While I have not met my extended family in Manchester for almost a year now, it has been a great privilege to meet many Tamil seafarers on the docks and share the Gospel with them, and study God’s Word with a few of them. The hardest part of being a Chaplain in the docks is that, I get to build up a relationship with a stranger, which at most times develops into a great friendship, and then in a week or two watch them sail away, probably never to be seen again on this side of eternity. But thank God for technology, that pain does seem bearable.
However, it is still a scary thing to climb on the gangway looking for opportunities to share the gospel with my Indian Brothers. It does not cause alarm or anxiety to the average Indian when Jesus Christ is preached as a God. But tensions do rise (and much of it) when Jesus Christ is preached as the “only” God and the “only” way, truth and life. That Jesus Christ is the only Saviour of sinners is an offensive message in a pantheistic/polytheistic society. This is because the Hindu mind is bent upon exercising a “moral” code of law to such an extent that at times they require some “graphic” offerings, sacrifices and penance to compromise for “bad credit” earned in one’s life. In many ways, the Brahminic system of religious practice is comparable to the Levitical system of sacrifices (at least from a ritualistic point of view). They cannot accept the fact that righteousness and salvation cannot be credited to them by “good works” done by their sinful hands. Salvation by works is a mainstream school of thought in modern-day Hinduism. Much of the Indian export of “the philosophy of Karma and Dharma” is based on this concept.
The Apostle Paul lamented over Israel who perverted the Law of God to wager their own salvation by striving to earn a righteousness through works. Although Paul understood that “the law is written in their hearts” (Romans 1), he still lamented with “great sorrow and unceasing anguish” for “his kinsmen according to the flesh” to such an extent that he wished (like Moses did centuries ago) to be “accursed and cut off from Christ” (Romans 9). I am personally humbled to know that such is the character of an evangelist who burdened for his own people – a character that I do not have because I treasure my security in Christ so much. But beside the point, I truly cannot pray enough for my kinsmen to be saved. I reflect back on the amazing conversations and Bible study hours I had with “Harry” and “Nick” (pictured) aboard the “Tango.” Brother Harry shared his amazing testimony of repentance and turning to God, and the most amazing story of reconciliation with his parents after he became a born-again Christian.
Are you a seafarer reading this document? Remember, Jesus’ teaching about the narrow way and the narrow door. It is more like a turnstile gate at the airport – only the person who repents of their own sins and turns to God for mercy can enter at a time. Remember, the narrow gate that leads to life does not allow piggy-backs, tag-alongs, stow-aways and plus-one tickets. You cannot take your spouse, parent or child through the gates of heaven. Are you burdened for the salvation of your family and friends? Share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with them unashamedly. Remember, Jesus is the only way, truth and life! If you want to know more about this good news, please do contact us using the information at the back.