‘Be not content to merely look upon atrocities’

What if God asked you to take your family to Afghanistan and to get involved in helping the people rebuild their country?

‘But he wouldn’t do that’ I hear some of you say.

Why not?

Sure, there are plenty of sane, sensible and logical reasons that I could offer. I reckon I could pose a pretty good argument for ‘not going’ but none of those reasons stack up at all alongside a compelling sense of the spirit’s leading.

Some of you will know Phil who blogs at Itinerant Indigent and who is yet again travelling back to this place with his wife and kids to love, serve and help the people who live there.

Personally I have found Phil’s journey to be an inspiration and a prophetic challenge to all of us who call ourselves followers of Jesus and live in these comfortable suburban streets. The word ‘apostle’ gets bandied about pretty carelessly at times, but here’s a bloke who embodies the courage, devotion and sense of ‘sentness’ that I believe needs to pulse thru the veins of every person with that gift/calling.

If you’re interested to know why someone would do that then you need to check out Phil’s latest post as he explains why this is their choice at this time. Here’s an excerpt:

‘When Christ calls a man, he bids him “Come and die” ‘. Thus said Bonhoeffer, and while he meant it in a spiritual sense – that is, the death of one’s private ego and aspirations – I think he also meant it literally. And as it turned out for Bonhoeffer, it was a literal and a spiritual command. I suppose it could turn out that way for us. We are ok with that. Shouldn’t anyone of faith be ok with that? Jesus, whom I follow, called people – anyone who listened – to abandon security and safety and the protection of their own life. Heck, we are going to die anyway, and who says my life is so tremendously significant that I ought to fiercely protect it? ‘Ahhh’, you say, ‘but you have children now. Fine to go and die for your dreams, but what about them?’ Good point. For what it is worth, the kids are very happy to be going back to Afghanistan. They are looking forward to the TVs on the plane, they tell me. And if I tell them to live lives of committed faith, but fail to do so myself, isn’t that some kind of hypocrisy?

That is not meant to sound trite, or cheap. It is simply that it is easy to turn away from atrocity and hardship: that is in fact the mantra for modern living – ‘take it easy, enjoy, relax, you deserve it.’ This is a particularly powerful message as you get older, when you are supposed to be settling down and end your youthful adventuring. ‘Let someone else go to Afghanistan’, is a message we have heard many times in the last months.

Go well my friend.

Our world (and especially our churches) need many more of your ilk to challenge the messages of comfort and security we are fed daily and to be reminded that our lives are not our own.

2 thoughts on “‘Be not content to merely look upon atrocities’

  1. I totally agree with you and I am convicted by Phil’s willingness to leave all to follow the Lord into the mission field for souls, no matter the cost. My wife and I have a website, http://cheapmissionstrips.com that is designed to encourage Christians to consider getting out of their comfort zone and go into all the world and preach the gospel. Jesus said that no one has left anything in this world for His sake and the gospel who will not receive much more in this life and in the life to come, eternal life! Thank you for spurring me on to love and good deeds!


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