Sometimes We Win When We Are Willing to Lose! … Hello Hump Day readers, hope you are having a great week in this June summer-time (and that your air conditioner is working well!). I have been reading several books on and off this summer regarding the Civil War. Many-many years ago we studied this in high school. Sadly, so much was left out, especially the awful slave trade, lynching, etc.

In my reading I have come across a bevy of true stories that impacted those war times as well as the “re-start” of many lives. Most of the stories have one major theme: “I will fear God more than I fear people.” The risk many of them took was a harrowing adventure and many never made it to their hopeful outcome. It is liken to the many who hid the Jews in WWII—they stepped out to do the right thing knowing it would put them in the crosshairs of the Nazi regime.

There is a lot of controversy today about critical race thinking. It would be much easier to bury the past and go on as if these horrific things never happened. However, when we do this, we tend to repeat the past over again which does nothing but continue the hatred, racism, etc. It’s time we learn from out past to make a better world for generations to come.

So I want to introduce you to a man named Elijah Lovejoy, a Presbyterian minister and a journalist for the St. Louis Observer. After observing one lynching, Lovejoy was committed forever to fighting the awful sin of slavery which was rare for a white man at the time. His life was made a living hell. Time after time, mob action was brought against him. But neither this nor many threats nor attempts on his life deterred him. In fact, repeated destruction of his presses didn’t even stop him! Many of his friends were concerned for his life and tried to keep him from writing any more. He would have nothing to do with their fears. Instead, he told them, “If by compromise is meant that I should cease from my duty, I cannot make it. I fear God more that I fear man. Crush me if you will, but I shall die at my post.”

And die he did—four days later at the hands of another mob. And not one member of the mob that killed him was ever prosecuted or indicted or punished in any way for his murder. However, another young man of faith was deeply moved by the Lovejoy martyrdom. He had just been elected to the Illinois legislature. His name was Abraham Lincoln. Think about it, the Civil War might have been averted and a peaceful emancipation of slaves achieved had there been more people like journalist Elijah Lovejoy!

Jesus had words about ‘losing to win’ when he said: (John 12: 24-25 MSG): “Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over. In the same way, anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life. But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you’ll have it forever, real and eternal.”

Those of us who profess to be the children of God have a calling in life that is much greater than our own lives. At this very moment, think of the people of faith in the Ukraine who are willing to give it all to save their country and their families from Russian devastation. One young man told a reporter that “if I should die it will not be in vain as I am in Christ and no war or death can take that away from me.”

We may not be called to martyrdom today, but if we believe the words of Jesus above, the commitment stays the same. Are we willing to lose for a greater cause? I’d love to hear the Apostle Paul answer that question for us today! In his letter to the church at Corinth, he said:

“To the weak, I became weak that I might win the weak.
I have become all things to all people
that by all means I might save some.
I do it all for the sake of the gospel
that I may share with them in its blessings.”
(1 Corinthians 1:19-21 NLT)

 And he also said to the church at Philippi:
“Through your faithful prayers and the generous response
 of the Spirit of Jesus Christ, everything
he wants to do in and through me will be done.
I can hardly wait to continue on my course.
I don’t expect to be embarrassed in the least.
On the contrary, everything happening to me in
this jail only serves to make Christ more accurately
known regardless of whether I live or die.
They didn’t shut me up; they gave me a platform!
Alive, I’m Christ’s messenger; dead, I’m his prize.
Life versus even more life! I can’t lose.”
(Philippians 1:19-21 MSG)

 To sum this up, we must ask ourselves, “What am I willing to lose?” If that loss is to help another, to encourage and share the Gospel, to be a light to those in a dark world—you have lost nothing and gained everything, AMEN.