In the same way, any of you who does not give up everything he has cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:33
Ernest Hemingway once said that "courage is fear that has prayed!" If he's right, then a man in Zamboanga has that kind of stuff. In the event that the city of Zamboanga doesn't register with you, allow me to explain that this is one of the principal cities in Mindanao, southern Philippines, an area which has been torn by strife.
His nickname is "Pongo" and he's a radio engineer with the Far East Broadcasting Company. He was there the day that Muslim gunmen drove a motorcycle into the FEBC compound, ran into the studio, and, with guns spewing bullets, shot and killed Greg Bacabis, the FEBC engineer who kept the station running, and Greg Halapa, a pastor whose Gospel program was aired over the stations.
That was enough for Pongo. He had had it. He knew that he might very well be the next person to be gunned down. He had a wife and children, and he didn't want to take the risk. Pongo had a motorized pedicab--a motorcycle with a side car attached-- which is used for inexpensive transportation. Pongo reasoned that with a degree of luck, he might even be able to turn the sideline into a real money-making business, at least, enough to support his family. The risk of being killed in traffic was less than being shot by a terrorist.
So Pongo quit his job at the Christian radio station. In the days that followed, as Pongo drove his pedicab, he thought of the two men who had died for the cause of Jesus Christ, and he began to understand how the disciples felt when they all fled when Jesus was taken in the Garden.
"Enough!" Pongo finally thought. He went back to the radio studio and told the staff that he would be ashamed to die in a traffic accident. If he had to be killed, he wanted to die for the cause of Christ.
He went about his work quietly, apprehensively. He prayed and waited. Then it happened. In the words of FEBC's president, "A few days after Pongo returned to work, a motorcycle raced into the studio compound. Remembering that the gunmen had come in on a motorcycle before, the staff feared they had returned to finish the job of killing all the broadcasters. People dove under tables and desks...hid behind cabinets...scrambled to get into closets.
"But not Pongo. He deliberately walked to the console in the studio and sat down. ‘If I'm to be shot,’ he said, ‘I'd rather be broadcasting the gospel--not hiding under a table!'"
It was a false alarm and nobody was hurt, but Pongo didn't know that when he walked into the studio and took his place at the controls.
What a display of courage! Hemingway was right: Fear that has prayed can motivate a person to tremendous acts of courage. Pongo joins the ranks of those whom should be considered real heroes of the faith.
Because real heroes are not the media celebrities whose faces are known to millions or sports stars applauded by the crowds. They are the unknown, unnamed men and women who are willing to lay down their lives for what they believe. Today they may be found living out their faith in places like Uzbekistan, Syria or Iran. They are fired from jobs, expelled from school, beaten and yes, killed. The book of Acts describes them, like Paul and Barnabas, as "men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 15:26). That’s a hero.
Question: What would you be willing to risk for your faith? Your name? Your reputation? Even your life? Pongo made that decision. He decided to follow Jesus.
Resource Reading: Luke 14:25-34