-Aby A. Kurien
I heard a story from one of my teacher in Seminary, which was like this.
Once there lived a man named ‘CHRISTIAN WITNESS’ somewhere in the place called ‘WORLD’. He was loved by his father named ‘GOD’. One day his father said, “I am going to a faraway place and if you want to come and meet me, you can cross the sea called ‘LIFE’ and come to my place which is HEAVEN”. CHRISTIAN WITNESS thought that now it’s the time to meet the father. But, when he saw the sea, he got frightened because it was full of high tides. He was tensed, but his elder brother named ‘CHRIST’ came for his help. They built a huge ship which they named, ‘GOSPEL OF GRACE’, to withstand all the Tides of Life and the sailor was the Christ himself. Now CHRISTIAN WITNESS was very happy with the thought of meeting his father soon. But, a person named ‘CARNAL MAN’ came to him and showed interest in buying the ship. He being a nice person sold that ship with much profit and built 2 more with it. He again named both the ships as ‘GOSPEL OF GRACE’. As soon as the ships were ready, again came two men named, ‘SINNER’ and ‘WRETCHED’ and showed their interest in buying the ships. He sold those ships and gained as much profit to make 4 more. CHRISTIAN WITNESS thought it was a good business and decided to remain in this world to continue it. From then onwards, he set up his business of selling Gospel of Grace in the World, started living a lavish life and never reached Heaven to meet his Father, whereas his father is still waiting for him to return. When Christ reaches there to drop other passengers, Father inquires about his younger one. Christ consoles him by saying that his younger sibling will return soon.
I know it’s sad, but a reality. Many times, we forget about what we are called for. Many have wrong notion about Christians and Christianity. Christ never initiated a religion during his life. After His ascension to His Father, society named the followers of Christ as ‘Christians’ (Acts 11:26). So, the prime quality of a Christian is that he/she must be a follower of Christ and his commands. And the last command given by Christ is to be a WITNESS (Acts 1:8). The strong notion prevalent today is that being a Christian means- Speaking fluent English, Lavish meals whole day, Wardrobe filled with expensive clothes, many Automobiles in the Lobby and Bank Balance touching the mark of 8-digits. Seeing the fantasy created by the society about Christianity, many chose to follow it. But, nowhere in the Bible we can find such promises by God. If they were so, then Christ’s disciples would be the Billionaires. But we all know that history portrays another story about them. Real Christianity is being His Witness in daily life. As it is clearly mentioned in Isaiah 43:10, “You are my witnesses, says the Lord, my servants whom I have chosen to know and believe in me and understand that I am the Lord.” But despite knowing the truth, we close our eyes from realities and follow the trends of the era. We try to infuse many of our desires with the Christian truths and end up making rules that will only satisfy personal beings. Such rules will decide whether the person is a Good Christian or not. But can anyone tell me, who gave them the permission to decide my Spiritual level with their measuring rod? Problem is, many try to view Christianity as a Religion. But, it was never a religion, it is always about relationship- Relationship between Father and Son, Relationship between Sinner and Redeemer, Relationship between Creator and Creation, Relationship between God and Human.
My aim here is to put forth my view that Christians are supposed to be the witnesses of Christ redeeming power in their daily lives. As it is clearly mentioned in 1 Peter 2: 12, “Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God”. I was born to Pentecostal Parents, where my father hails from the Brethren background and my mother from the Marthomite. Till my baptism, I was thinking that I am a Christian because my parents are so. But during my baptism classes, Pastor once asked, ‘If I am saved?’ I was like, ‘How can he ask me such a funny question, when he already knows me since I was born?’ But later on he explained, that it meant by a personal encounter with Jesus. I realised that I need to be saved. Paul is the perfect example for this. He had a divine encounter at the road to Damascus. As soon as he realised that he is now saved, he took up the responsibility of being the witness of God’s redeeming activity amongst the people of vivid caste, colour, creed and ethnic group. Witnessing is not always a part of our ‘comfort zone’. It’s a human tendency to remain in the safe zones and end up building ships and selling them. Remaining in the comfort zone will bring lots of eye-glittering offers with which we can live happily in this world. But never forget an old proverb which says, “A Ship is safe in Harbour, but that’s not what ships are for.”
Jesus said, “Everyone who acknowledges me before others, the Son of Man will acknowledge before the angels of God. But whoever denies me before others will be denied before the angels of God.” (Luke 12:8-9) We have a responsibility to be the witnesses of Christ Jesus, not just verbally but also with our lives. Being a living witness can be easier than witnessing verbally, but we are called for both. Let us shed away all our wrong notions and doings, and be the forerunners of the true Christianity in our generation and for future as well. Let us keep a good testimony for God and for generations to come. Otherwise, they will only testify that he/she was busy building and selling ‘CHRIST’S GOSPEL OF GRACE’.