How long or How well?
Reading: Psalm 73:1-28
"So what, if the sinner does evil a hundred times and still live so long? Only those who fear God will live so well!" (Eccl 8:12)
It is but natural to wish for a long life. Irrespective of one's life-span, be it forty or eighty, the one thing that gives value to our life is walking with God in daily obedience. Instead of asking God for long life we must pray, "Lord, help me to walk in obedience as long as You will let me live in this world." That was the prayer song of Zecharias: "To grant us that we might serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness before Him, all the days of our life" (Lk 1:74,75). Mature saints understand life here on earth as a preparation for life there in eternity.
Taking the Great Commission seriously in times like these may shorten one's life because of fatigue, illness and martyrdom. With the revival and resurgence of Hindu militarism, Moslem funda- mentalism and tribal religionism, aggressive evangelism cannot escape martyrdom. But the words of Christ forearms us lest we slow down our march of obedience under His orders: "Whatever I tell you in the dark, speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, preach on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell" (Mt 10:27,28).
John the Baptist spoke in the light what was told him in the dark about the secret life of King Herod. It cost him his head. He could not celebrate even his 35th birthday! All but John among the twelve apostles died as martyrs. They had gone all over the world in obedience to the Great Commission. Because they had decided once and for all to obey God rather than men, they were "tortured, not accepting deliverance" (Heb 11:35).
David Brainard (1718-1747) as a young man went in obedience to God's call to work among the North American Indians. By the time he was 28 he had travelled on horseback over 3000 miles to preach the Gospel. He died before he completed 30, due to illness. Hundreds of youngsters who read his biography went all over the world as missionaries. William Carey was one of them.
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