March 20

“As sorrowful, yet alway rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.”

2 Corinthians 6:10 | KJV

The stoic scorns to shed a tear; the Christian is not forbidden to weep. The soul may be dumb with excessive grief, as the shearer’s scissors pass over the quivering flesh; or, when the heart is on the point of breaking beneath the meeting surges of trial, the sufferer may seek relief by crying out with a loud voice. But there is something even better.

They say that springs of sweet fresh water well up amid the brine of salt seas; that the fairest Alpine flowers bloom in the wildest and most rugged mountain passes; that the noblest psalms were the outcome of the profoundest agony of soul.

Be it so. And thus amid manifold trials, souls which love God will find reasons for bounding, leaping joy. Though deep call to deep, yet the Lord’s song will be heard in silver cadence through the night. And it is possible in the darkest hour that ever swept a human life to bless the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Have you learned this lesson yet? Not simply to endure God’s will, nor only to choose it; but to rejoice in it with joy unspeakable and full of glory. (Streams in the Desert)

Yesterday was David Livingstone’s birthday. He was born March 19, 1813. He has long been one of my missionary heroes, and I will never forget visiting his grave in Westminster Abbey. Livingstone’s heart had been buried under a mpundu tree at Ilala in the centre of Africa, but his faithful attendants enclosed his embalmed body in a cylinder of bark which was wrapped in sailcloth and carried it to the coast and then sailed to London, arriving the following year. His grave marker rests at the center of the Abbey’s nave. Livingstone is most widely known as an explorer, but what often gets lost in the historical shuffle is that he explored Africa for the expressed purpose of opening up access to the gospel. He stated plainly: “The end of the exploration is the beginning of the enterprise.”

On December 4, 1857, Livingstone addressed the students of Cambridge University about missionary sacrifice:

“For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. . . . Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view, and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice (Perspectives in the World Christian Movement).

Rejoice in the glory of knowing Christ and living unto Him, regardless of the cost.

“If a commission by an earthly king is considered an honor, how can a commission by a Heavenly King be considered a sacrifice?” (D. Livingstone)

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