There’s a well-known song with lyrics proclaiming, “Take the world, but give me Jesus . . .” For most, this song remains a matter of emotion and feeling. But for one young man I met on the mission field, this song had a deeper, more intimate reality.
Ram grew up in a prestigious Hindu family as part of the high Brahmin caste. He lived with the many benefits of being a Brahmin and was denied nothing in his life. But he grew up never knowing anything about the Savior, Jesus. It wasn’t until he received a Gospel tract while studying in college that he learned of the Lord Jesus Christ. Convicted of his sin and moved by Jesus’ love for him, Ram soon made a definite commitment to follow Christ and become a child of God.
As he learned about being a disciple of Jesus, one of the first steps he took was to be baptized, making public his declaration as a follower of Jesus. When his family heard of his baptism, they became outraged, for the act of baptism was a public announcement that he was walking away from his previous life. In the Eastern cultures, religion is tied into every aspect of life—family, job, relationships—everything. It is not like changing the political party you are associated with. For Ram to walk away from Hinduism meant he was turning his back on the belief of his parents, his whole family and his village. And being from a respectable, high-class family, this had huge repercussions and brought shame upon his family.
Ram’s parents and relatives tried their best to persuade him to come back to Hinduism. But when their gentle persuasions, tears and pleading failed, his family gave him an ultimatum: deny Christ or leave home, never to be part of the family again.
The reality of walking away from the parents and the sister he loved dearly, including all extended family and the inheritance entitled to him as the son, was a tremendous sacrifice that flashed before his eyes. But a choice must be made.