A pastor stood at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and watched as a man in tears lay a wreath at the base of the memorial. The pastor put his hand on the man’s shoulder, and the man said, “Twenty-five years ago he stepped into the line of fire for me, the least I can do is say, ‘Thanks.’”
Maria Dyer was born in 1837 on the mission field in China where her parents were pioneer missionaries. Both her parents died when Maria was a little girl, and she was sent back to England to be raised by an uncle. The loss of her parents, however, did not deter her young heart from the importance of sharing the gospel. At age sixteen she, along with her sister, returned to China to work in a girl’s school as a missionary herself. Five years later, she married Hudson Taylor, a man well-known today for his life of ministry, faith, and sacrifice.
David Livingstone was a Scottish missionary and explorer who spent thirty-three years in the heart of Africa. He endured much suffering as he labored to spread the Gospel and open the continent to missionaries. This godly missionary once remarked:
It took less than ten seconds for Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt to cover the one hundred meter distance on the Olympic track and win the gold medal in London. Those few seconds cemented his status as the “fastest man alive” and placed him on the winner’s podium once again. But the race was not won in those seconds—it was won by hours and hours of practice, workouts, weightlifting, special diet, and coaching.
Noted historian Thomas C. Reeves, who for many years was a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, wrote: “Christianity in modern America is, in large part, innocuous. It tends to be easy, upbeat, convenient, and compatible. It does not require self-sacrifice, discipline, humility, an otherworldly outlook, a zeal for souls, a fear as well as love of God.”
On May 2, 1962, Gladys Kidd placed a dramatic advertisement in the San Francisco Examiner, “I don’t want my husband to die in the gas chamber for a crime he did not commit. I will therefore offer my services for 10 years as a cook, maid, or housekeeper to any leading attorney who will defend him and bring about his vindication.”
During World War II a young soldier named David Webster of Easy Company of the 101st Airborne wrote his mother: "Stop worrying about me. I joined the parachutists to fight. I intend to fight. If necessary, I shall die fighting, but don’t worry about this because no war can be won without young men dying. Those things which are precious are saved only by sacrifice."
Fifty-six men signed the Declaration of Independence. Their conviction resulted in untold sufferings for themselves and their families. Of the fifty-six, five were captured by the British and tortured before they died. Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned. Two lost their sons in the Revolutionary Army. Another had two sons captured. Nine of the fifty-six fought and died from wounds or hardships of the war.
A chaplain was ministering to a soldier in the hospital and said, “You have lost an arm in the great cause.”
The soldier replied, “I didn't lose it—I gave it.”
Jesus did not lose His life either. He willingly gave it for us so we could be reconciled to God.
Source: The Minister’s Manual, Gerard Benjamin Fleet Hallock
On February 3, 1943, a troop ship named The Dorchester was carrying more than nine hundred soldiers and military personnel across the North Atlantic. A German U-boat spotted the convoy and fired three torpedoes at the ship. Only one struck the target, but the blast below the waterline fatally damaged the ship. In the cold darkness, the crew was ordered to abandon ship. There were not enough lifeboats for all the men, nor were there enough life jackets.
As a young boy he worked in a factory, but had an intense desire to be a singer. When he turned ten years old, he took his first voice lesson which procured a less than encouraging remark from his teacher, “You can’t sing. You haven’t any voice at all. Your voice sounds like a wind in the shutters.”
His mother, however, believed that he could learn to sing. She was very poor, but she hugged him and said, “My boy, I’m going to make every sacrifice to pay for your voice lessons.”
When Adoniram Judson graduated from college and seminary he received a call from a fashionable church in Boston to become its assistant pastor. Everyone congratulated him. His mother and sister rejoiced that he could live at home with them and do his life work, but Judson shook his head. “My work is not here,” he said. “God is calling me beyond the seas. To stay here, even to serve God in His ministry, I feel would be only partial obedience, and I could not be happy in that.” Although it cost him a great struggle he left mother and sister to follow the heavenly call.
David Livingstone was a pioneer missionary to Africa, who walked over 29,000 miles. His wife died early in their ministry and he faced stiff opposition from his Scottish brethren.
He prayed, “Send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever any ties but the tie that binds me to Your service and to Your heart.”
Source: The Grand Weaver, Ravi Zacharias
Submitted by the homiletics class of West Coast Baptist College
The historian Xenophon states, that when Cyrus had taken captives including a young prince of Armenia with his young and beautiful wife, of whom he was remarkably fond, they were brought before the tribunal of Cyrus to receive their sentence. The warrior inquired of the prince what he would give to be reinstated in his kingdom; and he replied, that he valued his crown and his liberty at a very low rate, but that if the noble conqueror would restore his beloved wife to her former dignity and possessions, he would willingly pay his life for the purchase.
Every year in Alaska a 1,000-mile dogsled race, run for prize money and prestige, commemorates an original “race” run to save lives. In January of 1925, a six-year-old boy showed symptoms of diphtheria, signaling the possibility of an outbreak in the small town of Nome. When the boy passed away a day later, Dr. Curtis Welch began immunizing children and adults with an experimental but effective anti-diphtheria serum. It wasn’t long before Dr. Welch’s supply ran out, and the nearest serum was in Nenana, Alaska—674 miles of frozen wilderness away.
Sometime during the late 1980’s, the members of Iloilo Baptist Church decided to honor the Lord during Christmas time in a different way. It was planned that, instead of making Christmas a time to be with loved ones and a time to enjoy the holiday, “Helping the Needy” would be a better way to honor Christ.