Why I’m not a pillar

Why I’m not a “pillar” in the church

Reading Ellen White’s letters where she calls on church members to grow and take responsibilities in the church, and listening to the book of Galatians this morning got me to thinking about why am I not a “pillar” in the church. At this age and love for the cause of God, it wouldn’t be unusual for me to be an elder or deacon in the church. So why am I not?

My family was always on the “fringe” of the church. Since my mom was involved with Robert Brinsmead and the Awakening (until it went into error) our family was basically ostracised from the church. The only church function my parents ever did, was once or twice my father was called on to pray up on the platform. That’s it. Of course I was never called on to do anything either.

After college I moved to Atlanta, and was given some responsibility in the church there. I remember being scared to death when I gave my report after Sabbath School once, and that’s the last time I did anything on the platform there. After moving to Japan there was nothing given me to do, and I’m not one to seek for it either. In 1999 I became English school director at the church-run school, so organized worship programs once a month on Friday nights in the school lounge. Never was there a call to do anything else in the church tho. When they kicked out my homeless friends, I quit going there, and bounced around to several different churches, and also started spending some Sabbaths at home.

In 2005 I went travelling around many countries spreading the 1858 Great Controversy book, and many churches were happy to have me give studies or even sermons in their churches.

After coming back to Japan in 2011, I finally was welcomed at the Kobe church, and told them I could give a mission report which I did once, which was the end of my church-related functions there too, except for twice I year when I lead my English school students in a song and Bible recitation at VBS and Christmas time. I go to church there only 7 or 8 times a year, and started going to another little church last year around once a month or so. Most Sabbaths I spend at home, reading Ellen White’s Letters and Manuscripts, watching Bible vidoes, etc.

I know it would be best if I would use my God-given skills to uplift God’s remnant church in more of a direct manner. I also know that I’m not cut out to be a leader. I believe I’m a good teacher, but not a leader of men. We are also told not to go where we know error will be taught, which is why I’m not too interested in going to church anywhere.

What Would Jesus Do? Really, would he go sit week after week listening to error? Would he go and sit silently in the pews, then go quietly back home? This type of church-goer is what is seen as the “ideal” in most of our SDA churches around the world – oh, and don’t forget the tithes and offerings!! Come to think of it, Jesus was on the “fringe” too. He was given opportunity to speak in church, and he used the opportunity to speak truth. It made them so mad that they tried to push him over a cliff for it. I wonder if they ever invited him back to speak??? He spent most of his time travelling around here and there, never staying long in one place. hmmm.

In my heart, I want to see the church that God set up, this Seventh-day Adventist church, become stronger and stronger, being a shining light of truth in this world wrapped in the darkness of error. But it seems like we’ve become rich and increased with goods, in need of nothing except our “organization”, so I will always be a fringe member. If we aren’t careful and heed the testimony of the True Witness, Jesus will spue us out of his mouth. His Holy Spirit will work where it is unhindered, and he will bypass the organization if necessary in order to finish the work of preparing a people to stand in that great day.

Even so, may we all be at our post of duty wherever it is, leading others to eternal life in Jesus Christ. Amen.

7 thoughts on “Why I’m not a pillar”

  1. Now might be the time for you to travel again. People may be receptive to hear what you have to share in this time of anxiety about the Covid-19 virus.
    Alternatively, you could make more videos. Maybe housebound people in quarantine might watch them.
    I was blessed by your visits to Singapore in the mid-2000s.
    God bless as you fulfill the roles God gives you.

  2. The timing of your comment is interesting. I have been working on redoing the “Revelation slide show” video for around 2 months now, and think I made my final render just this morning

    Due to my age, I’m starting to consider how best to serve God after retirement in 5-7 years. Right now I send around half my income to various countries to further God’s kingdom, but I’m getting more and more anxious to use my physical presence in trying to teach the generation coming up of the things that I have learned over the years – especially of how we need to keep focused on Jesus and exactly as he did/would do. I would love to do that in Japan, but it looks like almost no one is interested here, so why not go where the interests are in India, Thailand, Vietnam, etc.? It appears that I would get enough social security from the American govt. to cover all my living expenses plus some. I sure don’t want to be a burden on anyone.

    Any advice would be appreciated.

  3. Pray + Pray + Pray.
    No easy answers.
    You are skilled in small group teaching. Perhaps vision of you doing that could be broadcast for others to view in these momentous times. ⭐

  4. “I send around half my income to various countries to further God’s kingdom” – what a statement to be able to make! So wonderful, laying up treasure in heaven. That’s what I call a “pillar” in the church.

  5. Thanks for the encouragement, Zack.
    Yet sometimes I think what life would have been like had I stayed in America.
    Taking averages, I probably would be earning over 70,000 usd/year by now, but I don’t earn even half that here in Japan.

    Of course I know “what if” scenarios are pretty pointless, but kind of fun too. Here’s what I think would have happened had I stayed in America : I would have made a bunch of money in the dot.com boom ( as I was a computer programmer who was very interested in futures and stocks) , ridden it back down and possibly more, and probably lost my faith. OR, I would have started buying apartments, become a slumlord, and just be a working robot who might have gotten clobbered in the downturn of 2008.

    Anyway, my life and it’s influence seems smaller than what God probably originally intended for me, but here I am.

  6. Daniel, I’d say you made a very wise decision! You won’t have regrets like the Rich Young Ruler will. You chose rather to suffer affliction with the people of God for a season. Like the apostle Paul did also. “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.”

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