The Cost of Following Jesus

In the last blog Nick mentioned that we got to meet and hear Pastor Slavco’s story. Between his story and the war museum we saw yesterday I’ve had a lot of thoughts to process! I’m still working on them but one thing I’ll share with you now:

Some of you may remember the video that we showed a couple weeks in a row during our Global Impact week. If you don’t remember you can view it here

The view of Sarajevo from the top of the Avaz tower. 

In the video you see the character, "Christian" talking about access to the gospel being restricted in many places of the world. Bosnia is one of those places. It’s not that churches here have to meet in secret or under the radar, but in this country of 3.8 million people, Pastor Slavko said, that about 1,000 are born again Christians. As Nick has shared before, that is like our church being the only christian church in the city of Portland. And even that would make our church larger than the bosnian church. It is staggering to think as we walk around Sarajevo that almost no one we see on these busy streets knows or believes the gospel. Access is very much limited. 

Nick doing some prep work in the office at Izvor. 

Also, as I've been meeting with Christians and hearing about some of the struggles they face I have been trying to wrap my head around the cost of being a Christian in Bosnia. There is always the same cost to following Christ no matter where or who you are. We all lose the throne of our hearts that we used to sit on to the Lordship of Jesus, and this means that we are all called to do things that are hard or stop doing things that we really want to do. But, for some, they pay up front, so-to-speak. For some, it means very tangible sacrifices from the get go. Here, being a christian could mean that your business would suffer. There is such corruption and a system of bribes is built in to many systems. Just as an example, some restaurant waiters will not report all the cups of coffee they sell, instead they will supplement their income by pocketing some of the small sales. When this waiter decides to follow Jesus they will inevitably learn that Jesus wants us to be honest in our dealings and not to steal. You can imagine some of the trouble they may get from the other waiters who now look bad when the christian begins turning in higher receipts at the end of the day, not to mention the loss of supplemented income or that fact that the boss may fire them for the stealing they have already done in the past. There is also the simple discrimination a christian business might face just for being different and dealing in business differently. 

Pastor Matt Howell teaching a Business Ethics Seminar at Izvor. 

Nick also mentioned Pastor Matt's Business Ethics Seminar in which some of these issues were able to be discussed. The seminar itself seemed to be well received and Matt did a really great job presenting the positive side of building trust and doing business in a way that asks, "how would I like to be treated."

Please pray for our brothers and sisters around the world facing difficult issues and seeking to follow Christ and bring light to a dark world. And, let's let their example challenge and convict us.

Thanks for checking in and thank you for praying!

- Jesse