Mind of the Missionary
“For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.”
Recently, I finished reading Charles Sheldon’s book, In His Steps. I saw it in the PBA library and had always wanted to read it, but never had the opportunity. It is a fictional story of Raymond First Church, and its encounter with a gentleman who appeared at the end of its worship service asking questions of the congregation. This stranger asked some startling questions from the pastor’s message that morning. First, “if what you call following Jesus is the same thing as what He taught…what did He mean when He said: ‘Follow Me!’?”. Second, “What do you mean when you sing, ‘I’ll go with Him, with Him, all the way?’ Do you mean that you are suffering and denying yourselves and trying to save lost, suffering humanity just as I understand Jesus did?”.
The pastor gave a challenge to the congregation the next Sunday to ask themselves the question, “What would Jesus do?” for an entire year. Those who were serious would come to the fellowship hall of the church and begin the journey. On that first Sunday, more than 50 individuals took up the challenge. The book follows the lives of some of those persons and shows the blessings and the consequences of their decision.
I’d like to share one of those stories with you. Mr. Alexander Powers was the railroad superintendent. It was a very lucrative job with much status in the Raymond community. Upon seeing the situation of his workers, he decided to make a nice break area for the men to enjoy during lunch and other free times during their work day. Also, he asked the local pastor to come and share the Bible with them.
Everything seemed to be going quite well for Mr. Powers until one day he found a letter on his desk addressed to him. It contained a document that proved that his railroad company was in violation of the Interstate Commerce Laws of the United States. Mr. Powell now had a very difficult decision to make. Would he do as Jesus? Or would he not do anything to keep his job and status in the community and with his family? Mr. Powers chose to do as Jesus would. It cost him his job and his status in the community. His family was furious with him for making such a decision.
I remember the “WWJD” movement in the 90s and early 2000s. Did it have an effect and transformational change on our society? Overall, no, it didn’t. Why? Because a phrase can’t do anything unless we, as believers, are willing to live it out. Mr. Powers faced a real dilemma…go along with the crowd or lose everything for Christ. He chose to lose everything for Christ. Are we, am I, willing to lose everything for Christ?