Who would go to treat Ebola patients? September 11 2015

Ebola has been back in the news, and this time the news is good.  There is great optimism that the vaccine in development is very effective at preventing the disease.   This resurgence in the news reminded me about a radio show I was listening to while the outbreak was unfolding in West Africa. The talk-show host was astonished that medical workers, like Dr. Kent Brantly, who caught the Ebola virus, would go into such a situation knowing full well that there was a chance of contracting this deadly disease. The host had no explanation for why someone would do this.  His premise was that everyone is only looking out for him or herself—no exceptions.  Why would someone willingly go headlong into such danger, when the obvious choice for one’s own well-being was to do just the opposite?  

I was sad for the talk-show host, that he either had never seen or had not paid attention to the sacrificial acts that we have been privileged to see followers of Christ perform:  men and women giving up promising careers, a comfortable retirement, or the conveniences of life to serve others.  I wish I could sit down with the talk show host and explain how God’s love has inspired believers from all walks of life to serve in far-flung places to bring medical help, care for orphans, teach job or farming skills, help in the aftermath of disasters, and bring hope through the gospel, irrespective of how much visibility or credit they receive.

Granted, there are many non-Christians who do good and charitable works. But God calls us to selfless love.  This love abandons security. It gives sacrificially. It serves to our own potential detriment. It does not seek attention. It benefits those who cannot repay. It loves the ones who will not or cannot love in return. (Proverbs 19:17, Matthew 6:16-18,
Luke 6:32, Luke 14:12-14, II Corinthians 8:2-4)

This kind of radical love, clearly taught and demonstrated by Jesus, is at the core of what BCF has been teaching to believers worldwide for the past 40 years.  

Situations like the Ebola outbreak can serve as opportunities for believers to show how different and powerful a selfless, sacrificial love can be.  It is so powerful, because it shows the world, in practical terms, how God loves us. I John 4:19: “We love because He first loved us.” I John 3:16 (the “other” John 3:16): “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”

 Here is an amazing hope and opportunity: we don’t need something like Ebola to demonstrate biblical love in our own lives. There are all kinds of situations in which we can demonstrate sacrificial love – one in which people will ask like the talk show host, “how can this be?”  May we be prepared, by God’s grace, to answer that question. In the next blog, we’ll look at how opportunities abound for us to demonstrate this kind of love right here at home.

If you have questions or comments about any blog post, please send them to us at blog@bcfministries.org. Or learn more about BCF’s ministry and study materials at www.bcfministries.org.  

If you would like to tell us about an example of selflessness you have noticed, please write it down in a page or less, and we may use excerpts from it in a future blog.

Steve Smith