This evening, I listened to Francis Schaeffer’s lecture “The Lord’s Work in the Lord’s Way”. Or, as he subtitled it, “Tongues of Fire”.
This man’s voice, recorded in 1980, has thundered and rattled through my fragile little earbuds for the past hour. What a passion this man had for the truth!
“Jesus Christ did not minister without the Holy Spirit; who do we think we are?”
“Christians can waste their whole lives serving God in the flesh….if we speak in the flesh, who will listen to us?”
“If we work for the praise of man and we have it, than literally, we have had it.”
“What do we really believe?!” he demands. “God is not a projection of the human mind or in my head, God is a God who is there!”
There are hundreds of other such gems littered throughout this lecture, and it is one of Francis’ many many recorded lectures.
Who was this man? And just as much, who was his wife, Edith? These were two people who laid down their lives to follow Jesus Christ. In 1948, Francis and Edith packed up their young family and moved to Switzerland simply because they knew God had called them there.In the following years, students began to show up on his doorstep and Francis began to teach and answer deep questions through the gospel. Questions like:
What in the world is real?
Is anyone there?
What is spiritual reality?
How then shall we live?
And a myriad others! All the while, the Schaeffers kept a tight grasp on the Word of God. They were indwelled by the Holy Spirit, and they practiced the presence of a God who is there.
“We must have a right position…but if that is all there is to it, the right position becomes one more seedbed for pride in the flesh…the church has failed to show compassion by not caring about what other people think…we must have an intellectual understanding of all that is happening about us…but if it is only this…it will be only one more seedbed for the flesh…then there is the humble heart…my love for God…we must practice…the fact that He is there!”
What does this look like? For the Schaeffers, it meant packing up for Switzerland and letting God lead them on long tramps in the snow before they found the place where they would live. It meant never asking for donations but waiting for God to supply every need. It meant venturing into difficult subjects-philosophy, religion, art-and seeing God at work in those places of the mind. It meant waiting-like the disciples in Jerusalem-for the Holy Spirit to come and fill them(Acts 2). And to refill them, as this fiery-tongued preacher pointed out (Acts 4).
Is this a waiting time? Don’t chafe at the yoke. This is how God does His work. In a way that shows us that it is not our work. How much I need to learn this lesson.
Matthew 11: 25-30
At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this was your good pleasure. All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him. Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
This does not mean the Lord’s work will be easy, as Schaeffer pointed out. But it is good. Don’t be afraid. Christ is pulling at the yoke with you and teaching you all things whether your trade is plumbing or philosophy or mothering or ballroom dance.
He is there.
For more on Francis and Edith Schaeffer, check out his biography Francis Schaeffer: An Authentic Life or Edith’s autobiographical L’abri.