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啟二 10 全節是這樣的：「你將要受的苦你不用怕。魔鬼要把你們中間幾個人下在監裡，叫你們被試煉，你們必受患難十日。你務要至死忠心，我就賜給你那生命的冠冕。」士每拿教會當時面對的是一個黑暗的時代，神不斷提醒教會不要怕。同樣，我們今天面對的問題很多都是令人害怕的，疫症、社會變化、經濟下滑、失業率高企……然而怕並不能解決問題，也不能見證神。
A Long Forgotten Business Card, A Long Forgotten Bible Verse
Rev James Hon
The other day I found a business card of the late Rev Samuel Lamb among some age-old documents. On the card is printed a verse, Revelations 2:10: "Be faithful, even to the point of death." My eyes got a little wet when I read this verse, which is long forgotten.
When I was young, I had a wish, that I would become a brave person. I know I am, by nature, timid and shy. I am much attracted by characters such as Frodo and Sam in The Lord of the Rings and Tanjiro (炭治郎) in Demons Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba (鬼滅之刃). Even though they are from a humble background, they face squarely the foes before them who are much stronger on all counts. Nevertheless, they are fictitious characters in fiction and anime.
But Rev Lamb is an example in real life! The Bible verse is a portrait of his life. My heart is deeply moved when I read the verse on his business card that I suddenly found after all these years. Amazing what an impact a Christian who practices what one preaches can make!
I remember that many years ago at a talk by the Navigators, the speaker mentioned that to be Christ's disciples is to die. That talk made a huge impact on me. In fact, Dietrich Bonhoeffer also said something to this effect, and he ultimately died for his faith. But nowadays, we seldom hear such weighty teaching. It is understandable. People these days face tremendous pressure. Such teaching may add to believers' burdens. And how many of us can be faithful unto death? Teachings that nobody can practice run the risk of becoming high-sounding nothing.
The whole verse of Revelations 2:10 goes like this: "Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life." The Church in Smyrna was then in a dark age. God repeatedly reminded the church not to be afraid. Likewise, the problems we face today are equally scary: epidemic, social changes, economic downturn, high unemployment rate…. Yet, fearing cannot solve the problems, nor can that bear testimony to God.
The end of the verse refers to the crown of life. It is a crown earned with faithfulness and courage. Both are what we need most today. Many predictions have pointed to numerous changes in society after the pandemic. But we need to maintain our faithfulness to God. Fear triggers many extraordinary things: emigration, ultra-sensitivity on privacy, susceptibility to conflicts, lack of mutual trust and depression…. But God asks His children not to be afraid, but to be courageous and steadfast in faith. Rev Samuel Lamb testified to the verse on his business card with his life. What really touches people is not rhetoric, but one's life. So, let us not fear. May God give us courage to, together, face the future in front of us!