For as the lightning flashes and lights up the sky from one side to the other, so will the Son of Man be in his day. Luke 17:24
But for you who fear My name, the sun of righteousness shall rise with healing in its wings. Malachi 4:2

But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . Galatians 6:14
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2
Let the motto upon your whole ministry be - "Christ is All!" - Mather

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Oh To Die To Everything Earthly We Most Long For!

Here's a good word on death to self from the life of James Chalmers, a missionary to the cannibals of New Guinea:
. . . Chalmers was awakened to the needs of South Seas missions as a teen-ager on Sunday afternoon in Sabbath school when his pastor read a moving letter from a missionary serving in Fiji. With tears in his eyes, the minister pleaded with the young people: "I wonder if there is a boy here who will by and by bring the Gospel to the cannibals." Chalmers vowed to be that one . . .

. . . a decade after he made his initial vow to be a missionary, Chalmers and his young bride, Jane, sailed for the South Pacific . . . the Chalmers' work was not easy . . . In 1879, only two years after coming to New Guinea, [Jane] sailed for Australia for medical treatment, where she died that year.

The grief only seemed to motivate Chalmers to greater dedication. He vowed to bury his "sorrow in work for Christ," recognizing similar sacrifices native teachers had made.

But Chalmers' sacrifice paid off. Within five years after he came he could find "no cannibal ovens, no feasts, no human flesh, no desire for skulls" in the region in which he worked. Instead, the heathen temples were packed out for gospel services . . .

[After returning from a furlough] he was accompanied by his second wife, but the marriage was short-lived. Once again he endured the sorrow of losing a wife to jungle fever.

And once again his zeal for reaching the lost was only magnified by his sorrow. Bringing the Gospel to unreached areas was ever his passion, and it was that passion that ended his life in the spring of 1901.

He and a young colleague, Oliver Tomkins, were on an exploratory trip along the coast of New Guinea in the Fly River region, an area known for ferocious cannibals. The men went ashore; and when they did not return, a search party went in and came out shortly with the grisly news.

Chalmers and Tomkins had been clubbed to death, chopped into pieces, cooked and eaten before the search party even arrived. It was a shocking incident that stunned the Christian world, but one that Chalmers himself had always been prepared to endure.
"To deny oneself is to be aware only of Christ and no more of self, to see only Him who goes before and no more the road which is too hard for us. Once more, all that self-denial can say is: 'He leads the way, keep close to Him.'" - Bonhoeffer

And following Him means following Him to where He was slaughtered on a cross.

I believe, help my unbelief! I deny myself, help my lack of self denial! I die to self, kill the rest of me that is alive! Oh Father, please help me to die! For Jesus' sake! Amen!

The story about James Chalmers came from: Ruth Tucker, From Jerusalem To Irian Jaya (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1983), 218-220.

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