Most of you have heard the disturbing news of the bombings in Sri Lanka. Many of the more than 300 victims are Christians. Whilst Sri Lanka is not generally known to be a country where Christians are persecuted, Open Door (a charity helping the persecuted church) nevertheless lists it on their World Watch list as a country where Christians face high levels of persecution.
In Matt 5:11-12 we read: “Blessed are you when others revile you 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.”
This statement of Jesus does not easily agree with us. On the one hand, one should not be so surprised that Christians are facing hardships or even death in some places. And we should indeed pray for strength and perseverance for the brothers and sisters in Sri Lanka – and indeed we should be thankful for the opportunities and freedoms we enjoy in Switzerland.
On the other hand, the verse seems to indicate that the „price“ we pay in this life (for following Christ) is related to the „prize“ (reward) we receive in the eternal life. Therefore, our human motivation to avoid hardships and rejection whenever possible, may not serve us well in the end. Perhaps we should frequently ask ourselves what “prize” we aim for and what “price” we are prepared to pay?