- 1 Timothy 5: 24,25 The sins of some men are conspicuous, going before them to judgment, but the sins of others appear later. So also good works are conspicuous, and even those that are not cannot remain hidden.
As I was reading this morning, I was intrigued by this verse written by the Apostle Paul to his young protege and pastor, Timothy. Timothy, during this time, was pastoring in Ephesus, one of the largest cities of the Roman Empire. The church in Ephesus was one of the largest of the first century.
Paul uses the literary style of parallelism and contrast to add emphasis for Timothy in these verses. He warns that some sin and good works will be obvious and seen by all. These acts will stand or fall on judgement day upon their own merits. Yet Paul through his literary style is also highlighting for Timothy that there are some varieties of good works, as well as hidden sin, that take time to germinate, grow and blossom before their true nature will be revealed.
Christians down through the centuries have often toiled in obscurity, never knowing if their work would make a difference. They wrote, preached, worked, gave and prayed by faith, all the while never knowing if any of their labor would ever germinate much less produce a harvest of righteousness.
One of these heroes of unseen good works was done by a woman named Irena Sendler. Born on February 15, 1910 in Warsaw Poland, Irene was raised in a devout Catholic home. She studied to became a social worker and began working with the poor Jewish population in the ghetto’s of Warsaw a few years before the German invasion of Poland. When Poland fell to the Nazi’s, a Polish government in exile was established in London. This government continued a social program called Zegota that had been established to aid the poor Jewish children. Operatives of Żegota worked in extreme circumstances within a hostile population of Poles that resented the Jewish population and under threat of death by the Nazi forces. Irene, under the pretense of sanitary inspections during a Typhoid outbreak, would enter the ghetto and register families for aid.
in December 1942, Zegota put Irene in charge of its children’s department. With the help of others, Irene began to organize workers to falsify over 3000 documents to smuggle children out before they could be transferred to the death camps.
These Jewish children would go into homes of sympathizing Poles who understood the Nazi cruelty toward the Jews. It is estimated that over 2500 children were saved from the death camps by the work of Irene and her fellow Zegota workers. The work was extremely dangerous and difficult. Irena was quoted as saying “during the war, it was simpler to hide a tank under the carpet than shelter a Jewish child.”
The Nazi’s began to suspect Sendler’s involvement in the Polish underground movement. In October 1943 she was arrested by the Gestapo. Just prior to her arrest, she managed to hide a list of all of the names and locations of the rescued Jewish children preventing this information from falling into the hands of the Nazi’s. The Gestapo were harsh with Irene. She withstood imprisonment and torture, never revealing anything about her work, the other workers nor the location of any of families that opened their homes to save the children.
She was sentenced to death by the German high command, but narrowly escaped on the day of her scheduled execution after operatives within Żegota bribed the German officials to obtain her release. Her acts of heroism were overlooked after the war. It wasn’t until years later when the children she had saved began to recount her good work. One of these children was Elzbieta Ficowska. She was carried out of the ghetto in a toolbox as a five month-old baby. Years later she recounted; “It took a true miracle to save a Jewish child and Irene Sendler not only saved us, but also our children and the grandchildren of the generations yet to come.”
In 1967, her hidden work finally became obvious to a grateful generation. Her life and exceptional bravery was recognized by the nation of Israel as being one of the “Righteous Among the Nations.”
Good works done by faith are often hidden from the world, but not to God. While we may never be in the desperate situation that Irene found herself in1943, faithful work today is nevertheless seen by our Lord and Savior. Our faith in Christ Jesus causes us to give back with good works done in response to His work of salvation done on the cross.
Paul wrote to Timothy’s church in Ephesus that “we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God has prepared in advance for us to do.”(Eph. 2:10) Just as Paul admonished the church in Ephesus to do good works, now is a great time for us to give ourselves, our resources and our attention to that which has been prepared for us, even if we never see the outcome of our work this side of eternity!
Lord help me not give up doing the work that you have set before me to do. May I endeavor to work faithfully, knowing that you are the one that brings the increase and blesses the work of my life. May I work with a heart fully dedicated to advance your kingdom here on earth. Amen.
A new August giving challenge for missions. The HLC church in Nepal that used our relief funds to help so many people in their humanitarian efforts, have another challenge before them. Next year they loose their lease on the land that hosts their church. They are looking for a new piece of land to purchase. Their hope is to dis-assemble the existing church and re-build it again on the new property. If they are not able to do so, they will loose the building.The HLC family of 120 are desperately searching as their lease will expire in one year. The church has 50% of the budget on hand right now and we will pay for 50%, which is about $30,000.They are also planning to fundraise with Nepalese Bhutanese Churches.
August Challenge: We have a $4000.00 matching fund available for this project, but I’d love to raise $10,000 for this wonderful family of believers. If you can give, go to mbridge.global/give and help us build the church in Nepal.