What If He Had Said “NO”?

Count von Zinzendorf was born in Germany in the year 1700 and, shortly thereafter, placed in the arms of his godly grandmother. She raised him to value involvement in God’s work. Years later, he was asked to grant a corner of his estate for persecuted Moravians to settle on. He agreed. The new settlement was called Herrnhut, and it attracted hundreds of persecuted believers from several faiths.

As theological differences in the town increased, so did discord. Recognizing their desperate need for unity, Zinzendorf moved to Herrnhut and organized them into groups for daily prayer and encouragement.

Zinzendorf believed that all Christians could live peacefully together if they would practice the teachings of Christ. The fundamental pillars of God’s Kingdom — grace, mercy, love, kindness, and forgiveness — were all still binding, no matter what their other doctrinal beliefs might be. It worked. As they worshiped and prayed together, a revival took place. With newfound respect for prayer, the inhabitants of Herrnhut began taking turns in a non-stop prayer band that lasted for a hundred years!

Thus empowered, Moravians at Herrnhut needed a worthy investment for their energy.  Soon a freed slave begged for missionaries, and Zinzendorf brought the appeal back to Herrnhut. Two volunteers stepped forward. A few more headed out not long afterward. The die was cast. Herrnhut was now a missionary launching pad, and supporting missions was an integral part of what they lived for.

Zinzendorf’s work at Herrnhut was often misunderstood. When this resulted in him being banished from his home, he moved elsewhere but continued the work. When people were concerned that his missionaries were being sent to die in the mission field, he wrote his will then went to the mission field himself. He never asked anyone to do that which he was not willing to do himself.

Zinzendorf was a wealthy landowner. He could have easily divested himself of the problematic concerns of ministry and focused instead on simply being an honorable count, but he did not. He chose a harder but more fulfilling life that started with a donation of land. He was not perfect by any means, and some of his theology would raise your eyebrows, but by the time he died, he had influenced thousands of Christians on several continents to live peacefully together. More than two hundred missionaries had already left Herrnhut for the mission field. Who knows how many of those he was directly supporting. It was a staggering accomplishment.

This legacy might never have come to be if at the first request for land, Zinzendorf had said no or if his grandmother had been careless in his training. There would never have been a second missionary if there had not been a first. So, who do we thank for the great mission work? The missionaries? Zinzendorf? His grandmother? And which was the greater gift? Was it land? Money? Prayer? Missionary lives? The answer is, “All the above.”

The truth is no one soldier wins a war. Land and finances are still needed today, as are godly grandmothers and peacemakers. Heaven knows we still need missionaries and non-stop prayer! If you feel like those in Herrnhut who wanted more in life than a persecution-free existence, and you crave to do more than at present, why not look through this magazine and ask God what the next step is for you? Is it a donation of land or a commitment of monthly support for a missionary family or two? Are you feeling called to frontier service? If you wish to speak with somebody about His answers, please call us at 1-800-937-4236.

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