Bashful or Bold

umbrella-raven-maYou have probably benefited from the use of an umbrella at some time or another, so you know what one is and what purpose it serves. You may not, however, know much about the Umbrella Revolution that began on the streets of Hong Kong in September of this year.

The focus of the protest centers on the demands of the Hong Kong Federation of Students, who assert the rights of the public to nominate future candidates for city government posts. Protesters have shouted “mo hou hip,” or “don’t be timid” to encourage those among their ranks to stand their ground against police action and the tyranny of Beijing.

When I read this report, “mo hou hip” resonated with me, because “don’t be timid” is at the heart of what Paul said to Timothy: “God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment (2 Timothy 1:7).”

The young protesters in Hong Kong are taking a stand for a cause that is much bigger than they are. They see long-term ramifications in the anti-democracy actions of Beijing, so they have chosen to stand against the oppressive actions of the government.

Their “mo hou hip” mindset reminds me of another person who took a stand in spite of the odds. When David carried supplies to his brothers who were fighting the Philistines, he was dismayed when he heard Goliath blaspheme God and mock Israel’s army. David’s bold challenge to his brothers was, “Is there not a cause?”

Even though David spoke Hebrew and not Cantonese, his message to his fellow Israelis was the same. It was “mo hou hip.” It was “do not be timid.” It was “stand and fight.”

When you are forced to face the trials of life, remember that God has not given you a spirit of fearfulness. He has given you a spirit of power, love, and sound judgment. God’s message to you is “mo hou hip.”

Starbucks and a Wee Little Man

starI read an interesting David versus Goliath article by Joe Pinsker (The Quirks of Smallness). The David in this story is Herb Hyman who owns the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf chain of coffee shops in Los Angeles.

Hyman began to worry when he was confronted by a well-known and well-financed Goliath that you may have heard of—Starbucks. The battle cry of the coffee behemoth to Hyman was, “Sell out to us, or we’re going to surround your store.”

With the courage and boldness of David, Hyman stood toe-to-toe with Starbucks, and instead of seeing a decline in his coffee sales, he watched as they shot up. Pinsker uses this coffee battle as an example to say: “A company’s smallness, it turns out, is something that can play to its advantage in competing with massive brands.”

As I read this article, I thought of a man whose smallness became an advantage. As Jesus was passing through Jericho a large crowd had gathered, and due to his smallness, Zacchaeus could not see him. Not to be deterred, Zacchaeus climbed up into a sycamore tree, so he could see Jesus as he passed by.

The important part of the story is not that Zacchaeus saw Jesus, but that Jesus saw Zacchaeus. Not only did the Savior see him, but he went home with Zacchaeus; and this proved to be a huge turning point in the life of a small man.

It only takes a brief look at the life of Zacchaeus to see that smallness defined more than just his physical stature. He was also short on ethics and you could bottle his morals in a pint-sized jar.

When Jesus invited Himself to the home of Zacchaeus, He was intent on opening the door to his heart. When this happened a small heart was enlarged, and Zacchaeus said: “Lord, half of my possessions I now give to the poor, and if I have cheated anyone of anything, I am paying back four times as much!” Then Jesus said to him, “Today salvation has come to this household, because he too is a son of Abraham! For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

Regardless of your size, Jesus sees you where you are; knows what you need; and, what He did for Zacchaeus, He will also do for you.