A FRIGHTENED SPECTATOR OR A FIERCE SOLDIER?
A newspaper reported the following shocking news on 26 January 2012 on its website: At 8.15 am, 41-year-old driver, Santosh Maruti Mane, got in the bus at Swargate bus depot for no other reason but to go on a killing spree. Throughout the 10km that he rolled, juggernaut-like, butchering people from Burger King in Camp to Dandekar Bridge at Samadhan Bhel Chowk, 21-year-old Sharif Ibrahim Kutty, a third-year Poona College student, tailed him on his bike. He wanted to stop the madness dead in its tracks. But it was to be another 45 minutes before the rampage could be reined in. When Kutty saw the bus knocking down a woman on a bike and ploughing on, he decided to chase it. Kutty never once slackened his chase, not even when the crazed driver tried to mow him down. Kutty witnessed more casualties, before the bus rammed into two cars, smashing to a stop near Nilayam Talkies. That is when he clambered aboard the bus through an open window and caught hold of Mane. ”Despite my catching hold of him, he was struggling to step on the gas and drive on. But I did not leave him.” At this point, constable Bapu Lonkar, who had climbed the running bus at Volga Chowk, joined him, and the two of them overpowered Mane, and hauled him out of the bus. A raging crowd, waiting to lynch the driver, gave him several blows before handing him over to the Swargate police.
While many others preferred to merely watch the road rage in Pune, Kutty did not. He preferred to act. He preferred, at great risk to his own life, to save hapless folks from the seemingly deranged driver.
On July 9, 2012, Evan and I celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary. On the same day, in the city of Guwahati, a mob full of drunk men chased, beat, dragged, stripped, fondled a young woman in full public view on a busy main road with many vehicles whizzing past. Dipya Bordoloi, a cameraman from a local news channel, who arrived minutes after all of this mayhem began, video recorded this shameful ordeal which lasted for over 30 minutes (Source: news websites). This outrageous public molestation begs a question that has to be asked: Why did many, including that camera man, prefer to be spectators instead of turning into soldiers who could have rescued this woman? Wasn’t there a Sharif Ibrahim Kutty in that crowd?
We can choose to be Sharif Ibrahim Kutty or a Dipya Bordoloi. We can choose to be a spectator or a soldier. I choose to be a soldier because the Bible challenges me to do so.
Moses did not like to be a spectator. When an Egyptian slave-master cruelly beat a Hebrew slave, he could have looked the other way. But Moses did not. He intervened. He rescued the Hebrew (Ex 2:11,12). When some shepherds stole the pulled-out-from-the-well water of Ruel’s seven daughters, all shepherdesses, in Midian, he could have pretended that he did not see it! But he saw that injustice. He swung into action. He chased the shepherds. One of the seven girls came forward to marry him. This seemed to come straight out of a Bollywood movie script! The girl Moses married also stood between him and death when the Lord wanted to kill him! See, how blessed are those who refuse to be mere spectators!
Jesus refused to merely watch when the entire human race was racing toward hell. He told the Father, “Just give me a body! I will go to this earth. I will die for the human race. I will open a way for them to be saved from hell and have a purpose for living!” (Heb 10:5-7). He came down, two thousand years ago, and did that. He was pinned on the cross for your sake and mine. He rose from the dead. He is coming again. Have you come to Him, in repentance and faith?
Apostle Paul was a spectator once upon a time in his life. He stood by the side giving consent to the stoning of Stephen (Acts 7:58). He took care of the garments of those who had come to stone Stephen. He was watching that stoning with a “stony” heart. Then he got converted on the road to Damascus. He simply could not carry forward his spectator mentality into his newfound life in Christ. He became a participant. He spared no efforts in getting the Gospel to as many people as possible in the one life he lived. He used his mouth for the Lord – he preached sermons with it. He used his hands for the Lord – he wrote Bible books inspired by the Holy Spirit with it. He used his legs for the Lord – he undertook missionary journeys with those untiring legs to reach out to the lost!
The Google Generation was heading towards eternal hell. By the millions. I, Duke Jeyaraj, knew God had given me a message to herald to them. To shout to them. I could have chosen to be a thumb-sucker. I could have chosen to ‘mind my business.’ I could have merely watched them slide into a Christless eternity in hell from the sides. I took courage. But I heard the call from hell. “I have five brothers on earth. I don’t want them to come here to hell!” - I read the Rich Man’s words in Luke 16. In fact I had more than five brothers on earth who were on the road to hell. I had 1 billion Indians, all of whom were my brothers and sisters (except one, for I married an Indian girl called Evan). They were heading to hell without Jesus. So, I said, “This one life I have, I will live to go out and grab the Google Generation from going to Gehenna (Hell in Greek)!” So, I quit my job. I started living by faith. I started travelling and speaking like never before. I shared the eternal Gospel wrapped around contemporary events of interest which was able to save people from going into a Christless eternity in hell, through my messages, writings, Facebook updates, YouTube videos and what-not.
Are you a mere thumb-sucker? Just a seat-warmer? Just a spectator? Or, are you a soldier? A soul-winner? Are you someone who makes things happen instead of being someone who merely watches things happen?! Are you part of the audience or are you part of the army?