Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I Never Made a Sacrifice (?)

I am reading a book for my next doctoral class about preachers in history.  I am continually stunned by how they preached and how they died at the hands of those to whom they preached.  It reminds me of this great quote from David Livingstone, the missionary to Africa...

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.
Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay?  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.
- African missionary David Livingstone, Cambridge University, December 4, 1857.

What kind of person talks like that?  The kind of person who is passionate and clear-headed in Jesus.  The kind of person who knows that there is surpassing value in knowing and following Him - a surpassing value over every other boast, offer, promise, or treasure.

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