“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
This past December, I befriended a pastor in South Asia. “John” and I met on what I refer to as “Christian Twitter.” I will not divulge his actual name or his exact location in order to keep him and his family safe. However, I desire to share my experience with John’s family as they have deeply moved me. Christ’s light has reflected around the world to impact this believer personally.
Contentment in the Simple Things
I had the pleasure of meeting John, his wife, and four children on video. Even though the family shares a one-room house, they are content and thankful. After my initial conference with them, I commented to a fellow churchgoer here in Austin that I could actually see the light of Christ in their faces. They are not spoiled by Western culture conveniences. No cynicism exists within their household.
Taking Risks for Christ
From their dwelling, the family distributes food and Bibles to the local community. According to John, about three hundred Christians live together in the neighborhood. I have learned through my own research that John’s city is full of persecution. Christians are routinely lynched in his immediate area. While John exercises efforts to keep his family safe, his dedication to Jesus is unfazed. He desires to preach the Word of God and distribute Scripture. I have witnessed the family’s effective ministry through pre-recorded and live videos.
Faith Like Children
In Matthew 18:3-5, Jesus states, “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” As I think about John‘s family, I comprehend the childlike faith referenced by Jesus. With minimal conveniences, they rely on God to keep them safe and to prosper their ministry. Their joy in the Lord keeps them productive, and they follow His will regardless of circumstances.
Encouragement for a Westerner
I would like to think that I have been an encouragement to John and his family, but the truth is they have given me more motivation than I have ever experienced in my adult Christian life. Their Christian walk in a region where martyrdom is common expresses God’s glory. I have assessed my complacency, and I am reinvigorated. I want to thank my South Asian brothers and sisters for reflecting the light of Christ. And finally, I am amazed how God has shown me His light through other believers on the other side of the world. To God be the Glory!
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified nor dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.
At that time the disciples came to Jesus and said, "Who then is greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" And He called a child to Himself and set him before them, and said, "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
And after they had preached the gospel to that city and had made a good number of disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, “It is through many tribulations that we must enter the kingdom of God.”
1 Thessalonians 5:9-11
For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.