I was recently informed that there was a dead mouse at the bottom of the garden. It had thoughtfully kicked the bucket on the concrete outside our shed. Being a boy I went to investigate.
It was a rat! This explained a general under performance at biology GCSE from some members of the family. It also made me very interested in an article on rats I spotted in a magazine last night.
As I read about the world's most feared rodent (Apparently they are so flexible they can squeeze through a crack no wider than half an inch! And they do eat people alive from time to time!) I began thinking how they resembled Christians.... in some ways!
The first is that they are pretty much indestructible. However hard people have tried to poison them, kill them off with dogs, ferrets or cats, or get them in vicious traps, they have simply kept on breeding. Just like Christians.
Throughout the ages people have tried to put an end to believers in Jesus, with absolutely no success whatsoever. Jesus said, "...I will build my church, and the gates of Hell will not overcome it." (Matthew 16:18). And he was right.
Which brings me on to the second reason we're like rats. Whenever rats are attacked they seem to compensate by breeding more quickly. You might succeed in killing a few. Maybe even a lot. But the result is that they reproduce at a faster rate. And the same is true of Christians. Not in the having babies way, but in the new people becoming believers way.
Wherever the church is persecuted it seems to grow more quickly. That was certainly the case in the Bible.
"...Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison. 4 Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went." (Acts 8:3)
God even takes persecutors like Saul and makes them into preachers like Paul!
So today the church grows most quickly in countries like China. The fire of persecution refines the purity of faith in the Christian, so that they are more wholehearted disciples of Christ.
Which is why Christian in the West are in danger in exactly the same way as rats.
The article was all about a new drug that is brilliantly effective at reducing rat populations by making them infertile. Once they can't reproduce they can be killed off. The reason this new poison is so effective is that "...it tastes like nine packets of saccharine blended into two tablespoons of kitchen oil." And rats love it. They really love it.
We struggle in exactly the same way with the sweet taste of material comfort and societies acceptance. The problem is that, like the rats, we don't realise that the things we love feasting on make us infertile. We don't share the gospel with people because we're piling our emotional energy into our stuff and piling our security into being liked by our friends, colleagues and neighbours. And we love it. We really love it.
It we want to be effective in reproducing we need to stop drinking the poison of our culture and start feasting deeply on the soul food of the gospel of Jesus Christ.