We have often said that our best friends are the ones who live in the books on our shelves. If that is true, we have a myriad of them. Our shelves sag with books we have collected over the years. One special collection, probably my favorite (besides my music scores) is our shelf of missionary biographies. They have shaped us and inspired us to strive for spiritual maturity and lives of unselfish service. If I want to know how to be a better wife or mother, I know to go to my Bible first, and then to a biography of someone who has lived the life and walked the path. Susannah Wesley, the prayer warrior. The wives of Adoniram Judson (he was bereaved 2 times). Elisabeth Elliot, wife of a martyr. The wife of Jonathan Edwards. Betty Stam, martyred for her faith. Unmarried missionaries like Amy Carmichael and Isobel Kuhn. And the list goes on. Looking past our theological differences (there are many everywhere you turn), it is good to get to know them as sisters in Christ who lived fully and faithfully. I want to be like them.
We have many brothers to speak to us as well. Hudson Taylor, pioneering missionary to China. Adoniram Judson, who endured unspeakable torture at the hands of the Burmese to whom he preached. John Paton, missionary to cannibals. The five men who were murdered by the Auca Indians in Ecuador. They gave all, nothing held back, no regrets. I want to be like them.
But here I am in my warm, comfortable house. I am not suffering for my faith like they did. I am fairly certain there will be food on my table tomorrow. For years I have imagined and hoped that maybe God would call me to serve somewhere far away. He hasn't. He has put me here, today, right now, to serve in this place. Changing diapers. Washing dishes. Reading picture books to my kids. Scrubbing the floor. Helping my husband. That is my mission field, and it is no less important than Burma or China or Ukraine.
Still, I feel that tug at my heart strings to give all, no matter what. Be sold out for Jesus. Don't squander time away. We are only given one life; live it without regrets, attempting great things for God. Great things might look mundane, but don't be deceived. What's done for Jesus will last an eternity.
Wherever you are, be all there
No reserves, no retreats, no regrets.
He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.