I heard a story recently that grabbed hold of my heart and caused me to be ashamed of my own shallow Christianity. It is a true story about two young men who lived long ago in another country who were so sold out to God, they sold themselves into slavery. They had heard of a place that slave-traders owned and worked the land by the hands of the natives who lived there. These evil traders would not allow missionaries anywhere near their slaves. So the two brave missionaries (incognito) sold themselves as lifetime slaves – to preach the gospel.
The young men were to travel on a ship to a small island where three thousand natives lived who had never heard the name of Jesus. Their lives were to be totally in God’s hands – they knew not what the future held. They could be shipwrecked or even killed by the natives upon arrival at the appointed destination. But it did not matter. The young men only knew that Jesus was worthy. Theirs was a mission of winning souls for heaven. The calling was in their hearts and there was no turning back. This was for the Glory of the Holy God.
All of their loved ones came to the harbor on that cold, dark cloudy day to see the boys off as they took voyage. Their families were crying and questioning the wisdom of this commitment. ‘Did God really require the very lives of their sons for His service? Was there not an easier, better way?’ The parents knew their young sons would never return for this was not a temporary arrangement, it was to be for the rest of their lives. Their Mother’s hearts were broken. Their Father’s were stoic and quiet – unable to speak for the large lumps in their throats. Pride burst in their hearts for their son’s dedication to the Lord yet they feared for the boys. The younger siblings were clinging to them in desperation, unable to let go. It was as if a funeral service was being held on the dock that day as the families clung to them for the very last time.
The boys themselves were a little apprehensive and very sad to leave their families – but very sure of their calling and the decision to willingly give their lives to the Living God. Without a tear shed, they boarded the ship waiving and smiling. Their hearts were lightened as the peace of God flooded them. This was God’s will for them both and they knew it, beyond a shadow of a doubt.
As the ship left the harbor the boys were still waiving furiously to their loved ones. It was recorded in history the words that one of them yelled across the ocean as the ship made her way. He said this:
“May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!”
Jesus Christ said: “He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it.” Matthew 10:39 KJV.
These young men lost the lives they knew and loved with their families only to find their true lives in Christ and for the sake of the gospel. This is an expression of the lengths a person will go who is truly walking with Christ in every sense. It made me wonder; ‘what I am doing for the reward of His suffering? What are we all doing?’