Several years ago, I read the story of Martin Niemöller who served the German navy in World War 1. He was steadily promoted through the ranks until he became a decorated war hero, receiving the Iron Cross for his service. Following the war, he became a Lutheran pastor. He became known for his anti-Nazi rhetoric and was arrested.
At first, as the story goes, he was placed under house arrest. But ultimately, he ended up in Sachsenhausen and Dachau prison camps for “protective custody.” His biographer says, “he kept converting his guards.” Like Paul, “he could be caged, but he could not be confined.”
A few years ago, I met my own Niemöller. He was a preacher in a small, south-central Illinois town. Max Whited served the church and a Christian College for many years. His story actually came to me through a local dentist. I was sitting across the table from Dr. White and asking about his faith journey. He told me about Max.
Max needed some dental work and went to Dr. White. As most of us have experienced, sitting in the dentist’s chair means your mouth is wide open, there are fingers, metal instruments, rubber dams and suction hoses in there too. Somehow, amid all the clutter in his mouth, Max proceeded to tell his dentist about Jesus. And he listened. Max couldn’t be quieted.
I wonder regularly, to whom has God attached me that I should be opening my mouth? What chair or cage or chain is holding me captive but should not confine me.