The History of Colombia (part 1)
I want you to imagine a middle-aged woman named Toche, who lived in Colombia in 1240 A.D., long before the Spanish came. Toche lived in the Muisca tribe, in the central region of Colombia far from the ocean. She was a miner’s wife, and the emeralds that her husband dug up could be sold to buy food for her family. She wore clothing that she wove herself, although she might buy a special garment from one of the other villages to the south. Roads paved with stones would guide her and her husband to the next town over. She lived in a plain, unadorned hut, shaped like a cylinder with a cone-shaped roof. Her family ate lots of corn, beans, honey, rabbit and fish. None of them ever cut their hair—that was reserved for criminals!
Toche had raised three children, but one of them was sacrificed at the age of fifteen to the sun god, Sua. Everyone told Toche’s family that it was a great honor to have sacrificed her son, but she still missed him, and doubted whether it really was what was best for her family. Polygamy was widely practiced in her tribe, and she worried if her husband might seek another wife to replace her.
Toche was wise in her tribe’s eyes, and she worshiped all the Muisca gods, but most of all the great goddess Bachué. Like her Muisca countrymen, Toche believed that Bachué was the mother of all her tribe’s people. She had arisen miraculously from the nearby Lake Iguaque, carrying a small boy. Bachué waited for the boy to grow, married him, and bore many children—the Muiscas. When Bachué and her husband grew old, they turned into serpents and dove into the same Lake Iguaque forevermore. Toche was sad that she had only ever heard of Bachué and could not have any sort of relationship with her creator. She had heard that Bachué would sometimes come back from the afterlife and guide her “children”, but she wished she had a sure hope, something to believe in. She longed for a relationship with her creator. She yearned for reconciliation, for a peace that would never fail. She didn’t know it, but Toche was dying to hear the Good News about Jesus. And this Good News never came to her continent’s shores until centuries after she died.
So what was Colombia like before the Spanish arrived? While not as developed as the Incas to the south or the Aztecs to the northwest, the various people groups of what we now know as Colombia created their own societies. Archaeologists have found roads, plazas, and other markers of civilization (some even dating to before the time of Christ!), and there are even some extant tribes living in various parts of Colombia.
While the various groups had their own social climates, localities, customs, traditions, languages, beliefs, and cultures, one thing united them: they were all completely lost and doomed to Hell without the knowledge of Jesus Christ. It’s a sobering thought—if you or I had been born in a society that didn’t have access to the good news of Jesus, would we have ever gotten saved? The Word of God warns us that, while everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?” (Romans 10:14-15a)
It’s a terrifying thought, isn’t it? Yes, the native Colombians practiced horrible sins, like idolatry, cannibalism, and human sacrifice, but my sins and yours lead to our deaths just as surely as theirs did. Toche’s entire family, everyone she ever knew and met, all died without any hope of eternal life. The question—and it’s a good question—may rise in your mind: why did God not send someone to tell them?? Just like back then, today, God wants to send many to tell people all across the world about Him but the problem is that many don’t want to go, God has already called us to go to tell them but we don’t want to go, we prefer to stay safe where we are instead of telling the regions beyond of what God has done for them. Brothers and sisters, there is a world out there today we can reach with the Gospel! Those who died hundreds of years ago are beyond our reach, but we are the ones God has entrusted with reaching this generation in the world. You ask why God did not send someone to tell them and if He did, why did they not go?—I ask, is God sending you to tell others? There are billions in this present world who are likely to die without ever having heard the Good News. Is God calling you to go?
Evangelism is everyone’s responsibility. World missions is everyone’s responsibility. We cannot save Toche, but we can reach today’s lost with the true, life-changing and life-saving Gospel message from the Word of God. Will you go? Will you do everything that you can to tell others about Christ and what He did?
Latest posts by Matt Yeager (see all)
- Tell them about Christ - August 18, 2016
- Is it important for a missionary to speak the local language? - August 15, 2016
- I must preach the kingdom of God to other cities also - August 11, 2016