Total Pageviews

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Indian Ocean Martyrs

When I first read about the latest pirate attack off the coast of Somalia, several thoughts raced through my mind.

Why would anybody go there? It makes me sad that criminal activity would utterly cut off a part of the world so beautiful as the Indian Ocean, but still, that's the case. It seems only a fool would venture into those waters on a pleasure yacht.

Another thought was ...

OK, so rich people in their yacht were killed. It's sad, but didn't they have anything more meaningful to do than just cruise around the world. Now, this was one of my initial thoughts, and it reveals a lot about me. I am a painfully judgmental person, and God never made me the judge of anything. So, my judgmental attitude is a manifestation of my sin nature. I am so wrong, deep in my soul, to have such thoughts. But, my honest confession is I have these thoughts and they came to surface upon first hearing about the tragic deaths of Jean Adam, Scott Adam, Phyllis Macay, and Robert Riggle. So, I have to repent of an unChristlike heart attitude toward wealthy people who enjoy their riches.

Preaching prophetically about the evils of excess is not the same thing as hating the wealthy. Jesus did not hate anyone, and he calls me and commands me to love my neighbor, both wealthy and poor. I say openly, I am sorry that those thoughts percolated in my mind.

And then my mind complete changed.

I read stories about the Adams and Macay and Riggle on the BBC website and on the New York Times site. I learned that they customized their yacht so that it could be haul hundreds of pounds of Bibles, which they distributed all over the world. Scott had received a Master of Divinity and Master of Theology Degree. He often preached in churches when they stopped. He probably preached on 4 different continents in his life. He and his wife were Christians.

Yes, they were wealthy. Yes, they enjoyed sailing the world on their yacht.

But, what strikes me is that they were people on mission for Jesus Christ. Friends of theirs quoted in the news stories earnestly insist they were not "proselytizing," just distributing Bibles as a conversation started. They weren't aggressive evangelists. I think the energetic assertion that they were not out aggressively witnessing is based on the reality that the Adams traveled in many parts of the world where Christian evangelism is severely frowned upon. It isn't wise to confront Hindus or Muslims with the Bible . Aggressive evangelism likely leads to violence, not people turning to Jesus.

On the other hand, engaging in an activity that is popular worldwide (like yachting), and sharing culture with people (learning about theirs, telling about yours) are ways of building new relationships. In new relationships, we often give gifts that of high value to us. For the Adams, they gave the word of God. In a way that made them accessible as people and did not turn others off, the Adams spread the word of God around the world.

I hope I am doing that. I hope I do it in a way that respects the Muslim, the Hindu, and anyone else I might meet. In sharing God's word, I hope I am sharing something of high, high value to me.

Again, I repent of my judgmental nature. And I admire Jean and Scott Adam. They were true martyrs. "Martyr" in Greek literally means witness. The Adams were witnesses to the power of God. They believed if they could get the word into peoples' hands, lives would be changed, individuals would turn to Jesus.

"Martyr" has come in vernacular to mean one who dies for his witness. The Adams didn't die for the sake of Christ. But they carried the word of God into dangerous waters. Who knows why they were where you shouldn't be - off the coast of Somalia in a yacht? What happened to the Bibles on board? Let's pray that some actually make it to the shores of that country that is locked in chaos. Who knows what God might do? One more witness from the Indian Ocean Martyrs, sailors, spreading the word of God.

1 comment:

  1. I too was struck by the Adams story. Thanks for your take on it.