November 04, 2014

Fearful Witness

2 Timothy 1:1-10

The Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
—2 Timothy 1:7


In the year 1232, Raymond Lull was born into a wealthy Spanish Roman Catholic family. Growing up, he saw thousands going to the Holy Land to fight Muslims. Most did not return.

Lull was inspired by St. Francis of Assisi, who proposed that Muslims should be won to Christ by love instead of war. Assisi saw Muslims as potential brothers and sisters in Christ. After studying Arabic for nine years, Lull boarded a ship in Genoa for Tunis in North Africa. But before it set sail, he was overwhelmed with terror over what might happen to him. He had his luggage unloaded, and the ship left port without him.

As he sat dejected on the dock, with friends and family around him, he resolved again to go. He took the next ship, and when he arrived, he let the local Muslim scholars know that he was eager for a public dialogue. After his first debate, he was thrown in jail, stoned by a mob, and ordered out of the country. It looked like failure, but he persisted. Returning later, he lurked homeless around the docks. Eventually a small group of converts took shape. By numbers alone, his difficult ministry did not appear very fruitful, but his inspiration has spanned the centuries. To this day he inspires missionaries in difficult places.

It’s likely we’ll never know the fruit of our witness until we’re in heaven.

Sovereign God, give me courage when I’m afraid or beaten down. By your Spirit may I have power, love, and self-discipline. In the strong name of Jesus, Amen.

About the author — Daryl DeKlerk

Daryl DeKlerk pastors a church in Jarvis, Ontario. He is thankful for a sabbatical that enabled him to study the theme of Grace-filled Christian Witness. Daryl and his wife have three young children who keep them on their toes and on their knees in prayer.

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