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Mr. Dickson, you are advanced in years now, and your own prospect is soon to be laid in the grave, there to be eaten by worms; I confess to you, that if I can but live and die serving and honoring the Lord Jesus, it will make no difference to me whether I am eaten by Cannibals or worms; and in the Great Day my resurrection body will arise as fair as yours in the likeness of our risen Redeemer.
-John G. Paton, John G. Paton: Missionary to the New Hebrides, an Autobiography (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1965), 56.
That was John G. Paton’s response to an objection that he would be eaten by Cannibals if he went to share Christ with indigenous people in the South Sea Islands.
I want the perspective Paton had. Serving and honoring Christ is vastly more valuable than the comfort of this short, temporal life. No matter how nice the life, one’s body rots in the ground when all is said and done. Thus, what is ease and comfort if it takes away from honoring Christ? It is empty! The true life is one sacrificing with eternity in view. And with Christ in view! What will it be like to come to the Great Day with comfort and ease in one’s hands? It will be embarrassing if not condemning! But what glory and joy for the one who is willing to lose everything to posses the incalculable riches of Christ in their life now and to come! I want glorifying Christ, not comfort, to be my guiding perspective.
“but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities,” (2 Cor. 6:4)
” [Paul]… does not view his suffering as an apostle as a tedious detour; it is rather the main highway.” -David Garland, 2 Corinthians.
It is something that I make an aim to avoid. I try to make life the safest it can possibly be. Whatever it takes, whatever I might lose, whether it be a deeper relationship with someone, to see my neighbor exposed to the gospel, to become wiser and pass on that wisdom to others, it does not matter. It is so much safer keep Christianity in-doors. And so it remands. Buried under the dirt, never any risk of bad happening to it…or anything for that matter! Nice and safe, with no suffering.
Forgive me for this Lord. May I imitate one who was faithful to you, Paul. For he went head long into suffering when your mission, to glorify you name by the proclamation of the Christ called for him to go into it.
What follows is a message about a recent convert from one of our missionaries on the field.
This message picks up from Abraham recently coming to Christ from his Muslim religion. At the news of his conversion his wife became irate and moved to divorce him. We had prayer for Abraham during this time and this is the latest message we received,
Abraham’s wife never changed and so she still forced Abraham to divorce her and pay thousands of dollars in fines. He arrived at court last week. His wife announced to the judge and all who were present that Abraham had apostatized and converted to Christianity. Abraham was shocked because his wife had told Abraham that she would not say anything during the court hearing. She has also contacted all of Abraham’s family, friends, and co-workers to tell them about his conversion. To Abraham’s amazement he still has the support of his relatives. Because of Abraham’s godly conduct and his kindness toward his wife even in the midst of this divorce his family is not turning against him.
I was talking with Abraham for a long time last night. He told me how for the first three days or so after the divorce he was so hurt. He said he was overwhelmed with sadness and was crying a lot.
But, now he has been filled with deep and even overflowing peace and joy. He said he’s never been so happy in all his life. He told me he was walking the other day and talking with the Lord. He said, “God, why are you so good to me? I’m nothing, I’m rubbish, yet you have given me so much peace and love and joy. I thank you so much! You are too good to me!” Abraham rarely stops smiling.
And praise God. The news of Abraham’s conversion to Jesus has gone out to all. So, he now has no fear. Everything is in the open, everyone knows he’s a follower of Jesus. And we’re praying that God will draw some to Abraham and find the forgiveness of sins found in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. (Matt 19:29)