I recently ran across a trailer for an upcoming movie entitled, “A Hidden Life.” (You can view the trailer HERE) It is due out in December of this year. It is based on the life of an Austrian man, Franz Jagerstatter, whose story was told in a 1964 biography, “In Solitary Witness.” Being fascinated with the trailer, I bought the book (it is available through Amazon) to find out more about this man. Franz was a devout Christian and worked as the caretaker of his village church. When Austria was annexed by Germany in 1938, Franz was the only man in his remote village to oppose the Anschluss. Because of his beliefs, Franz would be vocal in his opposition to the Nazi party and later refused an order to join the German Army in Feb. 1943. Because of this action, he had to flee for his life, leaving behind his wife and young children. He would eventually be captured and executed on August 9, 1943 at the age of 36.
The interesting thing about this man is that beyond the small village he lived in, his life’s story was hidden from the world. His actions did not change the course of history, but only served as a solitary witness to those who lived around him. And no one would have ever know the difference if he had simply kept silent and went along with the prevailing political winds – and done what every other man in the village had done – denying his conscience and faith in order to save his life. But because of his decision to stand up, to speak up and to not compromise, his story today is being told afresh and anew.
Sometimes it is easier to just keep quiet – to not make a fuss – to let what is happening happen. It costs when we step apart from the crowd, when we hold on to our beliefs and stand with Christ. And what if no one knows? What if we do all we do and the world doesn’t change? What if no one notices the faith we proclaim? What if no one responds to the Gospel we share? Do we stop? Have we failed? Is it worth it?
If Franz is an example of anything it is this – We do what we do for Christ. We leave the results up to Him. Live or die, whether the world changes or not – we still remain faithful. We still love, share, witness, care, reach, give, worship, preach, teach – because we do it all for Christ and He sees all. Though it may seem that we labor in obscurity, and it is likely no one will ever write a book or a movie about us – Our Father notices and will reward us (Matt. 6:4), so whatever we do, we do for Him! (1 Cor. 10:31) So don’t give up, don’t give in – don’t stop – you haven’t failed – it is worth it – Your Father sees you and He is proud of what you do for His Glory!
(The photo featured in this article is the home of Franz Jagerstatter in St. Radegund, Austria)