It was a hush hush operation. With just a few people sworn to secrecy, we packed up a TV station into a container and hauled it away to a secret location. We were off the air and we weren’t coming back anytime soon.
A battle over issues of contribution and control of Eagle TV in Mongolia had been raging between shareholders for two years. By the time I got there things had come to a head. One side insisted the other side abide by the shareholder agreement and the other side demanded more power. Finally, in April of 2003 we shut down the station, packed it away, and Eagle TV, Mongolia’s first independent TV station after the fall of communism, was off the air…permanently.
The community was in shock. At that time no TV station in Mongolia was considered independent of government influence. Only Eagle TV stood alone in that regard. That gave us a high reputation. But the shareholder disagreement was beyond repair. One side demanded things the other could simply not give. We had to stand by our principles and be willing to take a loss. So, on a secret night in about four hours time we shut it down and hauled it away. The loss to the community was enormous. But, we believed it was the right thing to do. We weren’t going to be bullied into violating our principles and all that we had established over the years.
Over a period of 18 months we negotiated with the government, the former partners, and just about anyone who would listen. We wanted to get back on the air, but faced the possibility that it might never happen. In fact, after a year I was ready to leave Mongolia. I had had enough.
Then we discovered the opportunity to restart as a cable TV station. Soon, we were back “on the air.” Within a few months after that we were back on our old channel and our programming was better than it had ever been. Our influence was stronger, wider, and impossible to deny.
Sometimes it’s good to start over.
We took a stand for our principles, took a risk and signed off the air knowing we could lose everything. But the sacrifice was worth our principles. And God honored that sacrifice by giving us back everything we lost and much more.
Jesus Was Willing To Take A Loss
What was the one thing that drove Jesus’ mission? It can be summed up in this statement, “The Son of Man came to seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10). Reaching the lost was paramount to Jesus (Luke 13:16). To reach the lost Jesus spoke openly to everyone he could. He declared, debated, and described his mission and the love of God that was to be demonstrated through him. Yet, everyone who came to Jesus for salvation had to come on his terms, not theirs. God is sovereign and will not sacrifice his sovereignty or make a deal. To use an old adage, it’s his way or the highway. That meant that some people who came to Jesus left him without salvation—the rich young ruler is such an example (Matthew 19:16-30). We must be willing to leave everything to follow Jesus. Jesus doesn’t demand part of our lives, he wants everything. But if you prefer to keep your sin, then he is willing to let you go. That is a sober truth.
Perhaps you have your own principles, but they don’t exactly match with those of Jesus. In such a case we must be willing to sacrifice our personal preferences for the sake of winning Jesus.
And as for a leader, if we are willing to sacrifice our principles for gain, then in God’s economy we have truly lost, indeed.