I am reading Desiring God by John Piper once again with a group of men from my church. Tomorrow, we will be talking about the chapters on Missions and Suffering. In his chapter on Missions, Piper quotes David Livingstone on the subject of making sacrifices.
"For my own part, I have never ceased to rejoice that God has appointed me to such an office. People talk of the sacrifice I have made in spending so much of my life in Africa. Can that be called a sacrifice which is simply paid back as a small part of a great debt owing to our God, which we can never repay? Is that a sacrifice which brings its own blest reward i healthful activity , the consciousness of doing good, peace of mind, and a bright hope of a glorious destiny hereafter? Away with the word in such a view, and with such a thought! It is emphatically no sacrifice. Say rather it is a privilege. Anxiety, sickness, suffering, or danger, now and then, with a foregoing of the common conveniences and charities of this life, may make us pause, and cause the spirit to waver, and the soul to sink; but let this only be for a moment. All these are nothing when compared with the glory which shall be revealed in and for us. I never made a sacrifice."
I agree with Piper that his statement of trying to pay back to God is not a helpful statement. But Livingston's attitude of seeing all that he did in his life, all the things he gave up in this life, are not worthy to be called a sacrifice. Because he traded them for something so much greater. I am praying for that spirit in my heart.
"For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us." (Romans 8:18)