Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
On this day before Thanksgiving, I’m reading Behind the Ranges: The Life-Changing Story of J. O. Fraser, missionary to the Lisu in Southwest China in the early 1900s.
I’ve often said to seminary wives what’s true for all of us: “These years of preparation are not so you can begin living later. You’re living now.”
Fraser’s biographer quotes a letter from 22-year-old Fraser expressing this much better than I do:
The temptation I have often had to contend with is persistent under many forms: ”I am just in preparation at present taking Bible courses and so on, but when I get out to China my work will begin.” “Yes, I have left home now, but I am only on the voyage, you know; when I am really in China, I shall have a splendid chance of service.” Or, well, here in the training home, all my time must be given to language study–how can I do missionary work? But when I am settled down in my station and able to speak freely opportunities will be unlimited.”
It is all IF and WHEN. I believe the devil is fond of those conjunctions. . . . The plain truth is that the Scriptures never teach us to wait for opportunities of service, but to serve in just the things that lie next to our hands. The Lord bids us work, watch and pray, but Satan suggests, wait until a good opportunity for working, watching and praying presents itself–and needless to say, this opportunity is always in the future.
And so I give thanks for where God has me today and what he gives me to do today. As Fraser also says, “Since the things that lie in our immediate path have been ordered of God, who shall say that one kind of work is more important or sacred than another? I believe that it is no more necessary to be faithful in preaching the gospel than in washing up dishes in the scullery.”
So today, I’ll be thankful and try to be faithful in my work in the kitchen . . . Then tomorrow, I’ll give thanks that the Piper men wash the dishes after Thanksgiving dinner!
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