David Livingstone was a national hero to England int he 19th century. Born poor, he studied and worked himself to prosperity, he was a scientist – who loved research and exploration, he crusaded against slavery while leading expeditions to explore Africa, most notably seeking the source of the Nile River. But his entrepreneurial spirit and passions were only trumped by his love for God and he gave himself up ultimately as a martyr in Zambia, while serving as a missionary to Africa. People did not understand his choices, but they were challenged and intrigued by his work, which spearheaded the exploration and colonization of central and southern Africa.
In 1857 he came home and was speaking to the students at the University of Cambridge. At this point people glorified his missionary efforts as an “ultimate sacrifice”, and this was his response:
Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward in healthful activity, the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter?
– David Livingstone
There are a variety of types of Christians and missionaries. There are those who seek to use their reputation and service as a means to self-glorification and fame. But there are also those who truly believe the promises of Scripture, that this life is fading, that true treasures are found in Heaven, that God has called us to take the Truth to the World, and that He will provide everything we need in order to do so. David Livingstone was the latter type. If we believe and obey the commandments of Scripture, it is indeed no sacrifice to obey Jesus, store up treasures in Heaven, and to live this life with the peace of the knowledge of our obedience and submission to Jesus.
Do you trust Jesus? Do you believe His Word and promises to be true? Have you spent your life building up your retirement, working a job simply for the income, and living for the weekend when you get to relax with your family and friends? Or do you believe that God will provide your needs and give up your life to obey Him, making disciples? Jim Elliot, David Livingstone, and many many others have taken Jesus at His word and lived lives of obedience. Will you?