And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:27
Two days before the SSTS Seminar in a restricted Central Asia country, Pavel, a Christian leader discovered the garage he was using to store restricted (illegal) Christian literature in the tribal language was broken into by youths and over 2000 pieces of literature stolen. Ironically, police discovered the literature being distributed at a nearby school by the mischievous youths and traced the ownership of the literature to Pavel.
He was “invited” to come to the police station. There he discovered that the authorities were open to receiving a bribe of one month’s salary in exchange for having the remaining literature returned and the case closed. It was also suggested that because he was lacking the appropriate registration papers for being in this community, he should pay the money before the police “found some drugs in his home” and he be sent to jail for a longer period of time.
Pavel now had two choices: pay the bribe and redeem most of the stolen literature which had come into the country at great personal and emotional risk past many police checkpoints; or wait and see how God intervened to bring glory to His name even if it meant a fine or imprisonment. Pavel knew that to pay the bribe would open the door to a pattern of further blackmail, as the police would now own him as “their man.”
During the 3-day SSTS seminar, the group met with Pavel and his wife and prayed with them each morning before he went to the police station for further interrogation in the afternoons. Pavel had to make a decision by the third day. As he left for the police station he told the group, “This SSTS seminar has changed my entire thinking on this matter. I am not paying the bribe. I am choosing ‘the way of the cross.’”
Latest reports are that Pavel’s case was resolved without a bribe and he is still active in effective ministry in his country.
RESPONSE: Today I again choose to walk “the way of the cross” as I make my decisions and choices.
PRAYER: Lord, help me never to choose the easy way of the culture but to walk “the way of the cross!”