OK, by now you should know that it does not take much to trigger another article out of me. The slightest thing can set me off. A news item did just that today. And this is one of those news items you just don’t see every day. So sure enough, it is now the basis of an article.
The short news story had to do with a rather odd Canadian. He basically disappeared for a while, but re-emerged in September, after quite an experience. He actually lived all by himself in a bunker in his own backyard. How come? The story goes like this:
“January 1, 2000 was the day that our computers were meant to fail us and change our lives forever. It was also the day that 44 year old Norman Feller headed into his underground bunker over fears of the fallout from the Y2K virus. Remarkably Mr. Feller spent the next 14 years in isolation only to emerge this past September. In this touching documentary, Peter Oldring visits with Norman to learn more about his unbelievable decision to live underground.”
(Update: Someone elsewhere pointed out that the comments under my linked article below indicate that this was just a satire piece. I did not see those comments – oh well, if it is just a story, it still serves as an apt sermon illustration! So let me continue!)
OK, so what does all this have to do with anything? Well, the way my mind works, as soon as I saw this I knew I had some more great sermon illustration material. I instantly could see some very real Christian application here. How so? Easy, let me explain.
It seems to me that all sorts of believers are effectively living lives just like this. Maybe most. They are living as if holed up in a bunker somewhere. They not only do not seem to know what is going on in the world around them, but they don’t seem to even care. And they certainly are having zero impact or influence on the surrounding world.
So they might as well be stuck in some bunker somewhere, or isolated in some cave out in the middle of nowhere. They are making no impact on the surrounding culture, and might as well not exist. And of course this goes against the entire rationale for being a believer: to make a difference, to have an impact, and to be a world-changer.
Remember it says of the early church that they turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). The history of the expansion of the Christian church is of course the history of Christians radically changing and impacting the world around them.
This is what Jesus did, and this is what his true disciples do. We are meant to be change agents. We are supposed to be having a real impact on the lives around us, as well as the values, ethics, customs, cultures, laws and politics around us. It is called being a godly influence.
Or as Jesus very simply put it: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:13-16).
Yet how many Christians today are actually refusing to do what Jesus said? This was not some optional extra Jesus was talking about. This was not some “Raise your hand if you want to be salt and light” sort of situation. This is a basic feature of the Christian’s job description.
This is actually what is involved in the normal Christian life. Yet so many believers are not at all being salt and light. Most have no clue as to what is going on in the world around them, and most do not give a rip either. And they of course are not having any sort of impact – at least not a godly, beneficial impact.
They might as well just sit in an underground bunker for 15 years – or for 50. So many Christians will live their whole life this way, and not even realise anything is amiss. It is only when they stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ that their heads will hang in shame as they finally realise what fools they have been.
They will then realise in an instant that they wasted their life. They did nothing for Christ and the Kingdom, even though Christ did everything for them. Christ lived his life to the full for the good of others, but plenty of believers live completely empty lives for the good of their own selfish selves.
I do not want to be such a person on that day. I want to hear the words that all true disciples of Jesus will hear: ‘Well done good and faithful servant. Enter into the joy of the Lord’ (Matthew 25:21). So what about you my friend? Is that your desire as well?
Or are you still stuck in some stupid bunker – just wasting your life away, doing nothing for Christ and nothing for anyone else. It is far better that we ask ourselves such questions now, than wait till it is too late. There are plenty of great saints I could cite here in this regard. Let me offer just three:
“Only one life, ’twill soon be past, Only what’s done for Christ will last.” -C.T. Studd
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.” -martyred missionary Jim Elliot
“While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight; while children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight; while men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight; while there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight, I’ll fight to the very end!” -William Booth