Bonhoeffer and the Prize

  One of my heroes of the faith died on 9 April 1945. Hung naked from the gallows of a Nazi concentration camp, Flossenburg, Dietrich Bonhoeffer has “lived on” to become a modern witness of the cost and call standing up against evil. And while evil won a temporary battle 71 years ago, Bonhoeffer won the war when he stepped into eternity and heard the words, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

He was a pastor, a scholar, a theologian, a spy and a martyr for the faith. Not perfect. Not a Baptist. But a giant of the faith and a man whose writings continue to influence me and others. 

In his Letters and Papers from Prison compiled after his death by his best friend Eberhard Bethge, we find these words:

It will be the task of our generation, not to “seek great things,” but to save and preserve our souls out of the chaos, and to realize that is the only thing we can carry as a “prize” from the burning building.

Whew. Not a great campaign slogan is it? But the absolute truth. This world is chaotic and burning and collapsing. And it has been since Paul wrote very similar words while preparing to die in Rome c. AD 68 (2 Tim. 4:7-8).

So neither Bonhoeffer nor Paul would have made great political stump speeches. I guess I don’t either in this 2016 Election Year. For I simply want want to follow the example of these two men and be prepared to meet God with my faith true and my calling of Jewish evangelism steadfast and hear Him say, “Well done.” 

I also hope to hear a few Jewish souls come up and say Todah Rabbah. Those words will make all this chaos and heartache seem like gold. 


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