Interviewing Men for Employment
I imagine every Christian as he goes about his daily tasks looks for those occasional indications of the divine hand in his affairs to confirm that his work is of the Lord and not merely some scheme of his own. We are now beginning to build the hospital and because of the high unemployment rate here our call for 60 construction workers was answered by several hundred applicants. I interviewed them all hoping to capitalize on this opportunity to become better acquainted with some of our neighbours. I remember a famous preacher and theologian once mentioning in his introduction to a series of messages on the attributes of God that more than anything else, our view of God determines the way we behave and the kind of person we are. So the only question I asked the majority of our applicants was, ‘What can you tell me about God? What have you learned about him in this life?’
How do you suppose that question would be answered if you interviewed 400 Americans? I was impressed that the vast majority here had the same pat answer – in fact at first I wondered if they had simply colluded with one another on their reply since it was so uniform. From my interviews, I learned that here the standard description of God is: ‘God is the Father of us all (not entirely in keeping with Christ’s statement in John 8:42-44), is all-powerful, and does not depend on us for anything, though we depend on him continuously for everything, even to get out of bed in the morning and go about our work.’ That is the Muslim as well as the local mantra about God. And it is not a bad beginning.
Unfortunately, beyond that pat answer hardly anyone had anything else to say. I was hoping to uncover Christians who would break out in a radiant smile at the opportunity to tell what God had taught them about himself through Jesus Christ. I was delighted when that happened, but was surprised it occurred only three or four times in several hundred. Quite a few were quick to point out they were Christians and like most of the Muslims proceeded to speak of the religious duties and moral code they adhered to. But when I thanked them for that and asked, ‘But what can you tell me about God?’ I was disappointed to find them speechless almost every time. I began to wonder how much time in religion is actually devoted to thinking about God or learning about him. Is religion, even for most professing Christians, only a code of conduct or a list of things entirely devoted to what we are and do? Or is it a relationship with someone we can actually know, an infinite yet personal being who has made himself abundantly knowable through Christ and the Scriptures?
So I was disappointed to net only a couple of good prospects for future hospital employees out of several hundred job applicants. And even with those sincere followers of Christ, when I asked how men could be made right with God, I was discouraged to hear in each case that one must obey his commands and then hope that in his mercy he will overlook what is lacking. That is no different from the Muslim gospel and no more effective in saving sinners. In Galatians 5:3-5 Paul urgently warns that any ‘Christian’ who trusts in his works to commend him to God is fallen from grace, cut off from Christ, and without hope in the day of final judgment.
The fact that neither faith nor Christ was mentioned as the means of salvation by any of the church attenders interviewed, and that nothing was said about the atoning work of Christ on the cross, caused me to wonder how we will fill the positions when the time comes to hire the 60+ employee/evangelists needed to staff this mission hospital. But it does illustrate that despite the growing numbers of professing Christians here, there is a great need for Bible doctrine and scriptural evangelism both in and outside the church. Clearly we are not working in a pseudo mission field already saturated with the gospel.
Please pray that God may raise up from both inside and outside the country more workers for Mozambique, particularly for our future hospital, and ask him if perhaps you might be one he has prepared to minister in this needy field.
Dr Charles Woodrow and his wife Julie serve in Nampula, Mozambique, with Grace Missions Mozambique.
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