Annahita is an Iranian woman serving as a missionary in Sweden. As a former refugee and prisoner, she’s experienced plenty of hardship, but her heart is tender for those who don’t yet know their Savior. She says, “My life is not for me. It is for Swedish people.”
Sweden is a very secular and individualistic society where rebelling against authority, community, and the sacred is considered the norm. But even in a location where nature is idolized and the church is dying, Rasool finds glimpses of the holy.
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Is faith necessary?
Stockholm is regularly ranked as one of the happiest places on earth. It’s also known as one of the most secular. So it’s fair to ask the question, “Does having faith really matter?” The answer depends on how you view Jesus and the message He brought.
Is putting others first a revolutionary idea?
There’s a Swedish concept known as jantelagen, which loosely translated means “putting the needs of others before yourself.” It’s a revolutionary idea that was demonstrated by Sweden’s own Alfred Nobel, as well as the apostle Paul. What might jantelagen look like in your life?
Was Jesus a revolutionary?
The stunning views from these mountains in northern Sweden’s Abisko Park are perfect for pondering other mountaintop experiences where Jesus turned everything upside down. Christ came to revolutionize the status quo through His words in the Sermon on the Mount and by His death on Mount Calvary.
Two men remembered for serving others for Jesus left careers in the arts to commit themselves to where they believed God had called them. James O. Fraser (1886–1938) decided not to pursue being a concert pianist in England to serve the Lisu people in China, while the American Judson Van DeVenter (1855–1939) chose to become an evangelist instead of pursuing a career in art. He later wrote the hymn “I Surrender All.”
While having a vocation in the arts is the perfect calling for many, these men believed God called them to relinquish one career for another. Perhaps they found inspiration from Jesus counseling the rich, young ruler to give up his possessions to follow Him (MARK 10:17–25). Witnessing the exchange, Peter exclaimed, “We have left everything to follow you!” (V. 28). Jesus assured him that God would give those who follow Him “a hundred times as much in this present age” and eternal life (V. 30). But He would give according to His wisdom: “Many who are first will be last, and the last first” (V. 31).
No matter where God has placed us, we’re called to daily surrender our lives to Christ, obeying His gentle call to follow Him and serve Him with our talents and resources—whether in the home, office, community, or far from home. As we submit to His call, He’ll also inspire us to love others.
Who comes to mind when you think of someone who’s sacrificed for Christ? How is God calling you to surrender?
Father in heaven, I surrender all to You. Help me to love and trust You and to serve others.