Re-thinking First World Living

Plunging into the Heart of the Plague

By: Susan Deborah Schiller

Today I finish driving about 2000 miles across country, from my childhood home town to my present home town. It's nice to visit the 1st World but 3rd World living is where I really love to be. There's a plague all around me, but the people are soft-hearted, open, and friendly. They want what I have to give, and they give just exactly what I need. I wonder if that's why Jesus hung out with all the "wrong" crowd… not so much because they were his "mission field" but because he ENJOYED THEM and they enjoyed Him!

We are here as much to receive as to give. Perhaps real missionaries plunge into the heart of the plague to first give honor to those who are most misunderstood and neglected. The power of honor, validation, listening, and just being a good friend is truly just as important, or more, than medical and economic support.

I had a dream long ago that pretty much tells me Jesus was not primarily a missionary but a relational king who truly loved and cared for His people. I'm really re-thinking missions these days, too…. because I believe all people, even those most down and out, have something to offer us. They are to be honored, not just "fixed". 

It was all hustle and bustle in the castle hallways as the king's men gathered to quickly confer. The King, who had been away for a very long time, was arriving suddenly. The castle was kept in immaculate, sterile and hygienic condition, always prepared for the King's possible arrival.

But the King had made an unexpected request, out of the clear blue, it seemed, and the advisers were caught unprepared. Literally. Totally. Unprepared.

"We must keep the King within the castle walls!" cried the top adviser. "Yes, there is a deadly plague going on outside the walls. He must not be exposed to the contagious, vile diseases!" concurred a second adviser.

Before they could conclude their meeting the King was suddenly in their midst. Yet they continued talking!

The King briskly took the platform and silenced the commotion. He reiterated his mission to visit his people, with a note of frustration in his firm voice. The advisers were so accustomed to being in full control, they could hardly sit and be quiet, to listen to their King.

"You don't understand how delicate of a situation this is…" piped in the top adviser.

"Oh, I understand quite well. I left you in charge of my village, didn't I? Did you not think that I would be keeping tabs on this "situation" as you call it?

Now open the gates. I am going out! I must see my people!

The advisers' jobs were on the line, for they now realized the King's true heart was for the people, not for the castle and its extensive properties and assets! With the desperation of men who knew their heads could well be on the chopping block, they rushed out the gate ahead of the King.

Shouting in a chorus of mostly male voices, "The King is coming. Make way for the King!" the advisers fanned out through the city streets, preparing the way for the King's visit.

The people raised their weary faces in hope. Could it be true? The long-awaited arrival of the King was their last hope. They were perishing! They had been languishing, just barely holding on, for centuries!

The tithes they paid to the castle, in the name of the King, had put a heavy strain on their already heavy loads.

Feebly, the sickest ones hobbled to the edge of the street, straining their eyes up the hill to the castle, hoping to catch a glimpse of the King.  But the advisers were horrified that poor, sickly people could well be in a position to touch the King. They had worked so hard making themselves look good, climbing up the corporate ladder to attain their positions of leadership.

With the efficiency born of years of overseeing the King's people, they ordered the sick people to immediately to vacate the premises. They explained the rules. Only the strongest, healthiest people could see the King's face. Each adviser carried a list of people who were allowed to see the King and who were not allowed to see the King.

At the top of the "do not see" list were the homosexuals, the disabled, the poverty-stricken, the diseased… All of these, the advisers ordered off the streets and quarantined.

Suddenly the King was charging into the village on his horse and to everyone's amazement he dismounted and entered the middle of the worst district, the very heart of the plague. It was the worst part of the village, a filthy and vile place. The advisers were alarmed.

The King would be defiled! He was not supposed to touch or have contact with anyone "unholy". Strict orders. Only holy people could see the King. It was a centuries old tradition.

Outraged, the King looked back at the advisers and cried out,

"I have come to seek and to save those who are lost. I have come to free you from the heavy loads your leaders have saddled you with!

Bring me the homosexuals, the lame, the disabled, the blind. Bring me those with broken hearts. The depressed. The beaten down. Those on death row. Bring them to me now!"

Looking back at the advisers the King declared, "I gave you ALL MY AUTHORITY to conduct the business of the Kingdom here on earth. I told you I would be gone and I would come back. Do you not yet know me??? How can it be that you missed your true purpose here in earth?

I commissioned you to go OUT to all the world, to heal the sick, to mend broken hearts, to see the captives free. But instead you created castles and moats. You separated yourselves from the masses. You made them feel less holy than you.

By now, there should no longer be any poor!

After more than 2000 years there should no longer be any victims of abuse!

If you really understood your mission, there should no longer be any sickness! It should be a CRIME to make someone sick. I have given you ALL MY AUTHORITY to stamp out poverty and oppression of all kinds. Now you have government programs actually causing HARM to my people, actually giving them food that will bring disease, pain, and death.

How could this have happened in what used to be a "Christian" nation? My people have fallen asleep.

I sent the Teacher to you to show you how to get my business done. You didn't want him to be in control. You took control and manipulated it for your own purposes. You made up your own rules. You twisted the written instructions I left behind, that is the letters you still have left, to your own advantage.

YOU are responsible for this plague… By silencing the broken ones, blaming the victims, shaming the abused you have sided with this evil. Partners in crime.

YOU are responsible for poverty, sickness, abuse, broken hearts, and the bondage that oppresses helpless victims. You are the gatekeepers. What comes through you, for good for for bad, comes to my people.

Through misinformation and the spreading of malicious propaganda you have even tried to slander my reputation. You presented a picture of me that does not bear any resemblance to me or my Kingdom.

You created a kingdom that is opposite of all I represent. You are no longer my representatives. I am selecting new ambassadors.

I am here to set things right. The first will be last, and the last will be first. I am separating my people right now, right here.

Goats on my left. Sheep on my right.

You want to know, who are the sheep?

My sheep hear my voice!

My sheep know my heart!

My sheep follow and obey me, even in the littlest of things, like offering a cup of water to a thirsty person.

They speak up for the oppressed! They set prisoners free! They don't charge for their services.

The advisers began to feel relieved and hopeful. After all, they were champions of charitable giving! They were veterans of the war on poverty!

The top adviser confidently stood next to the King, being very careful to avoid eye contact with the sinners not crowding the streets. With a puffed chest he announced how many millions his administration had given to far off ministries overseas. He pulled out his I-phone and and clicked on a video of his latest missionary adventure, showing a picture of himself next to some orphans wearing tattered clothes. At the bottom of the screen was a website with the "apostle's" name in bold letters and a donation icon right below it. Across the top of the screen was a hotline selling the latest books published by his ministry.

The King barely looked up from the young man he was holding in his arms, but his voice sliced like a knife through butter and every last person heard him as he uttered these words:

"Get out of here! Now! I never knew you. Your so-called acts of charity were not authorized by me. You were simply using my name to get more money for yourself, to line your own pockets! Now get out!"

Not a sound could be heard in the street. It was his eyes. There was fire in his eyes and fire poured from his mouth. A holy fear struck the crowd and no one said a word.

The advisers stepped quickly away and departed.

The King continued this way through the crowd, stopping most often in front of the people who were least recognized and who had endured the most abuse. Rejected. Abandoned. Betrayed. Left for dead. Lonely. Forgotten.

As each person was touched they arose, healed. They were given instructions to go and do the same.

They were not to take money for this ministry. Freely they received and freely they were to give.

All that they needed was given to them, day by day. The King told them that just as his people from centuries ago traveled through the wilderness with nothing but tents – no farms, no vineyards, no cattle and sheep – they would receive provision as they walked on The Way.

He told them, "This is the way home." Take care of the person in front of you. Meet their needs. Smile. Laugh. Tell a  joke. Make a friend. Believe and all things shall be possible to you. Just believe. Share this good news with your friends and people you meet.

I've come to give you a much-needed rest from religion. Learn from me. Watch how I do it. Then go and do the same. No heavy loads to carry.

I'm taking the heavy burden, not you.

No sickness.

I took that too.

No poverty.

You can get rid of the welfare system.

No more wars either.

You can stop building massive arms and armies.

I am here now. I'm setting things right.

I am here. I've come for my Bride.

Like me, she has been abandoned. Betrayed. Rejected. Left for dead. Like me, death can no longer hold her. She is rising up. She is using my authority to set things right. I will never leave again, dear friends."

Note to readers: This story comes from a dream I had many years ago – a dream so "real" that I have not forgotten a single detail… most of all, the FEELING of the dream. The feeling of God's heart for his people, His friends, his bride.

I was one of the advisers when I had this dream (sigh…) … I was one of those Christians who believed in keeping themselves separate from the world. I worked hard inside the "castle". I was sincere. I was zealous. I was wrong.

God plunged me into the heart of the plague, causing me to be homeless, loveless, and nearly lifeless… until I was adopted into a home and loved back to life by the least likely people of all. First I had to unlearn all that Christianity had taught me, to discover the truth.

Truth well worth contemplating: Ezekiel 34 ~ Matthew 24-25 ~ Matthew 11 ~ Micah 6 ~ Isaiah 61

Learn to do good. Seek justice. Arrest oppressors. Defend orphans. Plead the case of widows." (Isaiah 1:17)

And that, to me, is plunging into the heart of the plague!

My Full Story     What I Believe    Contact Me

With all my love,


Susan Schiller knows how it feels to lose everything: marriage and family, church and reputation, finances and businesses, and more. Susan's upcoming, interactive memoir, "On the Way Home," tells the story of how she came to be known as "the most abused woman" her counselors had yet met and how she learned to navigate to freedom and fullness.  
Today Susan helps people write their life stories, unearthing the treasures of their past and sowing them into their future, creating new family legacies.

Copyright © 2010 to 2015 Team Family Online, All rights reserved.   For reprint permission or for any private or commercial use, in any form of media, please contact Susan Schiller

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron October 5, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Pretty powerful stuff Susan. The topic of Religion has been on my heart lately too.


Susan McKenzie October 6, 2012 at 9:12 am

That’s because your heart is in tune with the heart of our Messiah, Jesus…. you are a man after His heart, Ron – thanks for sharing today 🙂


jenny Shain October 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Preach it sister! When Christians stand up & deliver God's power through redemptive powers of love & spiritual gifts- THE WORLD CHANGES!!!
This is a timely message sister. KEEP BRINGING THE TRUTH!


Olga Hermans October 4, 2012 at 11:19 am

This is such a detailed story Susan of how we all should get up and fight for what is on the inside of us and protect it with everything we have and to be a light where people are in darkness


Susan McKenzie October 4, 2012 at 9:29 am

I am not opposed to large organizations or churches. I'm not opposed to missionaries going overseas (I desire to do so!)… my perspective in this article is birthed in having been part of "inner circle" meetings and witnessing the true motivation of many ministers. Firsthand. Not hidden, but out in the open… well accepted by many. Big names, small names. The more I network with others and listen to their stories, the more I realize this darkness is very common, no matter what religion, denomination, or faith background.

I'm the kind of person who has most often just looked at the positive side of life… always seeing the positive in people. I don't intentionally look for the dark side. But having done that for over 30-years, I find it hasn't helped anyone at all.

Embracing the truth sets people free. Speaking up for justice helps. Otherwise we all fall asleep if no one raises their voice.

I want to write all the "good" and "warm" and "comfy" stories… and I do… but there are some things on my heart that I truly feel God wants me to share, right out of my own diaries. I'm exposing the darkness that has been in my own heart, and perhaps it will help someone else to dare do the same… not to glorify darkness, but to expose it. To loosen its grip. To rid it out of our lives. To wake up. To embrace reality.

I hope that makes sense…


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