“One thing is expected of a manager — he must be faithful.” II Cor 4:2 (Simple English Bible)
Flight 93 was hijacked en route to Frankfurt. The pilots managed to escape as the hijackers, dressed in security uniforms, subdued the cabin and stewardesses. The jet couldn’t take off as the airport was shut down. The terrorists demanded a collection of passports, particularly asking for any Americans. One of the stewardesses, realizing what was happening, hid as many as she could and refused outright to collect more. When commandos eventually stormed the plane after a hostage was murdered, this stewardess covered three children with her own body, Neerja Bhanot died but the children lived.
Neerja was a simple stewardess with one thing in her mind: the safety of those she was entrusted to care for. We are called to be faithful to God’s call as servants. Most of won’t be called on to make such a great sacrifice but we will be called upon to do what we can for those who are in our care. Our fellow believers, our children, our parents, our co-workers and those in need.
Our faith in action is what God expects of each one of us.
“Don’t avenge yourselves, dear friends,. Instead, leave room for God’s punishment. This is written: the Lord says, Revenge belongs to me. I will pay it back!” Rom 12:19 (Simple English Bible)
Trust the Germans to come up with a word to explain a feeling bordering on revenge: schadenfreude — the joy of seeing disaster befall someone who deserves it. Sometimes, when bad things are reported in the press or broadcast on television, we rub our hands and say sagely that someone deserved that to happen to them. We have this intense feeling that we’re right and bad things happen to bad people.
It doesn’t always happen like that. Many good decent Christians also suffer for their faith and are tested by circumstances beyond their control. Even believers who stumble and find themselves trapped in sin. I remember one young sophmore girl in the youth group admitted to her folks that she’d fallen pregnant. Her folks made her quit high school, then when the baby was born, gave her an ultimatum: give the baby up for adoption or leave home! And these were staunch Christians!
We have the assurance that God’s will must be done in our lives. Sometimes, that entails bad things happening to us as a result of the actions of our faith. Is revenge the answer or will we rely on our Father to have His will done?
“I became a servant of this gospel. God’s free gracious love was given to me by exercising His power.” Eph 3:7 (Simple English Bible)
She told me that it wasn’t really her fault. She told me that it was because of love, God’s greatest asset. She told me that she had doubts but that her boyfriend knew what he was doing. And she told me that she was sad that it turned out the way it did. But she did nothing wrong!
She was a Christian woman who left her husband in order to live with her boyfriend, a non-Christian. She wanted to teach him about love, Jesus and goodness. She was young, without kids and thought that with her help, this older man would begin to understand what love was all about. They were both happy when she became pregnant but after the baby was born, her boyfriend left. She wanted to return to her husband but he’d divorced her already. She was unhappy and miserable, alone and saddled with a child who now had no father. Why did Satan destroy her when all she wanted to do was teach love and happiness?
I tried to explain that we live by example as a servant of our Father. Sin is sin, no matter how noble we want to dress it up. The gospel hasn’t changed and it is by living in Christ’s footsteps that we are strong in His power. There are no shortcuts or excuses. We are His servants, living as His witnesses. And that is a big responsibility!