For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near.
On the last day of an Open Doors seminar in South Africa, students shared how they thought the church should prepare for persecution. One man shared his son’s story and its impact:
It was at the time when the pupils rioted, burning schools, churches, shopping centers, town councilors’ houses, and mercilessly attacking anyone whom they regarded as a ‘sell-out.’
Each morning his sturdy, neatly dressed, thirteen-year-old Christian son wound his way through the mounds of rubble towards school, amidst the mocking of other youths wandering the smoke-filled streets. Later he would walk home while the teachers, frightened by the threatening mobs, locked themselves in their homes.
One particular morning, after the family devotions, his parents watched as he walked off to school. At the school grounds, a mob blocked the gate. He walked undeterred through the gate and greeted them with a nod and a friendly smile.
He was in the center of the mob when they closed in around him, blocking any further progress. One older gang leader, tall and powerfully built, grabbed the strap of his school bag and pulled him to a standstill. He glared at him and growled, “As a Christian, you have always been on time for school, never late, never missing a day. You have always been praised by those ‘sell-out’ teachers for knowing and doing your schoolwork in spite of our revolutionary slogan, ‘liberation now, education later.’ Today, you will have to decide for our revolution or else.”
“I have decided to have nothing to do with your revolution,” the boy replied unwaveringly. He remembered what his father taught on compromise in times of persecution.
With a curse, the bully pushed him backwards into the mob. Blows rained on him, and he tried in vain to ward it off, then a knife flashed in the sun, a second, and a third. Hours later, a policeman knocked on the door of his parent’s home.
The father still lives in that house and preaches the love of Christ to the same community. Peace has returned to the township, but hardly a day passes without a passer-by or a message scribbled on the garden wall, reminding him of that day.
The father says, “I greet them and smile at them in the hope that the testimony of my life and my willingness to forgive will eventually carry the light of Christ into their hearts, replacing the spirit of bitterness darkening their lives. I know by going back there to train the church leaders, I am at risk of my life being ‘poured out like a drink offering’ just like the apostle Paul.”
RESPONSE: Today, I will not live in fear nor compromise my faith no matter what Satan throws at me.
PRAYER: Pray for courage for those whose lives today may be poured out like a drink offering.
Standing Strong Through The Storm (SSTS), a daily devotional message by SSTS author Paul Estabrooks. © 2011 Open Doors International. Used by permission.
On the last day of an Open Doors seminar in South Africa, students shared how they thought the church should prepare for persecution.