I have to say that Christians in India definitely have some “skin in the game” when it comes to practicing their faith. At the Feast of Tabernacles in Land Between the Lakes, Kentucky this past year, Michael Deering gave a presentation about the life of Christians in India. It was at once appalling and also inspiring to see our brothers in Christ rejoice in the Lord in spite of the poverty and persecution they face. 

You probably remember from Social Studies about the caste system of India and their Hindu religion. While freedom of religion is the law and the cast system is supposedly on its way out, Christians in India, Deering told us, are subjected to beatings and persecution typically reserved for the lowest citizens, just because they are Christians. And yet, the numbers of those accepting Christianity are growing.

To have “skin in the game,” means to have a personal investment in an organization or undertaking, and therefore a vested interest in its success. But these precious children of God sometimes literally give up skin and blood for their beliefs. 

They are not alone in this type of suffering. We also have the example of the early New Testament apostles. We read in Act 5:40-42 [NIV] …They called the apostles in and had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. The apostles left the Sanhedrin, rejoicing because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name. Day after day, in the temple courts and from house to house, they never stopped teaching and proclaiming the good news that Jesus is the Messiah. 

Sometimes we lose a job or a mate or friendships over our beliefs and I do not mean to diminish those sacrifices. This, too, is “skin in the game” when it comes to standing strong in the faith. These are sacrifices for our beliefs.

But the really fabulous, incredible thing is that God, the Eternal, all Powerful, all Knowing Creator is invested in your success (and mine) and has been so from the beginning of time. The Father has “skin in the game.” From the beginning of time God has been invested in your success (and mine) and He did not plan to be a Father who stood aloof from His children. See Act s17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after Him, and find Him, though He be not far from every one of us:

He also sent His only Son to suffer and die – to put His own blood and skin in the game – in order to fulfill His plan for saving you and me. Here are just a few of the scriptures that speak of the Messiah’s sacrifice:

Ephesians 1:7 NIV] In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace

1 Peter 2:24 [KJV] Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.

Isaiah 52:14 [NIV] Just as there were many who were appalled at him-- his appearance was so disfigured beyond that of any human being and his form marred beyond human likeness--

Jesus knows exactly what it is like to have “skin in the game” and, therefore, can empathize with what our brethren in India go through. Hebrews 4:15 [KJV] For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities…

I have to ask myself how much I am willing to put some “skin in the game.” Would I ever feel like the sacrifice of tithing or driving a whole hour to church or taking the time to serve others or giving up a career that I love so that I can keep the Sabbath, just too much for me to be expected to endure? Of course not. We have all made sacrifices of one type or the other, but most of us have not faced anything like what Jesus faced or the apostles faced or the Indian brethren face today. Maybe someday we will. 

If the day comes when I am asked to endure beatings, I must be willing and ready to endure them without fighting back. Then to get up, rejoicing as I go back out there and do it again.  I would hope, as the example of the Apostles, I would be willing to praise and thank God that I was worthy to suffer for my faith, and then get right back to work at it. 

Having “skin in the game” was always God’s plan from the start. Jesus was “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (See Rev 13:8). He willingly came here and gave His body and blood for me. I must be ready, should the day come, to do the same for Him, praising Him for the opportunity to put some of my own skin in the game. 

If you would like to know more about the work being done in India, volunteer or donate, you may contact Michael Deering personally via email at: 

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