I recently finished reading To the Golden Shore by Courtney Anderson. It is an in-depth biography of the life of Adoniram Judson. Judson was one of the first missionaries sent from North America. The chronicles of his journey to and in Burma (now Myanmar) are humbling and faith-deepening. I heartily recommend this book to you and believe it will stir your affections for Christ and missions.
There are many stories worth of telling from this book; from disease and death to imprisonment to churches being planted. However, the part of the story that has made the most impact on me comes near the end.
Adoniram, after being gone for 30 years, finally returns to the United States. Scores of people are at the shore to meet him and everyone wants to hear his story. Yet, despite being asked to speak in church after church, Adoniram always seems to disappoint the crowds looking for an incredible “missionary story.”
Time after time he had disappointed audiences by refusing to discuss his adventures and instead repeating to them the simple message of the Gospel they heard every Sunday from their own ministers. (pg 457)
This interaction with his soon-to-be wife after some complained to her that he didn’t share a story from the mission field (but only shared the gospel) is very telling:
“Why, what did they want?” he inquired; “I presented the most interesting subject in the world, to the best of my ability.”
“But they wanted something different – a story.”
“Well, I am sure I gave them a story – the most thrilling one that can be conceived of.”
“But they had heard it before. They wanted something new of a man who had just come from the antipodes.”
“Then I am glad they have it to say, that a man coming from the antipodes had nothing better to tell than the wondrous story of Jesus’ dying love.” (pg. 462)
Pushing off the fame and accolades that were coming his way, Adoniram remained committed to one cause…the gospel. It is clear that Christ had so captivated his heart that he wanted to do nothing more than share the gospel whether in his hometown or among the Burmese.
May we value “the wondrous story of Jesus’ dying love” and desire to see people from every language, tribe, people, and nation be captivated by its life-transforming truth.