“Blessed are you when others revile and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you”. (Jesus Christ – Matthew 5:11-12)
If you set about to do the work of preparing for disaster you will likely encounter opposition. Like the prophets of old and all the holy martyrs of Christian history, we find that most folks don’t want to be told the truth about their danger or about their responsibility to prepare for it. There are some similarities between the task of preparing for disaster here and of preparing for eternal life in the Kingdom of God. Those two kinds of preparation differ in several significant ways too. Important as preparing for the failure of the dollar, or the collapse of the grid, or for some natural disaster might be, it is even more important to prepare for the Day of Judgment. On that day that all the deeds and thoughts of men will be weighed out and will be perfectly judged. Our current preparations for disaster will reward us with temporal blessings. Our eternal preparation will yield everlasting fruit unto eternal life.
Knowing that Christ will judge all and will bring in perfect equity means that we do not need to fear the false accusations of men. Everything will be paid out with perfect justice in the end. And here is where we find application for our labors to prepare for disaster. We can endure the opposition of our friends and family with patience because we know that we will be vindicated in the end. They don’t understand now. But they will. Whether in our Christian testimony or in our preparation efforts, we must remember that many just and godly men and women have suffered before us. Like them we must “rejoice and be glad” when we are reviled and persecuted, knowing that “our reward in heaven is great”. Armed with this confidence in the judgment of Jesus Christ we truly can count ourselves “blessed when others revile and persecute us”.
This Day in Church History
April 18, 1526 – John of Epirus martyred – John was born in Ioannina, in northwestern Greece. After the death of his parents he moved to Constantinople to work as a craftsman. The Muslim Turks had recently conquered and occupied that city. Many of the Christians there had apostatized under pressure and had become Muslims. John argued with them and rebuked them for their apostasy. His fellow craftsmen then falsely accused him of having become a convert to Islam but then later having “apostatized” to the Christian Faith, which was a capital offense. John was imprisoned and tortured. The next day, Easter, he was brought forth for more torture. He exclaimed joyfully, “Christ is risen!” His Muslim captors were enraged and condemned him to death. He was beheaded and entered into glory on this day in 1526.