HT (Hat Tip) to Rob Martin for posting another thought provoking link to facebook. Reading the first part of this blog (called In the Cubicle Next Door) reminded me of how easy I really do have it! The story of one man’s impact on the nation of India. What really got me was where this man places the credit:
“Kumar…I don’t get it. We made a quantum leap in your story. 45 people decide to follow Jesus, and now more than 100 thousand. Wha…? How…?”
We sit at our table in our hotel room, and Kumar starts laughing. I laugh, too! — and then, I realize, he’s not laughing. He’s crying, and he can’t speak.
“So many have died…”
Who has died?
“So many of our pastors, so many of our people…”
I look at Woody, who knows the stories, and he bites his lip and nods.
“They are beaten to death, they are killed, because they are talking about Jesus. It happens all the time in India, but the country is very concerned about image, very concerned about foreign investment, they pretend it doesn’t happen.
“They are the reason this growth has happened. Their blood. I ask God, ‘Why do you let this happen to these people who love you?’ They have nothing. Our pastors are not paid. There is no money. But I realized, God is releasing them, at last. They have nothing, they are beaten, they are hungry, they live on the ground, in the streets, and God finally releases them to go home.”
Pause. And I can’t talk, either.
Wow. Is the reason that Christianity in America is so often characterized by consumerism and complacency the fact that we haven’t faced the challenges that our brothers and sisters in India face? Here, the decision to follow Christ is not usually one that causes us to risk our lives. Too often we are afraid of being unpopular, or having people think that we are crazy. We don’t want to give up our stuff, or our desire for more stuff. Go hungry for the sake of others? Endure beatings? Give up our homes and comfort? Not too many of us would willingly sign up for that.
Does this make our faith more shallow? What if following Christ in this country was harder? Would our faith be deeper and more resilient? I really hope that this is not what it will take. I want my life to model the same sold-out commitment we see in our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. I want to have the same level of self-sacrifice, without the external requirement for it. I want to be looking for ways that I can use the gifts I have been given to reach out and bless others. How can I use my resources to extend the influence of Christ around me?
Again, I hope that the blood of martyrs in the US is not required, but I want the kingdom expanded, whatever it takes. I want us as Christians to continue to model the life of Christ more and more every day. And let me be clear, I do not endorse violent resistance to anyone. Fighting violence with violence is not modeling the life and death of our Messiah. Our Messiah, and those martyrs in India, are enduring beatings, and death, for the sake of the gospel. They are not going out looking for a fight, or resisting their persecutors with violence. May we model the life of Christ, and His death, by praying for those who persecute us, and loving our enemies.