When a person makes the conscious decision to fully serve the Lord Jesus Christ and then carries out that decision, they have defined being a doulos. History is full of incredible examples of those who did not just give Jesus lip service but gave Him their heart in service. Unfortunately, many of those who were committed enough to this suffered the death of a martyr.
I will have to pick back up my series on doulos a little later due to the following story that surfaced in the news media yesterday. It is one of those stories that both breaks my heart but only because I know the consequences that come with absolute commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ.
Medical workers gunned down by Taliban
Just 4 years ago I became acquainted with a medical doctor in Kentucky who willingly walked away from a lucrative practice to lead medical missionary teams to the most remote parts of Siberia in Russia. These trips, some of which were done with dog sleds, were wrought with danger both from nature as well as the politics of the area.
For a season I tried very hard to raise the funds to go on one of the summer trips because I thought what this group was doing exemplified the instructions of Jesus to take the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the Earth. Although I never was able to go on one of these trips, I supported the effort for as long as I had funds to do so.
I have had the joy and honor of sitting with many people who spent a great amount of their life as missionaries. I honestly could sit and listen for hours to the stories of what is involved in bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to third world nations, countries torn apart by war and/or ethnic cleansing or countries where "witnessing" is either forbidden or illegal. Those who literally give their lives in service to the Lord should be esteemed as the true heroes of our faith.
Although it is a nice thing how so many doctors and dentists run down to Haiti for a week and do a free clinic, it is nothing compared with those who just lost their lives in Afghanistan or who must work around the political systems in Viet Nam, Iraq and many countries in Africa. I am thankful for anyone who is willing to actually go on any type of missionary journey, but I am deeply moved by those who end up giving their lives in doing so.
With the exception of the Apostle John, all of the original Apostles were martyred for their Christian faith. Many of the original signers of the Declaration of Independence in the United States ended up being martyred for their beliefs. History is full of examples of people standing up for a worthy cause with the price of doing so being torture or death.
What has the Gospel cost us? With few exceptions the honest answer is NOTHING. Sure a few of us might have lost a couple of friends or had to put up with co-workers making fun of our beliefs, but very few of us have ever had to endure true persecution for our beliefs.
The question for today is very simply this: Does your personal Christian faith mean enough to you that if it came down to it, would you be willing to give you life for it? In other words; is your faith defined as spending an hour in church each week or is it your very life?
As we resume looking at the subject of being a doulos soon, I ask you to consider the above mentioned article as well as the questions I just posed. True Christianity is NOT a warm fuzzy feeling but in reality is a very serious matter, especially when a person has to put their faith on the line in behalf of the Gospel.