"…to the praise of the glory of His grace…" Ephesians 1:6

Never Made A Sacrifice

As I drove to church this morning through the slushy snow on the streets I began giving God thanks for the faithful men and women who have paid a significant price to worship over the centuries and for the missionaries who have carried the gospel at great costs to serve our Lord. Going to church to worship with the saints when it was a little cold and the travel not quite ideal seemed like a walk in the park in comparison.

There is no “merit based” thought positively or negatively in what I am writing about going to church in the snow.

In our desperation to live by the Spirit we have committed as a church family to avoid legalism, not settle for externals, believe in the gospel, recognize ourselves as those who have been mercied by God, pursue practical holiness, pursue demonstrations of love, and long for and live for the glory of God.

It is that longing for the glory of God that moved me to ask the Lord to help me not grow soft and flabby but rather to lead a church family to be strong and courageous for our Lord.

Earlier this week I read about the missionary David Livingstone. I hope these words encourage you to be strong and courageous.

David Livingstone was born March 19, 1813. He gave his life to serve Christ in the exploration of Africa for the sake of the access of the gospel.

On December 4, 1857, he spoke this sentence as one of the clearest applications of Jesus’ words in Mark 10:29-30. Jesus said,

Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life.

Here is what Livingstone said to the Cambridge students about his “leaving” the benefits of England:

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.

(Cited in Samuel Zwemer, “The Glory of the Impossible” in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, Ralph Winter and Stephen Hawthorne, eds. [Pasadena: William Carey Library, 1981], p. 259. Emphasis added.)