I've been crunched for time lately and trying to get back on track after the busy holiday season. I trust you all had at least some time to be quiet before the Lord and reflect upon the wonders and mystery of His Incarnation. After all, it is the event that divides all history!
This weeks thoughts are short. I found two of them scribbled in the side column of my Bible and thus know only the author (the well-known missionary to Africa -- David Livingstone) and not the source. The middle one is also by Livinstone. I came across it in John Piper's book "Desiring God." I trust they sufficiently convey what is, or should be, the response of every heart to the grace of God in purchasing and then graciously applying the benefits of redemption to the souls of undeserving sinners. Enjoy.
"Humbly believing that through sovereign mercy and grace, I have been enabled to accept salvation by Christ, it is my desire to show my attachment to the cause of Him who died for me by devoting my life to His service."
Speaking to the students at Cambridge University in 1857 Livingstone said:
"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 the 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 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 to the glory that shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice."
The last quote was found in Livingstone's diary after his death. Henry Stanley (of "Doctor Livingstone, I presume," fame -- the reporter who so respected Livingstone and ventured to find him in his last days) had left Africa failing to pursuade him to return to England to live out his last days in comfort and as the national hero he was. One year later Livingstone was found dead, kneeling and slumped on his bed with his Bible open before him. This was one of the entries scribled in his diary the year he died. (His body was returned for burial in England, but his two closest African friends appropriately cut out his heart and buried it in Africa.)
"Forbid that we should ever consider the holding of a commission from the King of kings a sacrifice... I am a missionary, heart and soul. God Himself had an only Son, and He was a missionary and physician. A poor, poor imitation I am, or wish to be, but in this service I hope to live. In this service I wish to die. I still prefer poverty and missions service to riches and ease. This is my choice. My Jesus, my King, my life my all, once more I dedicate my whole self to Thee." (1873)
Dr. Jeffrey F. Evans
Christ Community Bible Church