Over the end-of-year holidays each year, I usually take a media fast for a few days - meaning I disconnect from news sources and ignore most of what’s happening in the world. Frankly, it’s usually no great loss. Preening politicians, narcissistic celebrities, and overpaid athletes carried on without me and never missed me. I didn’t miss them either.
Reconnecting involves fast-forwarding through recent news feeds to see if there was anything truly noteworthy. This year, there was.
Around the world, Christians are suffering and being killed at an unprecedented pace.
Reports of Christians arrested in China, church leaders tortured in Laos, and mass graves of martyrs found in Libya are recent examples of Christian persecution and execution happening around the world. While the American church is often preoccupied with frivolous internal arguments or fascinated by the latest political debates, our brothers and sisters around the world are fighting for their lives. Reading their stories confronted my lethargy and started my year with fresh perspective on what’s really important and what deserves my attention.
While ignoring popular media, I did not retreat from reading. My holiday reading project was a biography about a woman missionary who was detained and placed in a prisoner of war camp by the Japanese during World War II. Her story of surviving deprivation, torture, and humiliation also contributed to reshaping my perspective on what it really means to serve sacrificially.
My resolution for the new year is to do a better job maintaining an eternal perspective on what really matters – getting the gospel to as many people as possible. The situation faced by the global church, along with missionary and ministry heroes who have laid down their lives for what really matters, demand we do a better job on this. Join me in a similar resolution for 2019.