“Some want to live within the sound
of church or chapel bell;
I want to run a rescue shop,
within a yard of hell.”
For statements like this, C.T. Studd was called a fanatic by some. I read his words and don’t think of him as a fanatic, but rather as the liver of a Christian life that convicts me. I ask myself: Do I think of each person in front of me as a soul I’m to help toward Christ? Am I on a rescue mission, no matter the cost to myself? Or, am I more concerned with nursing my love of ease? Studd’s answer to those who accused him of fanaticism is even more convicting:
“God’s real people have always been called fanatics.”
Studd, of course, was only answering the call of our Lord:
“I chose you to come out of the world, so it hates you. Do you remember what I told you? ‘A slave is not greater than the master.’ Since they persecuted me, naturally they will persecute you. And if they had listened to me, they would listen to you. They will do all this to you because of me, for they have rejected the one who sent me…But as it is, they have seen everything I did, yet they still hate me and my Father. This fulfills what is written in their Scriptures: ‘They hated me without cause.’
But I will send you the Advocate—the Spirit of truth. He will come to you from the Father and will testify all about me. And you must also testify about me because you have been with me from the beginning of my ministry.” (John 15:18-27)
You may live within the sound of established church bells, or you may be one of only a few Christians in your area, and you know your days will be spent surrounded by people hostile to the gospel. Either way, do you remember your own rescue, and so yearn to introduce others to their only true hope? Are you living your life as a testifier of Jesus’ worth?
Or do you fear the rejection that might come when you, chosen out of the world, testify to those still in it? Do you balk at the persecution you might face when you speak?
God knows that you and I fear in that way. He knew that about His original disciples. That’s why Jesus told them (and God had His words saved for us to later read) that we’d not be alone: The Father has sent us an Advocate, His Spirit, who testifies about Christ. And He tells us that we, with no courage or power of our own, should therefore pray.
We pray for help from the Holy Spirit. We pray that when persecution, rejection, and hatred come, we’ll not shrink back. And we pray that we’ll not worry, even if those who say they’re Christians call us fanatics. For:
A slave is not greater than the master, and God’s real people have always been called fanatics.