Leith Anderson speaks at convocation
President of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) Leith Anderson spoke at Liberty University’s convocation on Wednesday about the extraordinary trust and friendship between Jesus and the apostle John.
Anderson asked students if they trusted Jesus, and then asked if they had ever stopped to ask themselves if Jesus could trust them as Christians to carry out whatever he might need them to do.
“You’ve been asked 10,000 times, ‘Do you trust Jesus?’ And I hope you say 10,000 times yes! But beyond that 10,000 times, let today be the one time, at least, when the question is asked — can Jesus trust you? Because it seems to me that Jesus needs people he can trust in circumstances perhaps many of us would not choose,” Anderson said.
Jesus trusted John to write the gospel, to be his best friend and to take care of Jesus’ mother Mary after Jesus was crucified, he said. John trusted Jesus enough to walk away from his affluent lifestyle during a time of poverty and was also the only apostle to stay with Mary when Jesus was crucified, knowing that he could be next just for being associated with Jesus.
“John trusted Jesus, not knowing where it would all go, but enough to forsake prosperity and enough to risk his life,” Anderson said.
He gave another example of extraordinary trust: A group of missionaries in Burkina Faso, Africa, who continued to stay on the mission field even though they were mysteriously dying one by one with no explanation. Years later, an elderly man from the people group the missionaries were trying to reach revealed that his people had poisoned each missionary. The missionaries were martyrs, Anderson said, but they were not even aware of it and no one else knew it until many years after their deaths.
Anderson prayed for students to be trusting and trustworthy in their relationships with God.
“Who can he trust to have the dysfunctional job, the poor health? There are lots of volunteers within our Christian community who want to live faithfully with the gifts that God has given them, but who can Jesus trust to remain faithful to him no matter what the outcome may be?” Anderson said.
The NAE represents more than 40 denominations and 45,000 churches. Anderson has been senior pastor of the Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minn., since 1977.
Anderson earned his Doctor of Ministry degree from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, Ca. He also earned degrees from Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Ill., Bradley University in Peoria, Ill. and Denver Seminary in Denver, Colo. His daily radio programs, “Faith Matters” and “Faith Minute” are broadcast across the U.S. and abroad. He is the author of 10 books, including “Dying for Change,” “Praying to the God You Can Trust” and “Jesus: An Intimate Portrait of the Man, the Land, and His People.” His work has also been published in several periodicals. Anderson and his wife Charleen have four children.