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Losers for the Gospel

Few days ago, after many years, my brothers and sisters and all our families had the privilege of meeting together for a time of fellowship. Wondering when we would meet this way again, I arranged a photographer for snapping photos of our families together.

Wow, I thought, everything went on well! 

But when we got the pictures in print, we were disappointed to see them as they came out with a very poor quality, like a mobile’s VGA camera. My younger brother was angry, went to the studio and yelled at the photographer for his crappy work.

When I learned about my brother’s reaction, since the studio person knew that we are Christians, I felt concerned about the gospel and wondered—what would happen to the saltiness of our Christian testimony? Will our reaction become a stumbling block for these unsaved people to the receptivity of the gospel? What kind of message are we giving to the unbelievers through our conduct?

Convicted by these questions, I immediately called the photographer on phone and apologized to him for the harsh behavior of my younger brother. Although I was unhappy with this photographer’s work, I told him that we are Christians and we want to be at peace and his relationship is important to us. After hearing my words, he was overwhelmingly humbled.

Yes, we were at loss, but don’t you think it is worth the loss for the gospel than react in a way that would mar the message of the gospel? If we cannot make little sacrifices and control our short-tempers, how can we lose our life itself, as Christ said, for the gospel? (Mk. 8:35)

Disgraceful Behavior
Now do not suppose this is how I conduct myself every time I face disappointed situations. Regretfully, many times I reacted to unbelievers in a way that was shameful. I brought much disgrace to the name of God and to the gospel because of my unchristian behavior.

I am learning now to be more careful about how I talk and act when I confront odd behavior from unbelievers.

There were times that I behaved in such a way with customer service executives that when they asked my name to resolve the problem, I was ashamed to say it [Stephen David], for they would know that I am a Christian.

I remember how wildly I reacted in a gas station when the fuel was not filled in my bike according to the exact amount. After leaving that place, the Holy Spirit convicted me, "Stephen, if you go back and share the gospel with him, would he be willing to listen to you?" Would he not hate my message?

When I was discussing about such behavioral issues with my elder brother, he expressed it right, "We pray to God for the lost souls and then ruin the work of the gospel through our behavior." We preach the gospel to the unbelievers and then behave rudely with them when things go wrong. Would they be impressed with our gospel in this way?

Don’t you suppose such behavior is unfitting for God’s children and Christ’s ambassadors who are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world? (Matt. 5:13-16) Were we not exhorted from God’s word, "Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity?" (Col. 4:5) Are we not commanded to live our daily life in such a way that it would win the respect of outsiders? (1Thess. 4:12)

Losing to Gain
Remember, when we love material things and our own ambitions more than the gospel and the lost souls, we become quick-tempered, displaying folly and unchristian behavior. I am afraid this is what the non-Christians are witnessing in us in workplaces, on streets, in shopping malls, in our neighborhood and as they pass by our homes?

So, I suppose, it is better to become losers than react in a way that would disrepute the message of the gospel. Don’t you think—when we lose our patience, we may lose a soul too? 

Now this does not mean we have to always let others to step on us like a doormat and we have to simply lay silent. When misbehavior is manifested or when injustice is done, we can confront the offensive person or raise our voice towards injustice, but this is done not as the worldly people generally do—yelling, threatening and behaving violent. It should be done with appropriate Christian behavior and biblical standards.

As we live in a crooked world where things do not occur according to our expectations, we must be careful about how we speak and behave with the worldly people. As much as possible, we ought to be kind and gentle. And, yes, I don’t deny the fact of facing certain situations where we may have to be firm but without being fierce, bold but without being blunt and hard but without being harsh.

I have learned that when things go wrong, my response should be such that I should not be ashamed to preach the gospel later, although I fail at times and repent.

Carrying the Ark of the Gospel
Remember, folks, we carry the ark of the gospel wherever we go. Make sure we do not let it be disgraced by our ill conduct. Because we exist in this world, not for our desires and their fulfillment sake but for the glory of God, we need to know that our lifestyle has a stake in the spread of the gospel of Christ Jesus.

Therefore, let us be different and make a difference, even if it costs us to become losers for the sake of the gospel of Christ. And, I believe, we cannot become radical losers unless our passion grows and conforms to the passion of Paul who passionately said:
"I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace." (Acts 20:24)

"I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some." (1Cor. 9:22)
"Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God--even as I try to please everybody in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved." (1Cor. 10:32-33)


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