I, John, your brother and companion in the suffering and kingdom and patient endurance that are ours in Jesus.
“They have burned our possessions, but they cannot burn Jesus from our hearts.”
I read the following story from the Voice of the Martyrs. It’s an amazing organization that helps the persecuted believers around the world.
Origen was not the typical eighteen-year-old. He was a teacher in second-century Egypt. As the church of his day suffered severe persecution, Origen did not spend his time chasing girls or trying to impress his peers. Instead of running from the horror that had killed even his own father, Origen chose to become a companion with the persecuted church.
Origen spent his time encouraging Christians who had been brought before the court. When they were led to death, he walked up to kiss them. He even visited the prisons to comfort the believers. But Origen soon found himself in grave danger for his compassion toward the condemned believers. Soon soldiers were posted around his house because of his influence on the church. He had many enemies, and the anger towards him grew hotter each day. He was eventually forced to leave the city. He moved from house to house because of the many threats against his life. But spurred on by the examples of faith in Hebrews, he continued being a companion to those who were persecuted. He even employed several people to handwrite additional copies of the Scriptures.
Eventually, his amazing attitude drew some of his enemies to Christ. However, he was eventually imprisoned, tortured, and killed for this same attitude.
When I read this story I couldn’t help but to think about both my children and my own childhood. I seriously doubt that I would have been like Origen at 8 years old. It takes a special person to join a cause that risks their own life at such a young age. Origen’s father must have been a great example for him. Will my children be empowered and passionate about the things of God? Am I teaching them the values of a Biblical lifestyle and what it means to be committed to the cause of Christ? When I go home to be with Jesus and leave them behind, will they take their place in the kingdom mission? Am I displaying a life of surrender to the greater calling on my life? This was such a challenge for me!
We have to be a legacy for our next generation. Every child is passionate. We have to guide their passion in the use of the gospel. Anyone can inspire. Anyone can encourage. Anyone can display the love of Christ. Age is no barrier.
One of the songs that’s spoken to me a lot on this topic is Only Jesus by Casting Crowns. Take a look at the lyrics:
Make it count, leave a mark, build a name for yourself
Dream your dreams, chase your heart, above all else
Make a name the world remembers
But all an empty world can sell is empty dreams
I got lost in the light when it was up to me
To make a name the world remembers
But Jesus is the only name to remember
And I, I don’t want to leave a legacy
I don’t care if they remember me
And I, I’ve only got one life to live
I’ll let every second point to Him
All the kingdoms built, all the trophies won
Will crumble into dust when it’s said and done
But all that really matters
Did I live the truth to the ones I love
Was my life the proof that there is only One
Whose name will last forever.
When it all comes to an end, it shouldn’t matter to us whether our loved ones cherish our memory, but the memory of a life lived for Jesus. Origen must have seen the life of Jesus displayed in someone close to him. No doubt, those in his life saw Jesus displayed in him.
“Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity.”
1 Timothy 4:12 ESV