I’ve commented on the Perch recently about how the Lord has been dealing with me regarding trials and tribulations. I’m well aware that whatever I go through is pie compared to most people in this world. I’m blessed beyond description, and a bum shoulder is a minor thing compared to what the majority of people in the world endure.
Tonight at church, I was reminded of just how wide that gap can be. Our pastor taught on Revelation 2:8-11, regarding the persecution of the believers in Smyrna (modern day Turkey). In the passage, Jesus is telling the church that they will suffer persecution. The Christian in Smyrna was decidedly in the minority, as Smyrna was the center of Emperor worship in the Roman empire. The people were the poorest of the poor.
Our pastor then related to us what is currently going on in India, specifically in the Orissa province. There, Hindu radicals are persecution our brothers and sisters in ways we can’t imagine. Churches are being burned, houses of professing Christians are destroyed, pastors are murdered or maimed, believers are beaten, raped, and even murdered. All for professing faith in Christ. He had pictures sent to him from a pastor in the area, which he shared. One pastor, whom our pastor met in November while in India, had his throat slit, but not enough to kill him. Just enough to warn him. The scar was at least 6 inches long. You won’t find this stuff on CNN. If there is any mention of the uproar there, it is masked under the guise of political upheaval. Google “Persecution of Christians in Orissa India” and see what you find.
I’m writing this to myself, as well as to anyone who might read this: it’s time to start preaching the Gospel. It’s time to start living our faith openly. It’s time to quit hiding behind the guise of “I’m living my faith…they can see it in me.” Let’s call a spade a spade. We don’t talk about Christ as we should because we’re afraid of being ridiculed. We’re afraid of what people will think about us. What else can it be? I mean, it’s not a crime in this country to preach the Gospel (yet), but how many of us do it? When is the last time you asked someone if they know Jesus, or that He died that they might have life?
I ask this, again, because I’m the same way. It’s easy for me to worship in church and talk about Jesus to my friends and on this blog…it’s a whole ‘nother thing to go out and boldly proclaim the Gospel. Here in America, where we are, Christian or not, blessed beyond compare, we have neutered the Gospel’s power, and therefore Christ’s power, behind a veil of politically correctness and job security.
And meanwhile, our brothers and sisters in China, India, Africa, and elsewhere are “resisting to the point of bloodshed” in their walk with the Lord. And I was whining about a broken collarbone.
Lord, give your church the courage to preach the Gospel wherever she may be. Give me the courage to stand for You.