Affected by traditional culture when growing up, I was taught to make big achievements. If you ask a child in my generation about his future dream, eight out of ten will tell you their ambitious plans: to make great contribution to the world, or embark on influential careers that impact others’ lives. Therefore, common replies will always be scientist, doctor or lawyer.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to be an impactful person. It’s the mentality behind those thoughts that provokes my thinking. Are we all that selfless and keen on improving other peoples’ lives? Or do we just want to stand in the spotlight and make a name for ourselves?
When I failed to accomplish my big dreams after working for several years, I thought that I could do something for Jesus. Becoming a martyr held no fear for me. I thought of Stephen, who was stoned for preaching “Jesus is the Lord” in the New Testament. I felt passionate about this idea in the early stage of my Christian life. I imagined myself as the first one standing out when persecution comes, declaring my belief boldly and willing to die for it.
Does it sound familiar? It’s the typical Hollywood film! A poor boy became rich and successful after several years’ hard work; a strong man saved the city from a terrorist attack; an anonymous girl overcame social prejudice and became a role model in her generation.
We are excited about those stories and subconsciously assume that we can be one of those heroes. Our glamorous dreams more or less reflect such heroism. We want to be admired by many.
The war is won
However, this is not the Biblical teaching. No matter whether it is in the Old Testament or during Jesus’ time, the scripture shows us clearly that the war is won by God rather than by any man.
When Moses tried to gain justice by killing the Egyptian, God cooled him down in the wilderness for 40 years. When the opportune time arrived, God performed mighty works to deliver Israel from Egypt.
When Joshua took Jericho, he sent no troops, but instead marched around the city for seven days, which is the way that God determined to have the city destroyed.
When the disciples regarded Jesus as a king who establishes his kingdom on earth, Jesus fulfilled the prophecy of the messiah by dying on the cross and was resurrected on the third day.
God’s ways are always higher than ours. He never expects us to be heroes but only to trust in Him daily. As Christians, we don’t need to fight since the war belongs to God and it is already won.
What He instructs us to do is to stand firm by wearing the armor He gives. It is a passive status and proactive assault is not encouraged. It is hard to accept such a fact, because it is human nature for us to struggle to prove our value by good works.
Do it to the least
On the contrary, what God values most are not splendid acts, but small and unimpressive things. For example, caring for the poor, helping the needy and visiting the orphans and widows. Seldom do people consider those things as their lifelong career.
You are able to improve others’ lives, but in a quiet and modest way. All it takes is a humble and obedient heart. Although the people you helped can’t pay you back, the rewards in the kingdom of God are great. Does it ever cross your mind that what you did to the poor and the needy are done to Jesus? Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me. (Matthew chapter 25, verse 40)
It’s a relief to us as well! The majority of us are just ordinary people. The chance to be a martyr is low. The war is won, but thankfully God invites us to be His co-workers. We don’t need to bear the pressure of becoming somebody, but still have the opportunity to share God’s glory by doing small things for the needy. How blessed are we!
Cindy Cheng was born and brought up in central China. Cindy enjoys travelling and reading history books. Cindy is inspired by talking with local people when travelling abroad experiencing different parts of the world, as well as herself.
Cindy’s previous articles may be found at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/cindy-cheng.html