On Wednesday evenings we are focusing our attention on missionaries who changed the world. Of the six missionaries that we are presenting, not one of them would have considered themselves extraordinary. They were in fact as human as anyone of us. They made tremendous sacrifices facing insurmountable circumstances, hardships, diseases, rejection and persecution. Yet, not one of them would claim that what they did for the sake of the Gospel was a sacrifice. Without exception, each one was motivated by “the call” that they felt from God to fulfill the Great Commission to carry the Gospel of Jesus Christ to Foreign Lands. To that end, they gave their all.
William Carey, Adoniram & Ann Judson, Bill Wallace, Lottie Moon and Jim Elliot set a high standard for serving the Lord. They have become heroes to us but they would not have considered themselves to be heroes. Not one of them lived for themselves. In fact, without regard for their own personal welfare or safety, they devoted their lives to reach as many people for Christ as possible. Every gift and every talent that they possessed was dedicated to the Glory of God. They were daring, courageous, determined, totally unselfish individuals who sought nothing for themselves but everything for Christ. The chorus of a modern song captures their spirit;
Show me your way, my love, my Lord
Draw me to grace, so strong and sure
I run to your mercy where I am free
Let me find my all in Thee
It is impossible to read about these missionaries or study their lives without being greatly moved, inspired and challenged by their commitment to Christ. The Great Commission to which they responded and gave their lives is the same today as it was in their day. Bruce Ashford of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary writes: “The magnitude of this task is great, but it is matched and exceeded by the magnitude of our biblical convictions: That God is a missionary God; that all people without Christ are lost; that the central theme in the Scriptures is God’s desire to win the nations unto Himself; that since the coming of His Son, God has chosen that all saving faith be consciously focused on Christ, that the church’s task in each generation is to proclaim the gospel to her generation…
I hold a very simple definition of “missionary”. A Missionary is one who knows and loves the Lord and has a desire to share Him with others. The men and women we are studying did just that and they changed the world. How about you and me?
In His Love,