The Light of Life Magazine
A ministry of Christian writing




July 2009
I AM NOT ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL


M. P. K. Kutty

A Tamil Brahmin boy, just 19, was invited by his Christian friend, who played cricket with him, to his home. There he and his sister said a five-minute prayer for him. The boy was impacted by the blessing and the intercession. Around two decades later, the teenager, who had attained some professional standing, knowledge of world's ways and wealth, wrote his testimony in the October 27, 2008 edition of the weekly news magazine, Outlook. It wasn't the most striking testimony one read about recently. And it is not the custom of secular magazines to give space for news about the transforming work of Jesus Christ in the hearts of people. Yet Anand Mahadevan's deposition provoked wide and wild reactions like no other testimony of God's miracle working power active in men.

Transformation

In the believers' circles, there is no surprise over some one like Anand making a confession of his conversion. It keeps happening all the time in the lives of the intellectual, the rich, the smart and the noble-not necessarily in the poor, the illiterate and the evil. God is at work. When He is at work, the blind sees, the deaf hears, the hopeless become radiant with faith, drunkards and murderers give up their ways becoming do-gooders, incurable diseases get healed in answer to mere prayer, Bible-burning enemies of the Gospel turn into preachers, glamour queens and wealthy tycoons repent of sinful living turning new leaves, merchants of miseries turn into benefactors of mankind… one can go on.

But don't expect the media to sing happily or even take notice of such transformations. It keeps happening all the time. However, the same media, daily and constantly lists all those conditions of man and his wickedness calling for a radical transformation! And it thrills my heart to hear of the amazing ways of God with men and women in our times and in this land.

Anand Mahadevan was in Delhi recently and spoke to an interested audience about bearing witness to Christ in the workplace and also on being a missionary in the market place. 'I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ,' the Tamil Brahmin from Chennai and editor of Outlook Business echoed the words of St. Paul, leaving no one in doubt as to the priorities in his life. Elaborating his theme, he said, at the work place, the Christian is not called upon to preach, but to excel in work. The Christian has to be a Christian in the Spirit and not attempt to be an evangelist in disguise. His values must be evident in the way he relates to people and conducts himself in his day-to-day affairs.

There is a verse in the Bible which clearly lays down what is expected of us: "Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; and do it not only when their eye is on you and to win their favour, but with sincerity of heart and reverence for the Lord. Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving" (Col. 3:22-24).

Elaborating his theme, he says work is part of our worship of God and not for furthering selfish ambition or pleasing bosses. Our conduct must be worthy of the Gospel. Committed Christians may form cell groups in the workplace and pray regularly for matters concerning the work place and their role in standing for the values of the Kingdom. What is more, they have access to places and people to which the Pastors and Gospel ministries cannot reach.

In the past, evangelical efforts had concentrated among the poor. Some work has gone on to reach the middle class. But the business and professional class, as also the leadership class of the nation, remain untouched by the Gospel. Of course, the Christian message is particularly addressed to the poor and the oppressed, and most of the missionary efforts were directed towards the poor and the needy.

Several hurdles are in evidence in reaching out to the educated and prosperous class: there is the impression that only the poor, the low caste and the illiterate choose the Christian faith; the educated and the affluent do not. Further, Christianity is considered a foreign religion and a campaign has gone on alleging that conversions are effected through fraudulent means, by promising jobs and other material benefits!

Right from ancient times, an impression has gained ground that it is unpatriotic and sinful to leave one's religion and embrace another. In short, tradition is to be obeyed unquestioningly and to subject one's traditional faith to reason is unpardonable. The writings of Mahatma Gandhi, Vivekananda and such like even viewed with disfavour activities of the missionaries, however divine and laudable their contribution to the uplift of the poor and deliverance of the ignorant from superstitions and meaningless rituals. Sometimes, the learned and the famous can be grossly illogical. God hides from the wise, what He reveals to babes! Yet, over the years, many have crossed the barriers and shown courage to respond to God's call.

The Bible clearly lays down that God is the one (the Holy Spirit ) who converts and transforms the hearts of people. No one can say 'Jesus is Lord' without the help of the Holy Spirit, declares the Bible. The opponents of the Gospel do not agree.

Anand said the plethora of reactions received after publication of his story in Outlook was amazing. He had gone on writing for 15 years; but no piece of writing had evoked such an avalanche of letters. Outlook issue dated November 10, 2008 carried a wide variety of opinions as a reaction to the testimony. Human nature has not changed and we can be sure that men's reactions are bound to follow a certain pattern whenever someone makes an open confession of faith in Jesus. It was so in ancient of times; it will be so tomorrow.

He says that believers in the workplace have opportunities to reach out to the leaders and professionals for Christ. But they must know Christ, before they can bear witness to Him. They must have boldness and wisdom.

"The best testimony we can give is by our lives as we live it…that the whole world will see that Jesus lives in us, by our fruits…I would go to public places and people would be touched even by my smile," he quoted another soul.

He points out that the great commandment, to love God with all our heart, mind and strength and to love our neighbour as we love ourselves, takes precedence over Jesus’ commandment to go into all the world and preach the Gospel.

Change Of Label

Change of religious labels is not the aim of the Gospel. It was not the goal of Jesus Christ. Nor of His followers. As Jim Wallis puts it: “Conversion is from sin to salvation, from idols to God, from slavery to freedom, from injustice to justice, from guilt to forgiveness, from lies to truth, from darkness to light, from self to others, from death to life and much more. Conversion always means to turn to God.”

Obviously, love must be our supreme motive for our involvement in evangelism. "The saving of souls, if a man has once gained love to perishing sinners and his blessed Master, will be an all absorbing passion to him. It will so carry him away, that he will almost forget himself in the saving of others. He will be like the brave fireman, who cares not for the fire or scorch or the heat, so that he may rescue the poor creature on whom true humanity has set his heart," so wrote Spurgeon. Despite such love activating you, others might reject you and your message. Your zeal can be interpreted as arrogance. Some of our law makers are capable of intense humour. One piece which obligates me to get permission from a district magistrate or equivalent authority for a 'change of heart'! And they title that piece of legislation as Freedom of Religion Act!!




©2010 Light of Life