Monday, May 27, 2013

Do you want to make a name for yourself?

After the mission’s week in Armenia some students sent to us their questions about God and Christianity. Here is my answer to one of them.

Question:

I will consider myself succeeded in case  I do a cultural revolution immortalizing my name. I think it will be possible if I could find and present a new perfect figure in a way that all could understand.

Answer:

We all want to succeed. The question is how we define success. It seems that to you success is to do something for your nation and the world that will be remembered by the future generations.
There’s nothing wrong with dreaming to make the world a better place. There have been some great men who have brought about significant political and cultural changes. People like Apostle Paul, Copernicus, Martin Luther in Germany, Isaac Newton, Tyndale and Wilberforce in England, George Washington and Martin Luther King in America, and many others come to mind.

Yet, we need to be careful with revolutions. Revolution is a radical change in a society that is usually made suddenly and often accompanied by violence. The Russian revolution in 1917 led to the establishment of a totalitarian communist rule which caused the death of 20 million Russians through mass executions, famine, concentration camps, extermination, deportation, golodomor, etc.

The term ‘cultural revolution’ is associated with a social-political experiment that took place in China from 1966-1969, which led to a mass purge of all ‘liberals’ within the Communist Party of China and to persecution, public humiliation, torture and seizure of property of millions others. It was set into motion by Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Communist Party who hoped to get rid of all his rivals and establish a non-class society. During his rule, through starvation or repressions died 78 M people…

Let us not forget either that the first genocide of the 20th century was the crime of the Young Turk revolution in which 1.5 or more Ottoman Armenians died. Hitler also came in power with the promise to change Germany and the world, and make a name for himself. As a result, 12 M people were killed in concentration camps, 70 M died in the WW2.

All these men wanted to change society and history, and they did. For sure today we remember their names. But I guess you don’t want to be remembered like that. What was the problem? Why did their rules lead to such horrible consequences?

They all had in common the desire to become famous, to make their name immortalized. And that was actually their mistake. Their driving force was not the desire to serve others but to use others as a means of making themselves gods. They didn’t offer humbly their service to humanity but wanted their pride to be gratified by being served. Pride is the most serious but also the most subtle sin. It often is not even recognized as existing.

In contrast, Apostle Paul, Copernicus, Martin Luther, Isaac Newton, Tyndale, Wilberforce and the like were driven by their faith in God and desire to serve God and humanity. They didn't want to ‘immortalize themselves’ but rather to make God’s name famous. They changed the world not through taking the lives of others but actually through sacrificing (sometimes physically) themselves.

The greatest ‘revolutionary’ in human history is Jesus Christ. He came to serve, not to be served (Gospel of Matthew, ch. 20, v 28). His ‘recipe for success’ in life consists of two simple principles given in the Gospel of Matthew, ch. 22, vs 37-40: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ 

You cannot love God unless you know Him. You cannot know Him unless you've read his love letter to you, the Bible. This is where you can start. When I did this I was captivated by the attraction of his personality.

I realized that I am here for a purpose – to live in a way that gives glory to my Maker. And I try to do it through loving those around me – my family, my colleagues, and the people I meet every day. I don’t know whether the future generations will remember my name and that doesn't concern me very much.

Jesus has promised to give salvation and eternal life to anyone who believes in Him and that’s much more. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (Gospel of John, ch. 3, v. 16).

Jesus not only lived a perfect life, but he died and rose again to pay the price for all our crimes and failures. His resurrection, witnessed by more than 500 people, the Bible and famous historians such as Tacitus and Josephus is the guarantee that his teaching is trustworthy. He not only gives eternal life but also promises to give you satistaction and make your life complete here, on earth.

So, it is not necessary for you to ‘find and present a new perfect figure’ to humanity, neither to make your name immortal. The Bible says that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Nobody’s perfect. All you need to do is to put your trust in Jesus. And then he will help you use your potential for His glory.

Sources:

Wikipedia, World War II Casualties, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_II_casualties
Wikipedia, Young Turk Revolution, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Young_Turk_Revolution
Wikipedia, Cultural Revolution, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cultural_Revolution
The 50 Most Influential Christians of All Time, http://brainz.org/50-most-influential-christians-all-time/