The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1 Corinthians 2:14
It's difficult for us to imagine what was in the minds of the Melanesian natives when they saw American and British engineers descend upon their islands and clear the ground for airstrips.
It was World War II, and these people -- almost untouched by civilization -- must have been amazed. They were even more astonished to see giant silver birds begin to land: planes that came out of nowhere, planes whose bellies were bulging with every imaginable commodity.
With considerable faith and an eye for detail, the natives began to build their own airstrips.
They had every confidence that when they were done, the cargo planes would bestow heaven-sent goodies upon them as well. They cut down trees, moved rocks, ripped out vegetation for their runways. When the islanders were done, they waited, but no planes came.
Which is why the natives looked around for something they had missed. Finally, one bright individual figured out what they had done wrong. They had nobody in the control tower. So they put an individual in the control tower and gave him headphones made out of coconut shells. They had been sincere in their belief, but their sincerity wasn't enough.
You see, belief, when it is belief in a wrong thing, is never enough.
Most people, when they hear about the Melanesian cargo cult shake their heads in disbelief. "How," they ask, "can anyone fall for such foolishness? Even the uncivilized eye ought to know complex bits of machinery like airplanes and guns have to be made by someone. They just don't fall magically from the heavens." Then, sort of smugly, they add, "I'm glad I'm not that naïve or gullible."
Unfortunately, many of them are that gullible, but in different areas.
For example, how many people do you know who believe that this universe, which is far more complicated than any cannon or aircraft, just happened, without any divine intervention? How many people think judgment for their sins will never happen and, if it does, they will be found guiltless?
The truth is this: we, and all around us, have a Creator. The Creator who made all things perfect is justly displeased that we have made a mess of things and deserve to be punished. Yes, we deserve punishment, but our Maker would prefer to offer us forgiveness and eternal life. To that end, He promised to send His Son to take our place and keep the laws we had broken. God's plan said Jesus would take our sins and carry them to His death, where He would pay the penalty we had deserved.
His Son's life, death and resurrection are proof the Creator's promise has been fulfilled, and the plan is real, sufficient and able to save all who are brought to faith in the Redeemer.
And that is the catch, isn't it? People still have to believe. They still have to believe in the right thing. This is why Lutheran Hour Ministries and your church try to reach out to those who -- like the natives in the story above -- are still believing the wrong thing.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give thanks the Holy Spirit has called me to faith in the Redeemer. Now I pray for those who are still in darkness. While there is time, may they be allowed to see all You have done for them. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries
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