Thanks to Adoniram Judson, here’s a question for you…are you in it for the long haul?
The following is an excerpt from a letter A.J. wrote while in Burma (now Myanmar) in 1833. The United States was about to send over some missionary “reinforcements” to help with the work in Southeast Asia. Some of them however, were only to be there temporarily. They weren’t devoted long term to the work in Burma. With that knowledge, A.J. wrote:
“I much fear [he complained to the Corresponding Secretary at home,] that this will occasion a breach in our mission. How can we, who are devoted for life, cordially take to our hearts one who is a mere hireling?… I have seen the beginning, middle, and end of several limited term missionaries. They are all good for nothing. Though brilliant in an English pulpit, they are incompetent to any real missionary work. They come out for a few years, with the view of acquiring a stock of credit on which they may vegetate the rest of their days, in the congenial climate of their native land… The motto of every missionary, whether preacher, printer, or schoolmaster, ought to be ‘Devoted for life.‘” (an excerpt from To the Golden Shore p. 409)
Obviously, by the last line, in A.J.’s mind the term “missionary” is synonymous for anyone (whether preacher, printer, or schoolmaster) who is a believer in Jesus Christ. So, all you missionaries out there, is this your motto? Are you devoted for life? Are you in it for the long haul? Or, are you doing what you’re doing now in an attempt to “acquire a stock of credit on which [you] may vegetate the rest of [your] days, in the congenial climate of [your] native land?”
How effective can you really be if your commitment to serve is only short term? Better yet, how effective can you be if you’re not serving at all?
“Devoted for life.” That’s the missionary’s motto. What’s yours?