Thursday, 9 June 2011

This Was Not a Travesty

Is it a waste for an extremely bright student in a reputable University with fantastic career prospects to throw this all away? Henry Martyn was such a student studying at Cambridge University with many opportinuities open to him for a distinguished career. Yet, in 1802 he decided to give all of this up to become a missionary to India. This decision did not come without huge cost to him. He gave up the possibility a bright and distinguished career, a safe and comfortable life, and he knew that it was more than likely that he would never returm to his homeland again. For many people this might seem like a complete waste. However, read what his biographer, John Sargent, wrote about this decision to become a missionary and think again:
...he could [not] adopt this resolution [to be a missionary] without the severest conflict in his mind, for he was endued with tht truest sensibility of heart, and was susceptible of the warmest and tenderest attachments. No one could exceed him in love for his country, or in affection for his friends; and few could surpass him in an exquisite relish for the various and refined enjoyments of a social and literary life. How then could it fail of being a moment of extreme anguish when he came to the deliberate resolution of leaving forever all that he held dear upon earth? But he was fully satisfied that the glory of that Saviour who loved him, and gave Himself for him, would be promoted by his going forth to preach to the heathen; - he considered their pitiable perilous condition; he thought on the value of their immortal souls; he remembered the last solemn injunction of his Lord, "Go and teach all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost" - an injunction never revoked and commensurate with that most encouraging promise, "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the [age]." Actuated by these motives, he offered himself in the capacity of a Missionary to the Society for Missions to Africa and the East; and from that time stood prepared, with a child-like simplicity of spirit, and an unshaken constancy of soul, to go to any part of the world, whither it might be expedient to send him.
It is not a waste to give up our little earthly all to go and promote the glory of the Lord Jesus in a foreign land. Henry Martyn did not waste his life. If he had decided to stay in his comfortable life with a distuinguished career, this would have been the real travesty. He did not waste his life, or his academic ability by forsaking all that he held dear in this life to go and proclaim the gospel to a people who had not heard of Christ. His God given abilities were best used in making Christ's name known in a foreign land, rather than making his own name know in a familiar land.

Where are the men and women like Henry Martyn today? Where are those who are willing to forsake everything to see Christ glorified in His gospel being proclaimed? May God bless His church with more men and women with such a sacraficial mindset as this.