ONLY 1 Step to Courage

In 1984, Ronald Reagan explained this powerful anecdote of Telemachus to those assembled at the Annual National Day of Prayer Breakfast in Washington DC.

In the 4th century lived a Christian named Telemachus who dwelt in a remote village, tended his garden and spent much time in prayer. One day, he believed he heard the voice of God telling him to go to Rome. He obeyed and set out on foot. Some weeks later, wearied from his journey, he arrived in Rome about the time of a great festival.

The little man followed the crowd surging through the streets into the Colosseum. He saw the gladiators standing before the Emperor and proclaiming, "We who are about to die salute you." Then Telemachus realized that these men were going to fight to the death for the entertainment of the cheering crowd. So he cried out in a loud voice, "In the name of Christ, Stop!"

Yet the games began. He then pushed the crowd, climbed over the wall and dropped onto the floor of the arena. The entire Colosseum watched this tiny figure rushing toward the gladiators, crying, "In the name of Christ, STOP !!!" The gladiators thought it was part of the show and began laughing. But in a few moments, they realized otherwise, and then the crowd became angry.

Telemachus stood his ground. Insistent he pleaded with the gladiators to stop their bloody show, then a sword was plunged into the saint's body. He fell to the sand. As he died, his last words were, "In the name of Christ, STOP!!!"

Then a strange thing happened. The gladiators stood gazing at the tiny Christian lying there, dead. A hush fell over the Colosseum. Way up in the upper rows, a man stood and made his way to the exit. Others followed. In complete silence, one by one, everyone left the Colosseum.

The year was 404; that day saw the last battle to the death between gladiators in the Roman Colosseum.

Telemachus' martyrdom initiated an historic ban on gladiator fights by the Roman Emperor Honorius. Never again in the great stadium did men kill each other for the entertainment of the crowd.

One tiny man's bold voice -- one voice -- reshaped Roman and then world history. It saved thousands of lives, by fearlessly proclaiming the truth in God's name! (anonymous)#

The boldness of the body is rooted in the bottom of the soul that knows even unto death it holds abiding truth. Courage to speak out springs from the convinced heart.

Courage is captured when the heart is convicted.

Today's Soul Snippet:

"The Tree of Knowledge examines the mind but the Tree of Life examines the heart." Michael Cartwright

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#The story of Telemachus is true, but history has morphed the detail - nevertheless the core is correct and inspirational.