This past Sunday at White Fields church I spoke about how when we give everything over to God, although we often fear what we will lose, the reality is that we always get more than we bargained for. Like Jesus said, it is when we give our life fully over to him that we find true life and really start living. (you can listen to the audio of that sermon here)
One example of this that came to my mind, but I didn’t share on Sunday was a quote by David Livingstone – the 19th century British missionary who gave his entire life in service to Christ, exploring and evangelizing the interior of Africa. Today, as a direct result of his work, sub-Saharan Africa has become a place where Christianity thrives, where 200 years ago it was almost non-existent.
Livingstone made several trips back to England during his time as a missionary in Africa, in which he would go on speaking tours. He was considered a national hero in England, and was invited to speak at universities and to dignitaries.
One of the questions most frequently asked of Livingstone was how he was able to make such a great sacrifice, as to give his life in service as a missionary. He was an educated man who could have had a comfortable, upper-class life in England, but instead he chose to spend the prime of his life in the bush of Africa.
Here is what Livingstone said in response to this question in a speech he gave at Cambridge University in 1857:
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.