|Photo by Mashael (copyrighted)|
"Was he not the one who said he will bring the people back together?" Axx inquired of the people. "Yes," the members of the clan shouted back in agreement, waving their hands to the sky in obvious outrage. "Was he not the one who said he will provide peace and not war? Who else assured us that our children will see a day of prosperity again? Who assured us that the gods had forgiven us?" There was silence in the air. Farook was bound with an unbreakable three-fold cord and tied around the big tree in the town square. Some looked at him with sadness, and others with scorn. Two days ago they had looked up to him as their king, but now they looked down on him spitefully. From this day it would be written in the books of history, that the people of Osiko burned their leader alive.
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Today's celebrities are the last ones on the list: people whom you may not want to be: "Those who are persecuted for righteousness."
"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for my name's sake. Rejoice & be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven." Matthew 5:10-12
Is the Last One the Bad One?
The last one is NOT the bad one. In Matthew 5, Jesus finished his speech (which is now a popular speech) by talking about the blessings of those who will be persecuted. Shouldn't he have ended his speech on a good note? Well, he did. Oh yes, he did. Let's check this out...
The Greek origin of the word "persecute" is diôkô (dioko), which means "to pursue," "to chase," "to urge on," or "to drive." It has so many turns and twists in this definition, but I can sum it up in one word, "to haunt." The Greek origin of the word "righteousness" is from dikaiosunê (dikaiosyne), which means "righteousness," "justice," "fulfillment of the law," and "the business of a judge."
The Great Haunt:
At the end of your life, what would your worth be? These celebrities are a challenge to make your life count (that's the good part). If you don't count for anything you will not be haunted. You will not be pursued, chased, urged on, or driven. These terms all consist of both loving and hating. When we think of the word "persecute," we often associate it with a negative connotation. But if you think of the celebrities of our day, you either love them or hate them. In the same way, the word "diôkô" (persecute) suggests that you will either love those who promote God's words, justice, and the fulfillment of the law; or you will hate them. Sometimes, the hate becomes a fiery passion to consume them with fire, which is how some martyrs for Christ died. But their lives counted for something far more worthy: the kingdom of heaven.
I'll leave you with a quote from Gary Beck's blog:
Christ is saying something more here about people who try to perfect themselves. He is saying people are fortunate when people follow them in their quest for perfection. Some will merely observe what they are doing. Others will criticize it. And some others will emulate it. They are free to choose how they react. We shouldn't be surprised at any of these reactions.
The Great Step:
|Photo by Cyril|
To be pursued, chased, urged on, or driven...in fact, to be persecuted, your life must count for something bigger than yourself. It is not something to shy away from. It takes boldness, courage, and tenacity to chase after something you're passionate about...like God and His faithfulness.
And it takes an even bolder step to tell about what you've found, because after you've done so, you WILL be persecuted. And they will say all sorts of things about you; But not to fear, even greater things await you. Question for the Day: What should your life count for? Would you choose persecution over mediocrity? I'd love to read your comments.