Glory Heavyweights of the Middle East
By, Rev. Jim Croft
2 Corinthians 4:17-18 speaks of how the momentary afflictions of this life have the capacity to bestow believers with the most coveted honor that can be earned. It is the eternal weight of glory that exceeds the highest honors and accomplishments available on earth. However, earning this reward has an inescapable qualification.
While experiencing any form of affliction, particularly that which is faith related; we must focus our attention on the eternal realm rather than the temporal realm that generates suffering. This means that inclinations to murmur to the Lord about the unfairness of situations are overridden by decisions to count it all joy when we encounter diverse trials of life.
To put our minds on victimization is to fail. To focus on the heavenly rewards of Christ’s victory on our behalf works to position us to be crowned with glory. If fiery trials take all of our earthly possessions; we rejoice that better ones await us in heaven. Should loved ones forsake us; the Holy Spirit has saints in reserve that will come into our lives as more dependable replacements. If the tents of our earthly bodies are tortured and shredded at death; the glorious tabernacles of our redeemed spirits will wisp us into the matchless grandeur of holy immortality.
At this writing, there are brave believers in the Middle East who are experiencing temporal horrors. Yet, they purposely put themselves at risks because their hearts are set on the eternal dimension. I am speaking of the Coptic Christians of Egypt.
The Copts are descendants of the original non-Arab Egyptians. Orthodox Coptic Christians comprise the earliest roots of Christianity still in existence. They have a unique approach to evangelizing dangerous Muslims. Coptic students excel in their studies of technology, science, and business with expectation of being hired by Muslim firms of the Middle East.
Islamic businesses have found that Coptic employees have qualities that are not universal among Muslims. Among these are honesty and dedication to the company’s advancement. The evangelistic hope of Coptic workers is that Muslim employers and coworkers will take note of the different level of integrity that they exhibit. This has proved to attract new converts to the Christian faith.
This is a form of evangelism does not require interjection of religious words every other breath. It gently convinces observers to initiate questions. Perhaps, there are some who would think robust-in-your-face-I-got-Jesus witnessing style braver.
There is a day coming when you will recognize the impressive bravery that Coptic witness represents. It will be when you meet one of the 21 Coptic believers in heaven who were recently beheaded by ISIS on a Libyan beach. It was the purposes of the Kingdom of God that inspired their seeking employment in Libya. They were among the best contenders for titles of champion heavyweights of the glory of God in the Middle East.
When you enter the aura of the presence of one of them, do not be surprised if you experience something humbling, yet exhilarating. Your head might bow slightly and your shoulders too might tend to slump from an electrical-honey-like pressure. What is at work? It is the eternal weight of glory that the Coptic believer earned on earth overshadowing you.
Within my spirit, I have conviction that every Christian can possess his own distinctive weight of glory. If that is the case, one of the infinite joys of eternity will be the mutual overshadowing of one another’s weight of glory as we embrace.