In this month’s edition of The Voice of the Martyrs periodical Tom White, director of VOM, cites Wilbur Rees who said,
I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please. Not enough to explode my soul or disturb my sleep, but just enough to equal a cup of warm milk or a snooze in the sunshine. I don’t want enough of God to make me love a black man or pick beets with a migrant. I want ecstasy, not transformation. I want warmth of the womb, not a new birth. I want a pound in the Eternal in a paper sack. I would like to buy $3 worth of God, please.
White is reminding the reader that an engagement with the persecuted church, even from the comforts of the West, will mean, at minimum, a serious emotional investment. The graphic pictures, the heart-wrenching stories, and the deep suffering of separated families because a spouse is carried off to prison for naming the name of Christ are hard to see, read, and imagine. But it is reality for many Christians. White challenges the reader when he writes,
Perhaps how we view published images of persecuted Christians–some consider them to be too graphic, in poor taste or sensational journalism, while others see an opportunity for fellowship and love–could depend upon how much of the cross we have been taught to carry. Three dollars worth of the cross does not include the sharp emotions of grief and pain. We can starve ourselves, our congregation and our Christian denominations if our sackful of God is too small.
Perhaps keeping connected with the persecuted church is the kind of “soul-explosion” and “sleep disturbance” that we desperately need! A closing word from the author of Hebrews is fitting,
Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them; and those who are mistreated, since you are also in the body (Hebrews 13:3).