I came across an article of a 26 year old missionary, John Allen Chau, who lost his life when he went to a tribespeople in North Sentinel, a part of India’s Bay of Bengal. These people have long rejected any contact with outsiders and when outsiders came, they reacted with violence. After two days of entering their island to attempt to communicate with them the gospel, this young missionary did not return. Later, islanders were seen dragging his body around. Prior to his death, he had left a note for his family that he believed he was on assignment and if he did not return, to continue to share their faith and do what they were called to do, and he would see them later "beyond the veil".
This is a rare story today, for there are few who would knowingly enter a country which is known for killing outsiders, particularly those who want to impose their traditions or religion upon them. In this country, we have people who adamantly reject the gospel, yet usually not with violent acts. And yet, there are still few who will boldly go into such places in an attempt to share the life-giving gospel with those who don’t know. In fact, the numbers are dwindling of those who even want to share their faith with anyone, hostile or not.
We use all kinds of guises to explain why we don’t want to share the gospel, and maybe there is even some legitimacy with some. However, as Paul tells the Corinthian church in 2 Corinthians 3:1-3(KJV):
Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.
Paul’s resume lay not in paper and pen, but in the manifestation of the gospel in the lives of those he labored with.
We are embarking upon the Christmas season. If there is ever an opportunity to share our faith, this is the season. Although there are those who reject even the words, "Merry Christmas" – is not your faith in the Christ of Christmas worth sharing even these words? What about your family? Do your children hear YOU read the story of the birth of Jesus, before they get their gifts? Does your home reflect a remembrance of the latest baubles from Macy’s, or the humble beginnings of Lord born in a manger? Do your colleagues at work only know that you give gifts because of the office grab bag, or do they know they come as an act of sharing your love?
Yes, "tis the season" to live out our faith and as St. Francis of Assisi said: "Preach the gospel at all times, and when necessary use words".