I stole a few minutes during a conference I was speaking at recently, with pastors from churches around Dakar and as far inland as Thies, to read a few pages of poetic lines by Henry Newbolt (I’ll be honest I’ve never heard of Newbolt before but with a name like that I had to give him a few minutes audience). Newbolt, his words are as martial and action-packed as his name. On the last page I discovered a poem called The Building of the Temple dedicated to the Canterbury Cathedral. He wrote:
"Let us build for the years we shall not see…
Let us build in hope and in sorrow, and rest in Thee."
Our forefathers a hundred years ago spoke vision of “the greatest evangelization that the world has ever seen,” but would they have imagined today’s 76 million men, women and children reached with the gospel in a century? They were a generation who believed if they committed their work to the Lord He would establish their plans (Prov. 16.3). On the foundation of Christ they built the walls of prayer and passion for a cathedral of praise where millions have met with Jesus.
Have you heard the story of three men working on a construction site? The first was asked what he was doing and he replied, “I’m laying bricks.” The next man responded, “I’m building a wall.” But the third man when asked the question, looked to the skies and with a smile said, “I’m building a cathedral.”
What do we believe? When we look at the labor of our hearts and hands what do we see? What would you say? We are not just laying brick, together we are laying the cornerstone, Christ Jesus, among the unreached. We are not just building a wall, we are laying a foundation of gospel witness among unreached families. With rolled-up sleeves we are, with sweat on our brow and prayer in our hearts, digging out out the cultural and religious strongholds to lay a foundation which is Christ the Lord (1 Cor. 3.11). And even with eyes lifted to heaven we are not just building a cathedral, we are creating space to grow a movement where men, women and children can meet with our Savior, Jesus.
Many of us will never see on this side of eternity the fruit of our labors in prayer, the produce of hours cultivating the world’s fields in intercession. Many of us will never stand face to face here on earth with the countless millions that have come to know Jesus as their Lord through our sacrificial giving. Nevertheless, through the hope and sorrow, through the passion and the pain, let us build the Church and rest in the glory of our God. Thank you for working with us and allowing us to be a personal link from the local church to the unreached.