“I am living in the midst of the uncertainty and risk, amid things that can and do bring physical destruction, because I am running from things that can destroy my soul: complacency, comfort, and ignorance. I am much more terrified of living a comfortable life in a self-serving society and failing to follow Jesus than I am of any illness or tragedy.”
In 2 Kings chapter 7, the Syrians had laid siege to Samaria, the capital of Israel’s northern kingdom; food had become scarce and the economic situation desperate. No one could leave the city or come into it. The vilest remnants of food (things none of us would consider edible) sold for a small fortune and people were even reverting to cannibalism to stay fed. And around the gate lived four leprous men, outcasts of society because of their horrible and contagious disease of leprosy.
One day these lepers realized something truly profound: “Why sit we here until we die?” They figured out that if they stayed there in the city they would starve to death like everyone else; but if they left the city they might survive, providing the Syrians had mercy and let them go. They said, “If they save us alive, we shall live; and if they kill us, we shall but die.” So they abandoned Samaria and went out to the Syrian camp.
Christians today need a “leper” mentality! We are so scared of taking any risks, experiencing any hardships, suffering any pain. We would rather live in our comfortable homeland, never accomplishing anything for the Lord, than die taking the gospel to other more dangerous countries. But wait–aren’t we all going to die anyway? It all comes down to what we fear the most…death by spiritual famine or death by physical famine.
Matthew 10:28 “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
Here in America, Christians are held in a stalemate of spiritual complacency and apathy. We have allowed what vision we have to slowly shrivel, till we are doing nothing for the cause of Christ. We’re so entangled in our security blankets of money and status and family and hobbies, we can’t see what Revelation 3:17 shows to be our state: “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked…”
When those lepers of Samaria left the starving city behind them, they found the camp of the Syrian army deserted of soldiers but full of spoils. All of their enemies had fled. The threat which stood as the only reason nobody dared leave the city walls turned out to not even exist anymore. The army was gone, and had left all their horses, food, and possessions behind. Those four brave lepers were the first to claim the spoils, and they ran back to Samaria to tell others about their discovery, to let their people know that everything they needed lay just outside the gates in the enemy camp.
Our world today may be more open to the gospel than ever before. Hearts left hollow by the devastation of sin, wars, political strife, and economic struggle, are eager to be filled with the hope and cleansing only Jesus can give. Why do we linger, starving ourselves on spiritual crumbs, when all the unsearchable riches of Christ await us beyond our comfort zone? Why hesitate when the harvest is so ripe?
Mark 8: 35-36 “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my sake and the gospel’s, the same shall save it. For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”
“If I can but live and die serving the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by cannibals or by worms.”
John G. Paton
Whether safe at home or in the most remote jungle, we will all die someday. Let’s go risk something for God that makes our death worthwhile.