Oskar Schindler was a German spy and member of the Nazi Party, who also employed thousands of Jews in his enamelware and ammunitions factories during the Holocaust. In 1944, Germany was losing the war and deporting prisoners to western concentration camps. Despite personal risk and financial sacrifice, Schindler convinced the SS officials to allow him to move his factory further west, which spared the lives of 1,200 Jews, who otherwise would have been sent to concentration camps and the gas chambers. Until the end of World War II, Schindler continued to bribe the SS officials to prevent the execution of his workers. Most of his other business ventures failed, except the factories that employed the Jews. Schindler is the only member of the Nazi Party to be honoured by being buried in Jerusalem on Mount Zion.
Charles Colson was chief counsel for President Richard Nixon. Once known as Nixon’s “hatchet man,” Colson was named one of the Watergate Seven and served seven months in a federal prison. It was there his life transformed. Colson was released from prison with a new passion for ministering to prisoners with the news of Christ’s love. He started Prison Fellowship.
In these two men’s lives, we see how God was in the process of redemption. In the midst of tragedy and consequences for bad choices, He opened their eyes to the needs around them and their hearts to do something about it.
His Holy Spirit emboldened them to use their power and position for His purposes, and blessing and honour followed.
Throughout Scripture, we see similar stories that demonstrate God’s steady, redeeming character. Moses was a murderer and stuttered. Joseph was a slave. Rahab was a harlot. David was an adulterer. Nathaniel doubted Jesus. Paul relentlessly persecuted the early disciples and Christians. Despite each person’s circumstances, choices, or limitations, God used them to lead and spiritually care for His people.
God is actively working, redeeming a broken world. Often the lives we get to witness transformed are those we might otherwise judge to be unredeemable.
While our work may prove challenging, and sometimes even discouraging, may we bring those we minister to before God—desperately believing that He will fulfill His good work, in His timing, to make all things new.
“For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins” (Colossians 1:13-14, NIV).