Thursday, May 14, 2015

Looking Beyond Our Borders

I often come under conviction while reading of men and women that have given all to follow the call of Christ and to spread the Gospel of Christ. It is so easy for me to get caught up in my little world and my little struggles until I lose sight of the price others have paid and are paying for their faith.

That is not to diminish my very real problems in spreading the Gospel but my difficulties are so "First world." Most of the obstacles I face involve logistics, transportation and provisions along with more personal items related to health and family.

I have never even considered the cannibals in the place God has sent me or the people in the next state over that have killed every missionary that has ever tried to reach them. I have not buried my wife and my children because they were cut down by strange diseases in pursuit of souls for the kingdom of God.

I am thankful I face a different set of problems. I do not feel guilty for never having to flee to avoid being boiled and eaten for lunch. Yet I do not want to forget what others have done, what others have faced and what others are enduring even today. I must not grow complacent and over confident and reach the place that I feel that God some how owes me more than it seems He has given others.

I try to stay up to date on some of what Christians are going through today by reading Voice of the Martyrs. I was reading last month and came upon an article concerning missionary James Chalmers. I was cut to the heart.

As a young man he answered the call and gave himself to win souls. God blessed him. God rewarded him for his labor. God gave him converts. Yet something stirred in James Chalmers to win even more. When others would perhaps have settled and enjoyed the fruit of their labor, he pressed on in pursuit.

My prayer since reading the short synopsis of his life has been,

O, God, give us a hunger for souls. Do not allow us to become comfortable in our victories but give us courage to look beyond our current borders that we might win others to Christ.

Now, God may not send you to Africa, friend. God may not send you to the foreign mission field at all. God may not send you to evangelize, Pastor. Young person, God may not call you to a pulpit ministry. But rest assured God has called you to win souls. God has called you to look beyond your own borders.

Doing that may be as close as reaching across your back yard fence with a hand of love and fellowship to your neighbor or helping that couple load their groceries at Walmart or praying with the waitress that is crying in the corner. You could visit the family that is grieving, slip a piece of money to the family that is struggling or pray with the young person that is drowning in despair.

The point is, there is something for each one of us to do. Let's go do it. Let's win some one to Christ this month. Let's spread our faith. Let's break out of our comfort zone. Let's take a chance for Christ. 

You need some inspiration for the task? Read the story of James Chalmers below. He never lost his thirst for souls. It may seem as if it ended badly for him but he has been in Heaven for over 100 years and I would say he feels like it ended just fine.

Thanks for reading.


He Has Joined a Great Assembly

James Chalmers was a carefree, high-spirited Scottish boy. “I dearly loved adventure,” he later said, “and a dangerous position was exhilarating.” Perhaps that’s why he listened carefully one Sunday when his minister read a letter from missionaries in Fiji. The preacher, tears in his eyes, added, “I wonder if there is a boy here who will, by and by, bring the gospel to the cannibals.” Young James said quietly, “I will!”—and he wasn’t even yet converted.

In 1866, having been converted and trained, he sailed for the South Pacific as a Presbyterian missionary. Chalmers had a way with people. “It was in his presence, his carriage, his eye, his voice,” a friend wrote. “There was something almost hypnotic about him. His perfect composure, his judgement and tact and fearlessness brought him through a hundred difficulties.” Robert Louis Stevenson, who didn’t like missionaries until he met Chalmers, said, “He is a rowdy, but he is a hero. You can’t weary me of that fellow. He took me fairly by storm.”
In 1877 Chalmers sailed on to New Guinea. His ministry was successful there. Packed churches replaced feasts of human flesh. But as the years passed he grew lonely. He was delighted when young Oliver Tomkins came to join him in 1901. The two men decided to explore a new part of the islands, and on Easter Sunday they sailed alongside a new village. The next morning, April 8, 1901, Chalmers and Tomkins went ashore. They were never seen again. A rescue party soon learned that the men had been clubbed to death, chopped to pieces, cooked and eaten.
News flashed around the world. “I cannot believe it!” exclaimed Dr. Joseph Parker from the pulpit of London’s famous City Temple. “I do not want to believe it! Such a mystery of Providence makes it hard for our strained faith to recover. Yet Jesus was murdered. When I think of that side of the case, I cannot but feel that our honored and noble-minded friend has joined a great assembly.”

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