Many Christians felt strongly rebuked when Billy Graham first read publicly the following letter, written by an American college student who had been converted to communism in Mexico. The purpose of the letter was to explain to his fiancée why he had to break off their engagement.
“We Communists have a high casualty rate. We’re the ones who get shot and hung and lynched and tarred and feathered and jailed and slandered, and ridiculed and fired from our jobs, and in every other way made as uncomfortable as possible. A certain percentage of us get killed or imprisoned. We live in virtual poverty. We turn back to the party every penny we make above what is absolutely necessary to keep us alive. We Communists don’t have the time or the money for many movies, or concerts, or T-bone steaks, or decent homes and new cars. We’ve been described as fanatics. We are fanatics. Our lives are dominated by one great overshadowing factor, the struggle for world communism.
“We Communists have a philosophy of life which no amount of money could buy. We have a cause to fight for, a definite purpose, in life. We subordinate our petty, personal selves into a great movement of humanity, and if our personal lives seem hard, or our egos appear to suffer through subordination to the party, then we are adequately compensated by the thought that each of us in his small way is contributing to something new and true and better for mankind. There is one thing in which I am in dead earnest and that is the Communist cause. It is my life, my business, my religion, my hobby, my sweetheart, my wife and mistress, my bread and meat. I work at it in the daytime and dream of it at night. Its hold on me grows, not lessens as time goes on. Therefore, I cannot carry on a friendship, a love affair, or even a conversation without relating it to this force which both drives and guides my life. I evaluate people, books, ideas and actions according to how they affect the Communist cause and by their attitude toward it. I’ve already been in jail because of my ideas and if necessary, I’m ready to go before a firing squad.
If Communists can be as dedicated as this to their cause, how much more should Christians pour themselves out in loving, glad devotion to their glorious Lord. Surely if the Lord Jesus is worth anything, He is worth everything. (from William MacDonald, True Discipleship, 1962, pp 28-29)
Here are some questions to ask in response to this Missional Challenge:
- What similarities are there between this man’s commitment to the Communist cause and your commitment to the cause of Christ?
- Who would consider you to be a fanatic for Christ and His mission? Why?
- What evidence is there that your life is dominated by one great overshadowing factor—the mission of Jesus?
- In what ways have you subordinated your personal desires for the cause of Christ?
- How have you contributed this week to the mission of the gospel?
- What evidence is there that you more gripped by the mission of Jesus now than when you became a follower of Jesus?
- When and how have you recently talked with an unbeliever about the gospel?
- What evidence is there that embodying the mission and message of Jesus both drives and guides your life?
- How will you engage those in the culture around you this week in conversation related to the cause of Christ?
- When will you spend time this week evaluating people, books, ideas, and actions according to how they affect the cause of Christ?
Now that’s a Missional Challenge!