When was the last time you heard of someone witnessing like this:
Pick up your cross/noose/electric chair and follow me. Die daily. Sell all your worldly possessions and follow me. If you choose to say that Christ is Lord you will not know a moment’s peace the rest of your days which will be few by the way.
The apostles were such evangelists. And they then suffered the fate that they warned about. They were persecuted, beaten and ultimately killed. Only John died a natural death. The rest were crucified, burned, stoned and beheaded.
Should we give the gospel this way? Would anyone believe us? Most obstacles to conversion — besides complete apathy — are that mild embarrassment it might cause them among their friends and family.
Count the Cost, Lose Your Life
What stories would we as 21st century Christians give that might enlighten them as to the perils of such a decision? We have no stories because we don’t live in such a way as to cause the enemy to fight back. If we did, we would be persecuted and in very serious ways. Stand up to the intrusiveness of the state in matters of the home and see how long you remain out of jail. Challenge your company’s policies on doing business with sleezy characters and see how long you keep your job. Confront your relatives on their sin and see how long before the dinner invitations cease.
It’s a paradox like so many of the biblical concepts we try to hold on to at the same time. If you want to gain your life you must lose it. We modern evangelicals tend to sell a very watered down product at a very inexpensive price. But the pearl is of great price and the cost may be everything we have. Put that on the marquee and you’ll get the minimum of window shoppers dropping in.
This post was first published in Every Thought Captive magazine, 2009.