministry in Thailand, and as we talk with missionaries from China, Laos, Bangladesh, and beyond, one of the biggest concerns/struggles is the language barrier. The Bible says it right when it uses the word “Babel.” Babel means “confusion.” It is hard to describe the confusion that takes place as we try to communicate with a people who look at you very “confused” as you speak. And then, as they try to communicate back, what they think you just said, you give them the same confused look, becoming more and more convinced that they have no clue what you just got finished saying.

Nimrod had no idea of the far reaching effects of his walk away from God. It makes me wonder, how many times have I forgot God, only for a “moment” and took my own way. How many times have I sought my own fame, my own glory, my own selfish ways, my “kingdom” without realizing how far-reaching the consequences would be?

On the other hand, when we give God our all, when we forget ourselves, when we lay aside the things “I” want to do, and do the things that God wants me to do, . . . then . . . who can tell what the far reaching consequences of those actions will be?

Consequences. No man is an island . . . no man lives unto himself. We are a community of humans, whether we like it or not. As followers of the Christ, we have a calling and a responsibility to live our lives so that the far reaching consequences bring clarity to who our Creator God really is.

Nimrod. Definitely not one of the most liked men among missionaries. The consequences of his selfish life have brought confusion, not clarity. So much confusion that it becomes a very difficult task to communicate to our Thai neighbors who Jesus Christ really is.

What will be the consequences of the way I am living my life? What will be the consequences of the way you are living your life? Now that’s a question worth thinking about.

By Collier Berkshire, IGo Pastor (I Witness News/Spring 2007)

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