Pictured to the right is pastor Youcef Nadarkhani convicted in Iran for the crime of apostasy as he refused to deny his faith in Christ. Oh those peace loving guys! If only he would recant his faith, then there would be lots of peace – you could choke on how much peace you’d have. But no, he had to go and have courage and conviction and now he has to be made into an example. No peace for you!
This morning in our office devotions, one of our staff read some excerpts from William Carey’s biography. William Carey stepped out in faith to trust God for the salvation of the people of India. He left everything he knew and gave up nearly everything he had to follow God to the mission field.
One of his companions on this trip was an enthusiastic partner in mission by the name of Dr. Thomas. This doctor proved to be a great encouragement to the Carey’s especially while in transit on board the ship.
The problem started when they landed though. Dr. Thomas, the story lays out, wasn’t comfortable living meagerly. He continued to find himself tempted by the luxurious life of the British citizens, and though he came with great enthusiasm to reach the people of India, he found himself more drawn to live with the British.
The end result was that Dr. Thomas allowed the allure of luxury and status to derail him from accomplishing the mission he once felt called to and in the end, through self-centered financial dealings, he did much harm to the work of William Carey.
William Carey for his part was super gracious even though he had a right to be angry and even embittered at his untrustworthy partner. I am grateful for that because I wonder how Dr. Thomas can sometimes look like myself.
It is pretty easy to settle down and find a life that isn’t in itself bad but ultimately reflects a lack of commitment to the mission at hand. It’s easy to go through life, doing Christian things but keeping my focus on the temporal and not the eternal.
I think it requires us to fight to keep our perspective on what’s important in life. 2 Corinthians 4 instructs us to walk by faith and not by sight as it reminds us that sight is tricky because the things we see are of no lasting value but it’s actually the things that we don’t see that really matter. So, Paul concludes, we fix our eyes, not on what is seen, but for what is unseen.
When I think about our brother in Iran, blindfolded (we walk by faith and not by sight) with 2 armed guards and a noose, still not yielding – still holding fast to his faith and convictions. I am reminded about what it looks like to fight and to live for things of ultimate value.
It takes a fight to not be distracted by those pesky things we can see. And it takes a fight to be able to live in light of things that we just can’t see.
How are you fighting to stay on mission?