I was at a store the other day and needed help getting a membership card and there was one guy who spoke a little English. He decided to help me (and saved the day so I could buy diapers) and after getting everything worked out we decided to stay in contact and exchanged numbers. He text me after I left and claimed me as his first “foreign friend.” So I did what friends do best and invited him to church for the Saturday evening service. He had never been to church before and didn’t really know what to expect or what to wear. But after many text he decided that he would come and he did!
We talked with him after the first service and as I listened to him describe what he believed and the “why” behind it all, I started to notice a common pattern that I have heard about China and think this type of mindset is common about Christianity here.
Here is an average middle-class Chinese man in his twenties, married, no kids, college graduate; who has never been to church, doesn’t own a Bible (well didn’t as of yesterday morning), and has no background to the Christian faith or who Jesus is. He isn’t closed to learn more about the teachings of the Bible and seemingly willing to accept much of what the Bibles says. Why? Because he believes and understands the Gospel? No! Because it is beneficial for him in life? Yes! In the same way that college and speaking English give him an advantage in life, he thinks religion can do the same. As if the Bible was written to assist him in achieving things for himself. So many people paint a picture that if you become a Christian then all of your needs will be met with much less pain/sorrow in this life. They make it seem like you will be rich, healthy, and happy, but this is not necessarily true. Christ did not come to save us with a guarantee of a self-defined “best life now” scenario.
This is the starting point for him and many other Chinese…the great paradox…a man that will save his life will lose it, and he that loses his life for Christ sake, will find it (Luke 9:23-26).