This is a song by Ray Charles, that takes on even greater meaning in the Biblical context.
Barbara, Kara and Jamie are three very fascinating women. Barbara Oolman is a family practitioner, serving in East Africa for over 10 years now. Kara Fisher and Jamie Bearden are fourth year medical students from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine who have served with us in Kenya for the past six weeks. They have all been willing to go get stoned while serving in Africa. They actually served in areas where, churches are being burned and there is genuine open resentment to the Christian faith.
As they relate their stories, it is clear that they were definitely in danger of getting stoned as they visited areas which were hostile to Christians, in hopes of ministering to predominantly Muslim areas of Kenya. Christians around the world are being stoned, burned to death, shot and persecuted everyday in our present world. This is very current news if we would be willing to know of it.
Getting stoned is actually a longstanding Christian tradition. The religious leaders of the day tried to stone Jesus, and of course Stephen, the first martyr for the church got stoned as did Paul, whom they left for dead. My friend and colleague Phil Renfroe who serves at Tenwek Hospital, made note of how many Christians got stoned during the church’s early history and he said the impact of stoning depended on how big a ‘hit’ was taken to the head.
Suffice it to say, we must be careful in the present day use of words and take the Biblical translations in the context of the times. We don’t like the old context of suffering, so we deny suffering for our faith to be of any value whatsoever, unless someone else is doing it.
Very few if any of us are willing to be stoned for our faith, nor even suffer the slight of being embarrassed for what we believe. We deem tithing and sitting through a hour and half church service enough torment and torture. Giving to missions or even going on missions is beyond our mindset and ‘after all, that was for the old church.’
However, the Bible does tell us we should become filled with the Spirit, as opposed to being drunk with strong drink (Ephesians 5:18). It is this same Spirit with which Stephen was filled as he looked up into heaven and could take a direct hit to his body, and his head and lay down his life for his faith (Acts 7:55).
Getting stoned may cost you money, reputation, time and in some instances your health and life. While we may have sacrificed as much to be filled with the things which give pleasures to our bodies, how big a hit are we willing to take to advance the Kingdom of God? Would you listen to the Lord if He told you: “lets go get stoned?” What would you give for your faith? What are you willing to really sacrifice so that others may come to know Christ? How big a hit are you willing to take to your head and heart?
Many Christians today are suffering stoning, burning, hanging and forms of torture and death.
Visit Voices of the Martyrs to learn more.