Who do you admire? Who inspires you and spurs you on in the faith?
Maybe big name Christian speakers who are known the world over? Or incredibly influential Christians with loads of followers on Twitter? What about people who have been a part of massive moves of the Spirit? Or people who feature in modern day adventures, touching the lives of thousands, speaking to hundreds of thousands and challenging them deeply?
Inspired by the nameless
I have found deep and profound inspiration from the lives of a nameless few. In fact, I know only small details, not all belonging to one specific person.
When I first became a Christian I read a book by d.c. Talk called Jesus Freaks. A collection of stories, Jesus Freaks tells the tales of people whose faith got them killed, whose resolute love of Christ had them murdered in horrific ways. I had never heard of a martyr before I read this book, but something about these stories showed me what true faith was.
These are the people who knew Christ's sufferingsânot just the spiritual or emotional, but physical sufferings. They watched as their houses were burnt down, and their families were murderedâin some cases raped. These people admirably dug their heels into the ground, remaining strong as they endured unimaginable torture.
These men and women watched their families die that Christ might be glorified. They never gave up. They looked death in the face and sang songs of praise. These are people who hugged their executioners, blessed them, and embraced deathâthat they might sooner be with Christ in eternity.
These people remind me of a simple imperative, a core truth. The Gospel is worth more than our lives, for it is the power and love of a Suffering King. It is the only way we might see salvation, and it's held in the palm of His hand.
These people kept their gaze fixed on Christ, and they gave their hearts with total abandon to Him. They were so infatuated with Jesus that death was a relief, and a glorious privilege if delivered because of their faith in Him. They were not willing to back down; they were not willing to give up.
They refused to disgrace His name, they trusted with everything within them, so much so that they freely gave their lives.
Pointing to Jesus in life and death
These people remind me of Jesus. They remind me of my temporary residency, sojourning through a world that will one day fade away. They freely endured pain now, because they saw a city approaching where death would fade into a distant memory. They were headed toward a kingdom where tears would no longer flow.
These people are my heroes.
I do not know most of their names, and those whose names I do know, would protest my naming them, lest the attention be taken from Christ. My heart swells and my spirit stirs deep within me when I think of these unsung souls who gave themselves to Christ so fully, so totally, that they might truly know Him.
See, those who have seen hordes of people come to Christ in a day are reaping fruit that they did not sow. The big names and world influencers are enjoying the rewards of those who left this life behind in violence and suffering. Today's heroes are to be commended for their faithfulness, of course, but honour ought to be credited where it is due.
How fitting and completely beautiful, that those whose lives would seemingly warrant honour remain unnamedâso that Christ might get it all.
Don't be encouraged by those who have witnessed to thousands, unless you acknowledge the bloody soil that they stand on.
Benjamin James' previous articles may be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/benjamin-james.html