March 14, 1948.
It was on this day that Douglas Hyde, a top-ranking party leader, left the Communist Party in London.
Twenty years later, he would write a book called “Dedication and Leadership”. His observation was sobering: Why had the Communists taken over 1/3 of the world by that time? When all they had started with was a few supporters in the 1900’s?
If you ask me what is the distinguishing mark of the Communist, what it is that Communists most outstandingly have in common…I would say that beyond any shadow of doubt it is their idealism, their zeal, dedication, devotion to their cause and willingness to sacrifice.
Yes, the Marxist-Leninism beliefs led to the death “of over 100 million people during the twentieth century alone.” Yes, they are guilty of millions of human right violations and moral abuse to the nth degree.
But Mr. Hyde believes we can still learn something. I think he is right.
What they got right
Douglas observed what made Communism so successful. The “starting point” that contributed more than anything?
Hyde shares an experience he had in a foreign jail:
During the course of one particular year, I was in prison with…six Asian Communist leaders from three different races and from almost as many classes as exist in their country…Each, too, had been prepared to risk his liberty and his career for the cause. The risk was real. I met them all in prison.
It makes me wonder if modern-day Christians are that committed to the cause of Christ. Are we so dedicated to the gospel that we would accept the risk of imprisonment? Or worse?
Who (really) got it right
Someone who nailed dedication was Peter and John.
After healing a lame man who had never walked in 40 years, they began to preach to the gathering crowds.
The Sadducees and temple guards began to crack down. And arrest them. During the trial, the apostle duo started to proclaim the gospel to the Jewish leaders. To reject Jesus was to reject God, Peter explained.
The problem was that the Sanhedrin – the Jewish council – had nothing to say in opposition. How could they deny that two ordinary Galilean fisherman just healed a lame man?
The only option was to leave it alone, tell them to keep quiet, and hope the movement would die.
So they called them and charged them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.” – Acts 4:18-20
Peter and John were committed to the gospel. Whatever the risk.
That is dedication.
Will we get it right?
Christians have a message explosive enough to liberate souls from the darkness. Powerful enough to bring people from all tribes, languages, and nations together despite differences.
Yet the Communist, with beliefs that enslave, outpaced Christianity during the same time period.
If we have something so much more precious, why are our lives not marked by the same – if not more – determination?
Mr. Douglas closes his book with a call for us to make an impact upon the world:
For this task, dedicated Christian leaders will be needed…Ones who understand what they believe, are deeply dedicated to it, and who try unceasingly to relate their beliefs to every facet of their own lives and to the society in which they live.
Modern, watered-down, sugar-frosted, compartmentalized Christianity of today is the last thing we need.
We need individuals willing to sacrifice everything for Christ. Willing to live out their beliefs in everything they do, from sun up to sun down. We need Christian leaders.
Dedicated Christian leaders.