The Mountain Man

For years, he was called a madman for toiling away on the rocks. But Dashrath Manjhi was not crazy. His quest to break a path through a small mountain to benefit the entire village is now legendary because he carved an entire road with hand tools, working for 22 years.

Manjhi started off his extraordinary task in 1960, after his wife was injured while trekking up the side of one of the rocky footpaths. To get to the nearest hospital, he had to travel around the mountains, some 70 kilometers. She died as they were not able to reach the doctors on time to save her.

Dashrath Manjhi wanted his people to have easier access to doctors, schools, and opportunity. Armed with only a sledge hammer, chisel, and crowbar, he single-handedly began carving a road through the 300-foot mountain that isolated his village from the nearest town.

He sold the family’s three goats to buy the hammer and chisels and worked every day on the project to make it successful. After plowing fields for others in the morning, he would work on his road all evening and throughout the night.

After 22 years, Dashrath Das Manjhi had broken the mountain; he had carved out a road 360 feet long, 30 feet wide. Wazirganj, with its doctors, jobs, and school was no 5 kilometers away. People from 60 villages in Atri could use his road.

The health of his village is owned to the man that carved through a mountain, Dashrath Manjhi.

This is a story of a man who did something so that the tragedy that he experienced in his life would not be felt by any other man. He didn’t have heavy duty machines to do the herculean task but he found a way to do it by using crude and simple tools, with his blood, seat and tears and by earning his way during the day and toiling on it in the night.

He was mocked and ridiculed as a mad man, but his vision, his determinations and grit, his commitment to this goal and his love for people who wouldn’t care, earned him the success that he coveted. In the end, he was recognized for his achievement and hundreds of people from his village and the outlying areas became eternally grateful to him for their easy access to education, health care and the very preservation of their lives.

Manjhi reminds us of Jesus. He was rich and yet He became poor so that through his poverty we may be made rich. And He endured everything, even death on the cross for people who didn’t care. “He came unto His own and His own received Him not.” (John 1:11) But He endured it all because of the joy that was set before Him, the joy of seeing people eternal saved in the kingdom because of His sacrifice. (Hebrews 12:2)

Focusing on the Task at Hand

The time was the 19th of May, 1780. The place was Hartford Connecticut. The day has gone down in New England history as a terriblr foretaste of Judgement Day. For at noon the skies turned from blue to gray and by mid-afternoon had blackened over so densely that, in that religious age, men fell on their knees and begged a final blessing before the end came.

The Connecticut House of Representatives was in session. And as some men fell down and others clamored for an immediate adjournment, the Speaker of the House, Colonel Davenport, came to his feet. He silenced them and said these words: “The Day of Judgment is either approaching or it is not. If it is not, there is no cause for adjournment. If it is, I choose to be found doing my duty. I wish, therefore, that candles may be brought.”

This was the Great Dark Day in Adventist eschatology when the sun was darkened and the moon became as blood, a fulfilment of Bible prophecy and a sign of the coming of the last days. Equally important to this historic event is the part of the story which says that the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the State of Connecticut, when others were calling for adjournment so they ciuld be with their families and loved ones, proposed instead to light up candles and go about their official business, arguing that if indeed the end of the world has come, he wanted to be found doing hus duty.

Hundreds of years later, we find ourselves much, much closer to the end of this earth’s history. Prophecies are fulfilling right before our very eyes. Fish kill, animal herds suddenly dying in many places in the world, flocks of birds falling dead from the sky and other mysterious phenomenon in the world of nature, terrorism and troubles in politics and society, and events in the religious realm are screaming out the fact that the end is near. Even events transpiring within the church prove that history is about to come to a close. And I think this is the devil’s strategy to bring division and conflict in the church of God so that these distractions would cause his people to neglect their God-given task.

But should we get distracted? Should we panic? Should we be frightened and escape to the hills? Let “candles be brought: and let us focus on the task at hand. If indeed the end of the world is about to come upon us, let it find us doing our duty and performing the task the Lord has given us to do. He said, “Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, the son and the holy ghost.” (Matthew 28:19)

Kill the Church or Care for It

Most if not all of us are members of the church. And as members, we are either a support or a burden, an asset or a liability to the church’s onward progress. Whether we are aware of them or not, our actions either propel it forward or drag it back.

The following poem written by an anonymous author lists down the things members do which ruin and ultimately destroy and damage the church.

If You Want to Kill the Church

Never go to your church or meetings held there,
If you do go, be late, it’s no one’s affair.
If the weather is bad, either too hot or snowing,
Just stay home and rest, for there’ll be others going.

But should you attend, be sure and remember
To find fault with the work, each official and member.
Be sure to hold back on your offerings and tithes,
The bills will be paid by the rest of the guys.

And never take office if offered the post,
But eagerly criticize work of the host.
If not on a committee you’re placed, be sore!
If you find that you are, don’t attend any more.

When asked your opinion on this thing or that,
Have nothing to say, just turn ’em down flat.
Then after the meeting, shine out like the sun
By telling the folks how it should have been done.

Don’t do any more than you possibly can,
Leave the work for some other woman or man.
And when you see faithful ones work themselves sick,
Then stand up and holler, “It’s run by a clique!”

The church is Christ’s body and is also the Savior of it (Ephesians 5:23). He loves His body and we need to love it too as we ourselves are part of it (I Corinthians 12:27). May we all show our love by caring and supporting it so “that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:27).

Power in the Word of God

Many years ago in a Moscow theater, matinee idol Alexander Rostovzev was converted while playing the role of Jesus in a sacrilegious play entitled Christ in a Tuxedo. He was supposed to read two verses from the Sermon on the Mount, remove his gown, and cry out, “Give me my tuxedo and top hat!”

But as he read the words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted,” he began to tremble. Instead of following the script, he kept reading from Matthew 5, ignoring the coughs, calls, and foot-stamping of his fellow actors.

Finally, recalling a verse he had learned in his childhood in a Russian Orthodox church, he cried, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom!” (Luke 23:42) Before the curtain could be lowered, Rostovzev had trusted and accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.

Rostovzev’s experience shared in the above story proclaims what countless other people have already found out after getting exposed to the written Word of God. And when men and women read or listen to it and don’t close their minds but open their hearts to the convicting and converting power of the Holy Spirit, they will be changed. They will experience a regeneration or a rebirth as was spoken of by Jesus in that interview at night with Nicodemus.

So let us expose ourselves to the living Word of God and let us be open to the work of the Holy Spirit. He will change our hearts and we will become willing and joyful followers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Khrushchev and the Scriptures

At the village church in Kalonovka, Russia, attendance at Sunday school picked up after the priest started handing out candy to the peasant children. One of the most faithful was a pug-nosed, pugnacious lad who recited his Scriptures with proper piety, pocketed his reward, then ran to the fields to munch on it.

The priest took a liking to the boy and persuaded him to attend church school. For the boy, this was preferable to doing household chores from which his devout parents excused him. And by offering other inducements, the priest managed to teach the boy the four Gospels. In fact, he won a special prize for learning all four by heart and reciting them nonstop in church.

60 years or so later, he still likes to recite Scriptures, but in a context that would horrify the old priest. For the prize pupil, who memorized so much of the Bible, is Nikita Khrushchev, the former Communist czar.

This story shows that the “why” behind the memorization of Scriptures is as important as the “what.” The same Nikita Khrushchev who nimbly mouthed God’s Word when a child, later declared God to be nonexistent — because his cosmonauts had not seen Him when they went into space. Khrushchev memorized the Scriptures for the candy, the rewards, the bribes, rather than for the meaning it had for his life. Artificial motivation will produce artificial results.

Let us not simply go into the memorization of the Word of God but let it become part and parcel of our lives. Let us allow the Scriptures to nourish and feed our souls. Jeremiah would say “Thy words were found…and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” (Jeremiah 15:16). And David sang about how he enjoyed them declaring them to be “sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.” (Psalms 19:10).

Jesus also said the Scriptures sustain our spiritual lives as bread nourishes our physical bodies. Matthew records His words, “Man shall not live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4).