As Gamers we all enjoy playing the epic battles. Sometimes when I play I am reminded of a monk who lived long ago named Telemachus. He dwelt in a desert to devote his life to fasting and prayer. He wished, above all else, to have fellowship with the Almighty. One day it occurred to him that his love for God was not self-less but selfish. How could he practice the Christian life all alone in the desert? If he would be a Jesus follower, then he must serve others. Therefore, he said good-bye to his life of isolation, left the desert behind, and travelled across the world to the greatest of all cities, Rome.
It was now the 4th century AD and Rome was officially Christian. Yet one heinous practice remained among this supposedly Jesus-believing populace – the gladiatorial games. Christians were not fed to the lions any longer, yet prisoners of war were compelled to dual and slay each other in the arena to the entertainment of the crowds.
Telemachus came to the arena. Still in his monk’s robes, he joined the crowd of 80,000 people in attendance. The gladiators entered, declaring, “Hail, Caesar! We who are about to die salute you!” As the fight began, Telemachus was horrified. How dare a Christian city be amused by men killing one another! He was not about to sit around. He jumped over the barricade and came between the gladiators. The fighters paused briefly, but the throng demanded the games be resumed. Telemachus was shoved aside. The monk moved in between them again. The audience hurled stones at the holy man and encouraged the gladiators to execute him. At the bidding of the game’s commander, a gladiator cut Telemachus down with his sword. Silence fell upon the arena. The crowd was stunned. A man of God had just been slain. Realizing the atrocity that had been committed, the games that day were brought to an end… Never did they begin again.
That is how the gladiatorial games were ended in Rome. A monk stopped them. By dying for a great cause, Telemachus had changed Rome itself. In the words of the author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, “His death was more useful to mankind than his life.” If the cause you’re fighting for is not worth dying for, than it isn’t worth living for at all. Follow in the footsteps of Telemachus today, and fight for the cause you believe in…even to the death (Luke 9:23-24). Only then will your impact be immortal.
What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remain and is immortal.
- Albert Pin