The Gospel Call – Urgent, Costly, Precious

William Booth’s last speech to the Salvation Army ended with this: “While women weep, as they do now, I’ll fight. While little children go hungry, as they do now, I’ll fight. While men go to prison, in and out, in and out, as they do now, I’ll fight. While there is a drunkard left, while there is a poor lost girl upon the streets, while there remains one dark soul without the light of God, I’ll fight – I’ll fight to the very end!”

Greetings!

The above and below are a few of the stories I shared in this talk from the New Wine National Leaders Convention, just before lockdown kicked in. Seems like a long time ago now. There’s lots of juicy material in there, worth a listen!

Amy Carmichael was someone who knew the meaning of suffering, and yet continued in sacrificial service, for many years rescuing young girls from temple prostitution in Hindu temples in India. She spent her last two decades mostly bed-ridden, using the time to write at least 35 books of meditations and reflections. When she died, in accordance with her wishes, no headstone was erected. Instead, the thousands of girls she had rescued placed a bird bath over her grave, inscribed with the word Amma which means ‘Mother’ in Tamil.

This is the poem she wrote about the suffering involved in being obedient to the gospel call.

Have you no scar?
No hidden scar on foot, or side, or hand?
I hear you sung as mighty in the land;
I hear them hail your bright, ascendant star.
Have you no scar?
Have you no wound?
Yet I was wounded by the archers; spent,
Leaned Me against a tree to die; and rent
By ravening beasts that compassed Me, I swooned.
Have you no wound?
No wound? No scar?
Yet, as the Master shall the servant be,
And piercèd are the feet that follow Me.
But yours are whole; can he have followed far
Who has no wound or scar?

She said: “We profess to be strangers and pilgrims, seeking after a country of our own, yet we settle down in the most un-stranger-like fashion, exactly as if we were quite at home and meant to stay as long as we could. I don’t wonder apostolic miracles have died. Apostolic living certainly has.”

A certain mission society in South Africa once wrote to David Livingstone, “Have you found a good road to where you are?  If so, we want to send other men to join you.”

Livingstone replied, “If you have men who will come only if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them.”

He later wrote in his journal on one occasion concerning his “selfless” life:

“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 paying back a small part of the great 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.”

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