Monday, October 21, 2002

For many months, our ministry team joined thousands of believers around the world in praying for the release of missionaries Martin and Gracia Burnham. Philippine rebels had kidnapped them from a resort where they were celebrating their 18th wedding anniversary and held them for ransom for more than a year. Well, when a Philippine army unit moved in to rescue the hostages, Martin Burnham was killed by a stray bullet and Mrs. Burnham was wounded. For both of them, a terrible ordeal ended in the jungle that night. Gracia went home to America, and Martin went home to heaven. At his memorial service, it was reported that the last thing the couple did before the raid was to pray together. Mr. Burnham told his wife, "We might not leave this jungle alive, but at least we can leave this world serving the Lord with gladness. We can serve Him right here, where we are, and with gladness." Wow!

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "Joy In The Jungle."

Other hostages testified to how Martin Burnham had lived that out. Chained each night to a tree by a guard, he made it a point to thank the guard and wish him a good night. He offered to carry belongings ... not only for other hostages, but for his captors. And he initiated many discussions with the rebels, including their leader, about Christian faith and principles.

You know, we all have things in our environment that are unpleasant - people that irritate or hurt us, circumstances that get us down, little injustices, stubborn problems. But when we look at the grace that God gave Martin Burnham - and we know we have access to that same grace - I have to ask, "What's our excuse for a bad attitude?"

In Genesis 39, beginning in verse 20, our word for today from the Word of God, we see a Biblical model of capturing your environment instead of letting your environment capture you. Joseph has been sold into slavery by his own brothers and bought by a major Egyptian military leader. Joseph does such a good job in that household that he is put in charge of everything there, but then he's accused by his master's wife of something he did not do and he's thrown into the king's prison. The Bible says, "But while Joseph was there in the prison, the Lord was with him." Again, he is so responsible in that prison now that he is again put in charge.

And when two of the prisoners, former officials of the king, are troubled by prophetic dreams, the Bible says, "When Joseph came to them the next morning, he saw that they were dejected. So he asked, 'Why are your faces so sad today?'" Notice - he's in prison for something he hasn't done. But he's not all grumpy and pity-partying - he's looking for people he can help. Just like a missionary hostage who made up his mind he was going to make that jungle the best place it could possibly be - that he was going to be all about other people instead of being all about himself and he would serve the Lord with gladness until the day he died.

Well, it's that kind of attitude that's going to enable you to have joy in the jungle that you're in right now - being all about your Lord and all about other people. If you belong to Jesus, there is nothing in your situation that can ever justify or excuse a negative attitude! If a missionary hostage could serve the Lord with gladness where he was, surely you can serve the Lord with gladness where you are. There are always people who need you. There's always a word for Jesus to be spoken. There's always a difference to be made - no matter what the circumstances!



Ron Hutchcraft Ministries
P.O. Box 400
Harrison, AR 72602-0400

(870) 741-3300
(877) 741-1200 (toll-free)
(870) 741-3400 (fax)


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