I would like to tell you a story…
You are probably wondering what bearing this story has on my life.
Well, George Beurling was a very real person, and he was my uncle. Even though I was born almost seven years after his death, the events of his life have shadowed me most of my life.
Like George, I was carefully nurtured from birth by believing parents and grandparents. In fact, my father led me to place my trust in Jesus when I was only three years old.
Like George, the heroes of my childhood were the men and women of the Bible – people like Moses and Daniel, Esther and Paul. I was taught to be like them – to honour God, to serve God and to love God as they did.
As a child, I thought that, since the people of the Bible were Jewish and we were like them, then it logically followed that we were Jewish, too. After all, my grandfather read his Bible in Hebrew, and I knew that my Uncle George, the great hero, was revered by the Jewish people and was buried in Israel. Didn’t that mean we were Jewish, too?
As I grew up, I gradually realized that we were not Jewish. It was quite a disappointment to me. But I had to admit that all the bagels on Bathurst Street could not change the fact that I was a Gentile.
Nevertheless, at an early age, I began to understand that God’s work in my life was not rooted in my identity, but in His. God loves me because of who He is, not because of who I am.
In recent years, the Jewish community of Toronto has expressed a renewed interest in George and in my family. This was sometimes difficult for me to understand. George is a story to me. He died almost forty years ago. Yet the Jewish community kept telling his story over and over.
Then something happened to change my frustration to spiritual concern. An Israeli Consulate official spoke briefly at the funeral of my grandfather, George’s father. The Israeli, who was not a follower of Messiah Jesus, said that Grandpa had given to Israel the greatest gift a man could give – the life of his son.
I could not believe my ears! How I wanted to make this man understand that what he was describing was precisely what God Himself had done for Israel as well as the whole world!
But what could I say to him? I was only a Gentile!
You see, despite my growing concern and burden for Jewish people and my increasing contact with them because of being George Beurling’s niece, I remained convinced that it was impossible to share the Gospel with them because I wasn’t Jewish.
I continued to believe this until the day I finally admitted to myself that, not only was I sincerely burdened for Jewish people, but I wanted to minister among them. I wanted to help. But how could I?
Then it suddenly dawned on me: I don’t have to be Japanese to share the Gospel in Japan; I don’t have to be Black to share the Gospel in Africa; I don’t even have to be American to share the Gospel in the USA. Therefore, it logically follows that I don’t have to be Jewish to share the Gospel with the Jewish people.
What a revolutionary, liberating concept! I still can’t believe I was blind to this truth for so long. But I haven’t looked back since then.
Many of the Jewish people of Israel and Canada have identified the Beurling family – my family – as Righteous Gentiles. Well, I am a Beurling who wants every Jewish person to know that my righteousness is not because of my name. Like any other person on this earth, Jew or Gentile, the only righteousness I will ever know is because of Messiah Jesus. He is our righteousness.
He made Him who knew no sin
to be sin on our behalf,
so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Originally published in
The Chosen People, January 1988.