Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Bible Story

I recently heard a story on the radio about a man named Michael from Ukraine.  Michael accepted Christ in his youth, but he did not own a Bible.  When he was in the military he saw another soldier in his barracks who would pull out a Bible and read it from time to time.  Michael asked to borrow the Bible as he, too was a believer, and the new friend agreed.

One day the commanding officer called the unit together.  There was speculation among the men for the purpose of the meeting but no one could guess what it was.  It seems that Michael's friend had left his Bible out one day, and someone had seen it and reported it to the commanding officer.

When the men were all gathered the commander lifted the Bible and asked, "Whose Bible is this?"  Silence.  Again, "Step forward if this is your Bible."  Again there was no answer.  Both men knew that there could be serious consequences if it became known that they were Christians.  Michael said the owner was too cowardly to come forward and the Bible wasn't his, so he didn't claim it either.  They both remained silent.

Once again: "Who owns this Bible?"  "I do," came the reply from another man in the unit, as he went forward to claim the Bible.  "Hide this Bible," the man was told by the commander, but he was not punished.

Later Michael and the Bible's owner asked him why he had claimed the Bible at the risk of punishment, even when it was not his own.  "I have wanted to read the Bible for a long time," the man told them, "and I saw this as my chance to read it."

Michael is now the Ukraine Director of the Bible League, a ministry that provides Bibles for people around the world.  On a recent Bible distribution trip to Russia and Ukraine, Dave Drui of Seattle's KGNW and John Hall of WORD in Pittsburgh had the chance to meet Michael and hear this story.

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