Judson Part III

18 Mar

Judson

If you haven’t read the previous posts about Judson, here and here are the earlier posts. Apologies are necessary for the long hiatus between post two and three. My excuses are abundant and valid—all five children were sick, some of them more than once, along with my wife and me. There is nothing like passing around an enduring little bug that makes everyone miserable. Anyway, now that we’ve recovered, I’m back to scribbling and scratching in blog-land.

As mentioned in my earlier posts regarding this aberrant missionary extraordinaire, I want to consider a few questions. What led Adoniram Judson to give up everything for the sake of the gospel? Why didn’t he faint in adversity? What upheld him? Did they–whoever they are–make better people back then? What fortifies a person enough to endure such hardship and pain?

I ask because I need to guard against the admiration of another transforming into comparative analysis, which leads paralysis. Not trying for cutesy humor here, comparisons are dubious, leading to all manner of depressive-malcontent. Second Corinthians 10:12 warns that comparisons with one another demonstrate a lack of understanding.

Here is where I err. When reading about great men, like Judson, I often ask myself why am I not like him? I believe that question was posed in an early blog. However, through stark wake up calls intermittently in life it became obvious; I’m just mediocre-me. This was a shot to the ego. A humble accepting of who I am is still hard. Even so, the acquiescence of my identity was not what set me free from the bondage of comparisons.

Men like Judson don’t set out to do great things by striving to be like all the great men before them; they simply set out to serve their Lord. Judson went out not to conquer the world, gain recognition, or achieve ministerial glory, but to be an obedient servant of Christ, fixing his desire upon the Lord of glory. Judson was not promoting himself, comparing himself to others, or agonizing over how history would tell his tale—what he did was endeavor to be faithful.

Back to my questions, lest I unduly heap up comparisons… What would lead a man to give up everything for the sake of the gospel? The answer is plain, yet profound. The goodness of the gospel, whereby man finds life satisfying joy in Jesus Christ, is what leads one to give up everything for the sake of Jesus Christ. What fortifies a person to endure such hardship and pain? It isn’t toughness, or that some are cut from different cloth. Rather, it is those who, like the apostle Paul, build upon the foundation of Jesus Christ, according to the grace of God given; these will have work that will withstand the fires of of final judgment (cf. 1 Cor 3:10-15).

Maybe a better question to ask–what propels/supports a person in his/her ministry/missionary endeavors? I answer this question in three ways. Maybe there are more, surely there are; nevertheless, here are three straightforward truths:

  1. Hope in the world to come and not this world. (Hebrews 11:24-28; John 12:25)
  2. Have confidence that God is sovereign and good in all things. (Daniel 4:34, 35; Psalm 84:11, 12; Romans 8:28, 11:33-36)
  3. Grasp the magnitude of Christ’s love. (Ephesians 3:14-21)

These truths firmly support and propel the minister of the gospel in any setting. Ultimately, it is not about what we do or even who we are, but who God is and what he has done. It’s not about what Judson did that made him great, but it’s what God did in and through him that makes his ministry memorable. God’s glory and grace were manifest in his life. He merely set out to serve God, and the produce of his life is only explicable by divine grace

We mustn’t seek validity as people by doing great deeds, worth is not found in how successfully we do what we do. Contrarily, worth is found as children of God beloved of Jesus Christ. Love the Lord God with fullness of heart, soul, mind and strength; do not shoot for greatness, just faithfulness.

In the end, I still want to meet Judson. I long to sit at the feet of the saints recounting the mighty deeds of the inscrutable God over all.

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