“Oh, that I might be a flaming fire in the service of the Lord. Here I am, Lord, send me; send me to the ends of the earth…send me from all that is called earthly comfort; send me even to death itself if it be but in Thy service and to promote Thy kingdom.”-David Brainerd
Never heard of him, eh? To be honest, until a few months ago, neither had I. Brainerd was a missionary to the Native Americans of New England (yes, Ted…that New England). He contracted tuberculosis while in college, then spent the last 5 years of his life preaching the Gospel to the natives. He died at 29 years of age.
He spent the last weeks of his life in the home of Jonathan Edwards (the writer of “Sinners in the Hands of and Angry God”, not the former senator from NC), and made such an impact on Edwards that he would one day publish Brainerd’s journals posthumously. Those journals were read by one William Carey, the great missionary to India, prior to his departure for a lifetime of service to the Lord in that pagan land.
Point being: God heard the cry of Brainerd. He answered, and is still answering that prayer. Brainerd’s passion for the lost, for the “sheep not of this fold” that Jesus called us as Christians to reach, fueled the modern missions movement. Carey is the most well known, but if not for the brief life and impact of Brainerd, who knows?
I’m teaching my kids about Brainerd and other missionaries this week. I’m challenging them to think about their lives and their pursuits. I’m challenging myself. What matters most? What are we not willing to part with in this life in order to serve the call God has on all of us? Popularity? Comfort? Reputation? Money? Hobbies? And what of those things will go with us into eternity?
Lord, may we all be a flaming fire in Your service, and may we give up the foolish things of this world for the infinite riches that may be stored up in heaven.