I Want to be More Like This Guy

I want to be more like Thomas. No, not Thomas Jefferson (though I am grateful for his work, especially the Declaration of Independence—but that’s another post entirely.) I’m talking about Thomas, the disciple, the follower of Jesus. We usually refer to him as “Doubting” Thomas. He’s the guy who wanted to see the holes in Jesus’ hands, feet and side, in order to be convinced that Jesus had indeed resurrected from the dead. Because of that, Thomas is known not for his faith, but for his doubt.

There’s a lot more to “Doubting” Thomas though that isn’t as well-taught or -known. I only learned last year that he was one of the first to bring the gospel of Christ to India. “Saint” Thomas, as he is known there now, even has a mountain named after him. Check out this video on Thomas’ impact in India, shot from the top of St. Thomas Mount:

I’d like to think I have a lot in common with Thomas. I think he was a guy who wanted to make sure he had his facts straight and that everything made sense—before he believed. But once he knew the truth, he dove in and gave 100%. There was no stopping a believing Thomas. Check out this passage, from John 11, well before the whole little doubting incident:

6 So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days,7 and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”

8 “But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?”

9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light.10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”

11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”

12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.”13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.

14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead,15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”

16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”

That little line in the middle of a story of resurrection says a lot. Thomas wasn’t necessarily sure Jesus would come out of there alive (perhaps he was doubting?) but he had seen enough evidence, and believed in this Jesus so fully, that he was ready to give his life at a moment’s notice for Him.

That’s what I want. I know I won’t always have the answers, and at times my human mind—not capable of fully grasping a life other than the fallen-nature of this present world—won’t be able to comprehend a way out. But I want to be a person who doesn’t believe blindly, but with the passion that only asking questions and finding the Truth can bring.

My Trip to India: One Year Later

Chennai Airport

Exactly one year ago, I was traveling home to the US as part of a team from Granger Community Church (GCC) after our mission trip to India. Now if you’re asking yourself, as I have often been asked, why would you willingly use your vacation time to go to India?, watch this:

I’m filled with all kinds of thoughts and emotions as I read through my journal, look at pictures and watch videos from that week. The time we spent with the Irula colony in Kalavai, Tamil Nadu was easily one of the best weeks of my entire life. It was there that I learned how much I have, how great the country I live in is, and how truly happy and generous people can be, regardless of their lot in life.

Here are some quick videos that more or less summarize my entire week:



A couple more pictures:

There are more pictures and video where that came from; just head to my Tim Burkey to India Facebook Group.

Also, if you want a more detailed description of my trip to India, you can read the letter I sent to my supporters after I had been home for about a month.

Finally, there’s an amazing book about the work our church is doing in southern India and the movement to grow the Kingdom of God that is spreading like wildfire. It contains stunning pictures (taken, like most of the pictures in this post, by Dustin Maust) from the trip I was a part of, as well as lots of stories from people in the village and local pastors. The book is called Share the Well; it was written by Rob and Michelle Wegner, and it is easily worth the $20 it costs to buy it because, along with the beautiful pictures and the heart-warming and inspiring stories, all of the money from the proceeds of this book go back into the work being done on the ground in India.

You can get your copy from the book’s website or on Amazon.

Thanks for letting me share a piece of my incredible trip with you!  This certainly isn’t the end…

Thanks to Dustin and J for the amazing pictures and videos!