BURNING FOR GOD
Henry Martyn, abandoning the honours of Cambridge, laid down his life at the age of 31, a victim to plague and fever, which were his constant companions during his last journey. Although he died so young, he was described as ‘a worn-out old man’ because of his trials and suffering. Martyn had laid his all on the altar including his name and fame, his dear wife who was the love of his life, his early ambition and all worldly joy so he might do the will of God with a single heart. His great passion was ‘let me burnout for God’. General Gordon believed self-sacrifice was ‘the path to greatness’. He said ‘I forfeit nothing, which is worth retaining when I abandon my pleasures and possessions for my Lord’s sake and my fellows. The more I cast away, the more I have truest wealth and heavenly gain. By loosing my life I find it’.
General Gordon served Britain in China during the Tai Ping Rebellion. The Government wanted to reward him for his services but he refused all money and titles. He did however accept a gold medal on which was placed his name and a record of his distinguished services. After his death, the medal could not be found. It was discovered that he sent it to Manchester during a famine and had it melted down to buy food for the starving. In his diary he wrote ‘the last thing in the world that I have of any value, have given to the Lord Jesus Christ’.
Adoniram Judson took the gospel to Burma, which was a land full of spiritual darkness, idolatry and cruelty. The hilltops were covered with Buddhist and pagodas. A savage King ruled with an iron fist. Judson challenged this citadel of satanic darkness and Buddhism and laboured to win the whole country for chartist. He translated the Bible into Burmese amid persecution, cholera and smallpox. He worked seven years before he one convert brought to Christ.For 21 months he was in prison with a hundred fierce criminals in a small room of 20 by40 feet where there was no ventilation or sanitation. Judson lived on a starvation-ration of food with 14-pound chains on his arms and legs. Everyday he anticipated death. At night his feet were tied together and he was hung upside down on a bamboo pole with a raging fever and thousands of mosquitoes sucking the blood out of his bleeding feet. The pain was too much for rest and not enough for death. His wife who was crushed in spirit and broken in health died leaving her husband with two children without friend and support. Judson endured the discomfort of Rats, snakes, corkroaches, scorpions, bats and tigers under the burning ray of a tropical sun. Like Paul he suffered for Christ. No man of his age suffered so much. For 30 years he literally gave his life to preach Christ and to win the lost. Before he left Boston in USA he had been offered a pastorate of 100members but he declined and instead chose to follow the blood-marked pathway of suffering to Burma.He had no regrets. At his death he have oversight of 163 missionaries and nationals, and a Church of 7000 members and 30,000 Burmese Christians believers. What have you suffered or sacrificed for Christ?