May your ways be known throughout the earth, your saving power among people everywhere. May the nations praise you, O God. Yes, may all the nations praise you. (Psalm 67:2-3)
Relate: On March 1, more than a hundred sixty years ago a young man named Hudson stepped off the Dumfries and onto Chinese soil. For over a year he toured the Shanghai area over and over again trying to preach the gospel to little avail. He then made a radical (at that time) decision to start wearing Chinese clothing and shave everything except the queue (pigtail). Basically this Englishman chose to become Chinese and once he did so, doors and arms were opened wide to him and he began to see a great move of God. The organization he started, China Inland Mission was directly responsible for eighteen thousand converts, starting 175 schools and raising up five hundred pastors.
In April of 1793 William set sail from London with Calcutta as his destination. He didn’t arrive until November thanks to a dispute with the British East India Company. He ended up sailing from the Isle of Wight on a Dutch ship. Contrary to the modern myth, missions and colonial exploitation did not go hand in hand. The exploiters usually hated the missionaries because they helped educate and empower the “natives”. Before seeing a single convert, William’s son died and his wife had a nervous breakdown from which she never recovered. William pressed on and ultimately started a work from which 213,000 copies of the Bible were distributed in forty different Indian languages. He lived up to his motto, “Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.”
On July 13, 1813 a young man named Adoniram completed his long, circuitous route to Burma. He arrived with a goal of translating the Bible into Burmese and establishing a church with one hundred converts. He did translate that Bible. He also founded one hundred churches, had eight thousand converts and set that nation on such a course that in Myanmar today there are more baptists than in any other country except India and America.
React: These are three famous men who gave up everything that God’s ways might be known throughout the earth. Many tens of thousands have followed in their footsteps. Each in their own way blazed a new and different trail and faced opposition and hardship that those they were called to go to would be able to hear and respond to the truth of Christ. What trails are we willing to blaze? What are we willing to sacrifice? To whom are we called to go so that God’s “saving power” would be seen “among people everywhere”?
Help us to step out. Help me to step out. So many courageous men and women took incredible steps of faith in times past for your glory without knowing just exactly where their feet would land or what to expect when they got there. Help me, help us, to follow in their footsteps. Help us to follow in Your footsteps. Let us go where You would have us to go and help us to speak to those You would have us share until Your ways are known throughout the earth and Your saving power is seen among people everywhere.