"Don't Kill Them All"
August 12, 2008
But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of woman, born under the Law, to redeem those who were under the Law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. Galatians 4:4-5
There is a sign on the doors of Lutheran Hour Ministries' Headquarters.
That sign tells people they shouldn't bring firearms into the building. To the best of my knowledge, most of the folks who work at our headquarters follow that rule. I don't know about those who visit.
Keeping weapons and violence under control is a 24/7 kind of job for Yemen's Sheik Abdul-Rahman Al Marwani. Actually, that's an understatement in a land where there are three guns for every individual, and last year there were 1,200 murders. A recent Time article quoted Marwani as saying: "A poor man will save on food just to buy a gun. A man in Yemen without arms has no value."
In the last eleven years, vengeance mentality and tribal conflict have cost the lives of 15 of the Sheik's coworkers. Christians, of course, are not immune from being targeted.
When the Sheikh heard an Islamic preacher encouraging his listeners to kill Christians, he asked, "Do you believe Allah is wise and that all things come from Allah?" The preacher said he believed that. "Even that Mercedes Benz you drive?" The preacher agreed his Mercedes was also a gift from Allah. Then, the Sheikh made his point: don't kill all the Christians, "Because if you kill all the Christians, there won't be any of them left to build Mercedeses."
I appreciate the Sheik's effort on the behalf of Jesus' followers, although I wish my value wasn't directly connected to the manufacture of Mercedes Benz vehicles.
This is why I'm glad to report what Paul said in his letter to the church in Galatia. In that passage, he says you and I are valuable. Just how valuable?
We're valuable enough for the Lord to promise His Son would be born to save us. We're valuable enough for God to keep that promise. We're valuable enough that Jesus lived, suffered, died, and rose so we might be adopted as His children.
Think about that for a moment. The world, your neighbors, the people around you - - they may not value you very highly, but the Creator of the universe does, as does His Son.
This makes each of us most valuable indeed.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, while some people may think my chief worth is to be a target for their literal and figurative bullets, may I give thanks that You decided to forgive me and save me. I give thanks in Jesus' Name. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries