Mennonite History – Doing Good and Doing Well
Doing Good and Doing Well
What Would You Take With You?
Anabaptist people have moved so very many times. Mostly not because they wanted to move. Persecution and politics forced them. Many times the moves were sudden – never to go “home” again. A new home somewhere, somehow, with someone…. When they moved, they often took only what they could wear and what they could carry. Possessions jettisoned in favor of life for self and child. In those moves however, they were followed by faith and family.
From Zurich to Pingum – from Danzig to Prussia to Molotschna and Choritiza – from Lancaster to Chiuaha – from Sioux Lookout to Spanish Lookout – from Harrisonburg to Hutchinson – from Goshen to Holmes County – from Kitchner to Winnepeg – from Germany to Germantown.
From Cuba, Indiana to Rome, Pennsylvania, from the jungles of Paraguay to the steppes of British Columbia and countless villages dotting the globe – the Mennonite community has influenced and impressed and invested and altered the landscape in material and philosophical and Spiritual ways.
Cultures were completely transformed by these people who could take nothing and make something. Neither failure nor exile nor martyrdom could stop them. Neither persecution nor death could deter them.
When life became impossible, they fled. They did not fight, they fled. When they fled, they left everything behind them. They left the house and the land, the business and the school. They left everything. Almost everything.
They took with them only what they could wear and what they could carry. And also, they took with them their faith. The faith of their fathers and faith in the God of their fathers.
They fled and started over. Started over with nothing. Nothing. With determination and faith and family and belief in the rewards of righteousness, they started over. Over and over and over again. They started over. Where ever they went, they started over, with faith, family and fortitude.
Even the indomitable, irreplaceable, unforgettable Paul Harvey included the Mennonites in his Rest of the Story story. With a grain of truth he spelled out the Truth of Grain. He tells how the Mennonites made the Ukraine the bread basket of Europe only to be driven from their homes and farms. Evicted by the beneficiaries of their industry.
As they fled to North America they took with them the seeds to begin farming in the U.S.A. As a result, America is selling Mennonite wheat to the Russians. Had Russia kept the Mennonites, they would be selling wheat to the U.S.A.
What a legacy – who or where has anyone seen the like? Persecuted people prospering by industry and integrity. What an inheritance – could it be true that generations have communicated their heritage in tangible and Spiritual ways to their children’s children’s children? It is true.
Let us take care. Beginning by doing good, we have done well.
Let us never forget that goodness begets wellness in every way.
Let us never forget that to lose goodness will be to lose everything.
Let us never think that we have done all these things.
God has done all this.
We as His followers are only unprofitable servants.
Let us never think that we can be self-made people.
Let us never exploit each other or anyone else.
Life is not about what the market can bear.
Life is not about big fish eating little fish.
Life is about blessing.
Life is about blessings others
Life is about sharing God’s blessings with others.
The genius of our success has been community.
The reason for our success is community.
We work good.
We work well.
We work hard.
We work together.
From Zurich Switzerland to the world.
From Pingum, Netherlands to the world.
From Swarzenau, Germany to the new world.
God has scattered us to spread His Word and to bless the world.
When we scattered, we took very little with us.
When we scattered, we took very much with us.
If you had to leave today –what would you take with you?
If you died today – what would be your legacy?
Let us never forget our heritage.
Let us be about our Father’s business.
Do good and if God sees fit – do well.
But, above all, do good.
It is the only real legacy you can leave.
It is the only legacy that you dare not lose.
Let us be about our Father’s business.
For no other foundation can any man lay than has been laid – it is Christ Jesus.
I Corinthians 3:11