On Thursday, July 27, nearly a dozen religious leaders were arrested inside the U.S. Capitol praying and protesting a budget that they believe would balance itself on the backs of the poor. Previously a similar group met with President Obama lobbying for the same message.
It’s an interesting take believing that religious leaders would depend on the government to provide charity to the poor.
While James 1:27 does say that true religion is caring for widows and orphans, there is no reference in Christ’s teaching or elsewhere in Scripture that calls for the government to do so. Still, these groups mean well and it’s hard to argue with their passion or their concern for the less fortunate.
Annually thousands of Catholics and Evangelicals march on Capitol Hill lobbying for and praying for the Roe v. Wade abortion decision to be overturned.
In their quest to fight for what they believe to be right, these believers give up a part of their freedom and their time. At least temporarily. But while they suffered some discomfort and inconvenience, could we really say that they suffered for their faith?
Throughout Christianity, men and women have been forced to suffer and even die for their faith. Like Christ, eleven of his disciples suffered a violent death. The stories of early Christians being fed to the lions are legendary. But while those early stories about; the reality is that in the last 100 years more followers of Christ have been killed for their faith than in all the previous centuries combined.
In part this is simply because there are more Christians in the world than ever before. But that’s not an explanation for everything that we’ve witnessed. In many parts of the world there is still a fierce, violent determination to eliminate all who call on the name of Jesus Christ. Sometimes this is driven by atheism, sometimes from other religious groups.
The latest news reports from Voice of the Martyrs tell us that ninety Christians have been arrested in Eritrea in the last two months, as authorities continue a campaign against Christians that began in December and that in China house church pastor Shi Enhao was sentenced to two years in a labor camp last month.
American Christians often think that their rights are being eroded. And perhaps it’s true. But just because the ACLU doesn’t care for your plastic Baby Jesus lawn ornament, or because they fight to keep the Ten Commandments out of schools, there’s no real argument that American believers are being persecuted.
That day may yet come. It certainly is around the world.
If you are a follower of Christ, are you prepared to make that ultimate sacrifice? It’s likely you’ll never be called to do so. But, what if you are?
Jim Elliot was a missionary to the Waodani people of Ecuador. Along with four others, Elliot was killed by the people he sought to evangelize. His wife and family later returned and built a relationship with the Waodani. Their story is told in the movie End of the Spear.
Elliot is most often known for this statement: “He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Perhaps to some the protestors on the Hill seem foolish. Even more those who surrender their very lives.
Jim Elliot knew the real value of that sacrifice. Do you?