Monday, March 10, 2014

Pick Up Your Cross Daily

Is serving the Lord difficult? Some might say that it is not, but often the reason they may say that is because frankly, they really don't serve Him that often. In reality, serving the Lord can be tough to do. I was reading something recently about John G. Paton, who with his young wife left the British Isles and went to the New Hebrides Islands, to a place that had had no missionaries.  Earlier, two missionaries had landed on one of the islands but were killed minutes after they landed, and were eaten by cannibals prompting Paton to write: Thus were the New Hebrides baptized with the blood of martyrs; and Christ thereby told the whole Christian world that He claimed these islands as His own!

Someone wrote: He and his wife arrived on the island of Tanna November 5, 1858, and Mary was pregnant. The baby was born February 12, 1859. "Our island-exile thrilled with joy! But the greatest of sorrows was treading hard upon the heels of that great joy!". Mary had reaped attacks of ague and fever and pneumonia and diarrhea with delirium for two weeks. Paton wrote: "Then in a moment, altogether unexpectedly, she died on March third. To crown my sorrows, and complete my loneliness, the dear baby-boy, whom we had named after her father, Peter Robert Robson, was taken from me after one week's sickness, on the 20th of March. Let those who have ever passed through any similar darkness as of midnight feel for me; as for all others, it would be more than vain to try to paint my sorrows"! He dug the two graves with his own hands and buried them by the house he had built. Once again, he wrote: Stunned by that dreadful loss, in entering upon this field of labor to which the Lord had Himself so evidently led me, my reason seemed for a time almost to give way. The ever-merciful Lord sustained me . . . and that spot became my sacred and much- frequented shrine, during all the following months and years when I labored on for the salvation of the savage Islanders amidst difficulties, dangers, and deaths. . . . But for Jesus, and the fellowship he vouchsafed to me there, I must have gone mad and died beside the lonely grave!

Ministry can be tough. It must have been unbelievably difficult for him, as after burying his wife and baby he had to sleep on their graves every night lest the cannibals come and dig them up.

Today, people think serving Jesus is difficult because nobody seems to know their names, or never seems to appreciate their time and sacrifice, or even criticizes them when they try to serve the Lord. Still, the Lord calls us to be faithful, and to remember that He is the One who sees, remembers, and yes...even rewards. I think a hymn written by Isaac Watts says it well: Am I a soldier of the cross, A follower of the Lamb? And shall I fear to own His cause, Or blush to speak his name? Must I be carried to the skies On flowery beds of ease, While others fought to win the prize and sailed thro' bloody seas?

Lord Jesus, I am ashamed to admit I am not as faithful as I could be. Forgive me, and may I serve You with greater love than ever before.

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