"To Live for Christ or for Others"
December 20, 2013
To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the Law I became as one under the Law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the Law. 1 Corinthians 9:20
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
The salvation story of Jesus Christ reaches around the world. So that the readers of our Daily Devotion may see the power of the Savior on a global scale, we have asked the volunteers of our International Ministry Centers to write our Friday devotions. We pray that the Spirit may touch your day through their words.
In Christ, I remain, His servant and yours,
Kenneth R. Klaus
Speaker Emeritus of The Lutheran Hour
How far should a Christian go to influence others for Christ? It is a question which may not be easy to answer.
In the past, Ethiopia was a Christian monarchy which had for 3,000 years been ruled by the Solomonic dynasty. That family stayed in power until it was overthrown by the military juntas in 1974. The last of the princes to the rule the country was Iyassu, who came to power when he was 15 years old. To give the prince time to mature and become acquainted with his duties the judiciaries directed that an adviser-caretaker would help him for five years.
Unfortunately, the senior-minister died after a year-and-a-half, and the prince refused to have anyone appointed to fill that position.
That decision was a mistake. Iyassu seldom consulted his ministers for direction and seldom went to the office. To give the prince time to follow his personal pleasures the running of the country was left in the hands of the prime minister. This gave the prince more time to follow his personal pursuits. Among the prince's pursuits were gambling, going to clubs, dabbling in witchcraft, and enjoying the company of his seven wives and many concubines.
Most disturbing was his tendency to associate with the Muslims by worshipping with them in their mosques, wearing Muslim caps, chewing khat (a plant stimulant), and smoking a hookah like the Muslims.
The country fell into disorder as it became apparent he was unable and unwilling to follow in his grandfather's footsteps. When the prince, because of his multiple wives and his friendliness towards Islam, decided he didn't want to be crowned king in a traditional Christian church ceremony, there was a great outcry which lead the cabinet ministers to call for an assembly composed of high government officials and the regional governors including Haile Selassie.
At the inquiry, the prince was asked, "Why would you, a ruler of a Christian country, want to practice Islam and be closely connected with those who represent that which is immoral?" The prince had a ready answer: he said he "wanted to associate with the Muslims and become like them so that he might be able to influence them."
The prince was deposed and his term of office ended with him disgraced and in prison.
How far should a Christian be willing to go to influence others?
Should we become like them or should we encourage them to be like us? Prince Iyassu lost his people's respect and his country's throne because he preferred to compromise his Christian faith and adopt that of others. As we said, that avenue is a mistake.
According to Scripture, our job is to win the race and fight the fight, so the crown of life might be ours. The Savior said He was the only way to heaven. Any compromise with those truths is not only a mistake, it is a sin.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, today I ask two things: first, allow me to influence the world for the Savior and second, please keep the world from influencing me. In Jesus' Name. Amen.
Biography of Author: Today's international devotion comes from the Lutheran Hour Ministries director in Ethiopia, Berhanu Moges, a dear friend and faithful servant of the Savior. Established in Addis Ababa in 1996 and known locally as Berhan Media Ministry or Lutheran Hour Ministries-Ethiopia, this East African ministry center shares the Gospel in this country of 85 million through evangelism rallies, Bible Correspondence Courses (BCC) and the Equipping the Saints (ETS) program, working in partnership with church congregations to organize these workshops. The rallies have proven effective in reaching people, drawing thousands and including non-Christians and Muslims. Here films, music and drama are offered -- all designed to share the Gospel message.
To learn more about our International Ministries, click here or visit www.lhmint.org.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries