By Derek Poole
As Americans, it can be difficult for us to know what freedom means. For most of us, it is rarely threatened. But the more I speak with our ambassadors, missionaries, and World Radio speakers, the more I learn about the struggles people face every day in other parts of the world.
Recently, we were visited by Larry and Cathy Bowles, as well as the Turkish missionaries whose stories we’ve featured in this newsletter. It’s difficult for me to articulate how impactful their work is, because I cannot be present in their respective parts of the world. But what I can say is that I came away from these missionaries feeling enlightened, awestruck, and blessed. Asee Darla (our South Asia ambassador) visited us in November, and I had a similar experience then, too.
There are so many cultural issues, powerful social pressures, and religious/political agendas at play. Sharing your beliefs with another has its own set of obstacles here at home, but it’s unfathomable to me that simple, basic rights are constantly being denied to millions of people every day. However, I find it encouraging that there are countless men and women who are willing to do and give so much for the sake of truth. The work being done in Greece and Turkey is literally changing the world. This gives me hope. Could something like that happen here? Could we change the course of our culture?
Of course we can.
I read an article recently by Matt Walsh describing situations for Christians in the East and the West. In the East, he says, Christians lose their lives, while in the West they lose their souls.
By this, he means that we’ve become distracted; lulled to sleep. And for many of us, that’s true. It’s easy to get caught up in the media storm, in politics, in consumerism and material consumption. And as for me as a graphic designer, I’m exposed to this perhaps a little bit more than most. All the images, words, and noise thrown at you every day are designed to make you pay special attention to it and come back for more.
Walsh writes that:
Our faith is stagnant and stale. We don’t cling desperately to God. We cling to other things: our jobs, our relationships, our ambitions, our friends, our hobbies, our phones, our pets. We don’t even think of Him most of the time. We make no attempt to conform our lives to His commandments or to walk the narrow path that Christ forged for us. We are too busy for all that, we say, and it’s inconvenient.
I say let us be free of these temptations. For us in America, the struggle is far different than it is for our kin in other parts of the world, but it is a struggle all the same.
So, how do we accomplish this? Invest less in yourself, and more in others. It’s what we’re called to do. Whenever we’re sucked into our phones, or a TV, or whatever latest story our media is spinning, there’s no fruit being produced. We’re absorbed in our own little world.
Invest in whatever bears fruit. Once you think about it, it’s easy to see what does and what doesn’t. Live selflessly, love others, give, be compassionate—all without any thought of reward or compensation, but keep in mind that this is not a check list. The bottom line is to pursue Jesus at all costs—only then can you be truly free.
Source: Walsh, Matt. (2018, January 18). Christians In The East Lose Their Lives, While Christians In The West Are Losing Their Souls. Retrieved from https://www.dailywire.com/news/26059/persecuted-christians-matt-walsh