12.15.2006

To Live and Die

"But whether life or death be mine, may Christ be magnified in me. If
He has work for me to do I cannot die." These were the words of Henry
Martyn, the famous English missionary to India. But they echo another
famous missionary: the apostle Paul, who in his letter to the church
in Philippia said, "For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.
But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for
me; and I do not know which to choose."

Though many of us would not be classified as missionaries, those of us
who call ourselves Christians are in fact sent by God to our unique
spheres and given our unique Kingdom tasks. And so if we think that
it is only the missionaries that can have such fierce zeal for God and
His work, perhaps we are right . . . if we see all of His followers as
missionaries.

Consider with me what energy and focus and bravery and will we can
muster, by His grace, if we acknowledge that God has uniquely made us,
placed us, and commissioned us. Consider how free and fearless and
serene we can be if we recognize death has lost its sting - that we
can be ever ready to die, and yet while we still live, we can work in
the knowledge that we can't die until we've accomplished what God has
purposed for us.

Prayerfully, soberly, joyously, may we too say as Paul did that to
live is Christ and to die is gain. May we too say as Henry Martyn
that so long as God has work for us to do we cannot die. What if we
were to get this, and live our lives and use our time and render our
service and pursue our vocations accordingly? Would not we, however
small our numbers, turn our world upside-down? Could we not do great
works for God and give Him room to do great works for us?

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