I just finished reading John Piper's newest book in the series, "The Swans are not silent" titled, "Filling Up the Afflictions of Christ". Each book contains a brief biographical sketch of a leader of the church who stood as a beacon of faithfulness in his day and age. Reading Christian biographies is a great practice in expanding one's view God's "enduring kindness". It is a sure remedy for self-exaltation. Saints of ages past have big shoes to fill!
One of my favorite men of God was Adoniram Judson, although i doubt i'll bless any of my children with his first name. He served a critical purpose in beginning the American Missions movement in the 19th century. He was one of the first missionaries sent out from America and his fame for preaching to the heathens was a premier catalist in the largest modern missions mobilization. Before he left for his life's work, he met his future wife. He fell in love with her at first sight, and they were married six months later. During this time he wrote her father a bold letter,
"I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death. Can you consent to all this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteousness, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Savior from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?" (piper, p92)
Shocked?!? Well, it might seem a bit forward, but it worked. Anne and Adoniram were married two weeks before they left for the missions field. Maybe i'll try this with approach with my next girlfriend's dad. i really like the opening bit, "if you let me marry your daughter, you'll never see her again." His direct sense of the calling of God upon his life created an openness to the extreme needs of the gospel. To Judson, the purpose of the gospel was urgent. That's why he's one of my favorite saints.
For more on Adoniram Judson, check out Piper's newest book. it's FREE on desiringgod.org. Until next time, serve Him urgently.