Within the last fortnight two dear brothers have left this world with all its joys and frustrations and stepped into eternity. One I did not know but others have told me how devoted, zealous and faithful to the Lord he was. The other was the elder of Beşiktaş church, a dear brother I did have the pleasure and honour of knowing.
At just 48 years of age, he was not old, but his aorta burst and he stepped forth from this life. He was faithful to the Lord, diligent and an effective leader of the fellowship. He did nothing to ‘deserve’ to die – for some reason, we often reduce these matters to whether we feel the person ‘deserves’ or ‘doesn’t deserve’ to die. As well as pastoring the flock, he was involved in the Christian television channel. He was the husband of one wife, loving and caring. Was he without fault – of course not – but as one redeemed by God through Christ, he was being remade in the image of Christ. That work is now completed – he has received his reward.
Which brings me to the title of this comment on life. The following was first penned when we as a fellowship were under active, vocal,and vorciforious threat. Subsequent to that the rise of the so-called Islamic State and their hell-bent obsession with destroying and killing anything which does not fit into their narrow world view.
To live or to die….
Well, to live or to die is never the question. When we hear threats, some maybe more believable than others, what are we to think? People are trying to affect the way we live – by threatening us with death.
Okay. Fair enough.
If we think about it, then we realise it is not whether we live or die, but rather, how we live and how we die.
Everyone who can read this, is living – how you live is up to you, but you are living.
Everyone of us will die. Someone has said that this is an inescapable fact of life – no one gets out alive.
So, since we are living and since we all will die, the question really is; how will we live and how will we die.
Those who threaten us say if we do not do what they demand, they will kill us. Maybe they are sincere and fully intend to do what they say. But they can not guarantee that we will live – they can only threaten to end our life. When I first penned these thoughts, in the news there was a story of a man who went on a knifing spree in China killing 8 – eight people going about their lives, not offending or provoking this wanton violence. Yet, all eight are now dead – regardless to how they lived.
So, rather than allowing bullies and violent people determine how we live – we should live by the principles and values that are important, dear, and fundamental to our life. They can threaten and maybe succeed. But we lose the reason to live if we bow to their threats.
So, threats are made – we may ‘die’ – but we already know that one day we will die. Better to live and yes, better to die, being true to ourselves, true to our faith, true to what we proclaim, than to allow fear to dominate and dare I say, compromise our manner of living.
To do otherwise is to die even while we live.