I was reading a post over on Ben Arment’s blog about the sociological factors that are involved in the expansion of the Christian religion, and it reminded me of this quote from Rodney Stark’s book “The Rise of Christianity“. I’ll include the preceding paragraph so you’ll know the context:
“At the height of the second great epidemic, around 260, in the Easter letter already quoted above, Dionysius wrote a lengthy tribute to the heroic nursing efforts of local Christians, many whom lost their lives while caring for others.”
Most of our brother Christians showed unbounded love and loyalty, never sparing themselves and thinking only of one another. Heedless of danger, they took charge of the sick, attending to their every need and ministering to them in Christ, and with them departed this life serenely happy; for they were infected by others with the disease, drawing on themselves the sickness of their neighbors and cheerfully accepting their pains. Many, in nursing and curing others, transferred their death to themselves and died in their stead…
When everyone else ran for the hills in fear, the Christians followed the Golden Rule. When everyone else was about self-preservation, Christians were about everyone else.
Perhaps the ultimate hope of the local church has very little to do with marketing. Perhaps it will have more to do with the small things we do with great love. Perhaps it was a good idea for Matthew Barnett to use an old hospital for their Dream Center.