I was thrilled when WORLD magazine selected Virginia Congressman Frank Wolf as the winner of its 2014 Daniel of the Year award. For more than 30 years, Congressman Wolf has traveled to war-torn countries, or places where people are starving, persecuted, or oppressed.
It's not something many members of Congress are willing to do. After all, it's much more fun to go on a junket to the Caribbean than to Ethiopia to hold starving babies and learn more about how the U.S. can help famine victims. It's more enjoyable to go to Paris than to a Soviet-era gulag to meet political prisoners in stinking cells. For that matter, it's more pleasant to just stay home than to fly to Iraq, where the sounds of grenades going off nearby forms the background music to dinner.
But because of his willingness to travel to those countries and tackle problems that too few others seem to care about, my old friend Chuck Colson called Congressman Wolf “the patron saint of unpopular causes.” Some of the world leaders he'd annoyed—like the Communist party bosses in China—call him less flattering things. But Wolf's tireless efforts have been highly successful.
For instance, after a visit to Ethiopia in 1984, he talked President Reagan into authorizing food aid for starving Ethiopians. In 1987, he convinced Reagan to get behind a proposal to drop Most Favored Nation Status for Romania. He successfully led efforts to get Congress to do so, as well. This action is credited with helping launch the Romanian Revolution.
After Wolf visited a Soviet-era gulag in 1989, Oleg Mikhailov, a political prisoner incarcerated there, reported that Wolf's visit was the catalyst for more humane treatment.
Congressman Wolf—concerned about the persecution of Christians and other religious minorities—also authored the International Religious Freedom Act in 1998. This Act mandated “reporting on religious freedom abuses around the world to the State Department,” as WORLD noted in its December 13 cover story about Wolf.
Wolf also sneaked into Tibet, and enraged the Chinese by exposing to the world the terrible plight of the Tibetan people.
So, what is it that motivates Frank Wolf to work so hard on behalf of others? The answer is simple: the Lord Jesus Christ—in particular, His words, “To whom much is given, of them much is required.”
As Wolf puts it, “I believe I'm going to be held accountable at the end of my life.”
He is now leaving Congress after more than 30 years. But don't expect the seventy-five-year-old to sit in a rocking chair for the rest of his days. He plans to continue his human rights work in another capacity.
Congressman Wolf provides a tremendous example to the rest of us how to respond to the Lord's blessings. Here in America, many of us have been given a great deal: plenty to eat, decent housing, good medical care, education, careers, money, and freedom. How will we answer God when He asks what we've done with these gifts?
We must also ask ourselves if we and our churches are making a priority of helping those who suffer.
“To whom much is given, of them much is required.” During the Christmas season especially, we must remember, pray for, and find ways to assist the poor, the hungry, the oppressed and the persecuted, in our neighborhoods and around the world.
We should never forget that we worship a Child Who was born in a manger—a Child who was Himself poor, oppressed, and persecuted—and Who, in the fullness of time, sacrificed His life to save us all.
BreakPoint is a Christian worldview ministry that seeks to build and resource a movement of Christians committed to living and defending Christian worldview in all areas of life. Begun by Chuck Colson in 1991 as a daily radio broadcast, BreakPoint provides a Christian perspective on today’s news and trends via radio, interactive media, and print. Today BreakPoint commentaries, co-hosted by Eric Metaxas and John Stonestreet, air daily on more than 1,200 outlets with an estimated weekly listening audience of eight million people. Feel free to contact us at BreakPoint.org where you can read and search answers to common questions.
Eric Metaxas is a co-host of BreakPoint Radio and a best-selling author whose biographies, children's books, and popular apologetics have been translated into more than a dozen languages.
Publication date: December 10, 2014