I spent the afternoon reading John Piper’s The Swans are Not Silent No. 5 book “Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ” focusing on the life of William Tyndale, John Paton, and Adoniram Judson. Amazing stories of men who gave it all for the glory of God and the sake of the Gospel.
I have always been drawn to the life of Adoniram Judson in particular. I wrote my very first seminary research paper on him in Introduction to Missiology taught by Dr. Justice “Justo” Anderson (where Isaac’s middle name was first envisioned), long-term missionary in Latin America and Brazil.
Judson lost his 3 wives on the field. 7 of his 13 children died from disease. He served in Burma for 33 years without a sabbatical home. After he sailed for India, he never saw his father, mother, or brother ever again. It took 6 years of hard ministry labor before he saw his very first convert to Christ. He translated the entire Bible into Burmese and created the first Burmese dictionary that missionaries and scholars used for centuries after him.
His call, the missionary call, is so extraordinary to me. It is a life of service to the Gospel in lands that are so difficult and hard. For Judson, his missionary call would be the only thing that kept him in Burma. He literally lost everything else along the way.
Teaching ministry and basic Christian theology at a Christian college in the Bible belt and preaching in American churches with hundreds of Bible believing, Christ Followers seems so inadequate to the missionary call. I feel my life is so small compared to Judson’s.
But Judson would not agree with me. We are all called in some way – some to foreign fields, others to domestic church service, others to the Christian academy. Yet do we give it all for the sake of Christ’s glory and for the sake of the Gospel. That is what makes the real difference.