Two centuries ago, a band of brave souls became known as one-way missionaries. They purchased one-way tickets to the mission field. Instead of suitcases, they packed their few earthly belongings into coffins. As they sailed out of port, they waved good-bye to everyone they loved and everything they knew. They knew they would never return home.
A. W. Milne (1785-1822) was one of those missionaries. He set sail for the New Hebrides in the South Pacific, knowing full well that the headhunters who lived there had martyred every missionary before him. Milne did not fear for his life, because he had already died to himself (Galatians 2:20). His coffin was packed. For thirty-five years, he lived among that tribe and loved them. When he died, tribe members buried him in the middle of their village and inscribed this epitaph on his tombstone: When he came there was no light. When he left there was no darkness.
When did we start believing that God wants to send us to safe places to do easy things?
That faithfulness is holding the fort?
That playing it safe is safe?
That there is any greater privilege than sacrifice?
That radical is anything but normal?
Jesus did not die to keep us safe! He died to make us dangerous! Faithfulness is not holding the fort. It is storming the gates of hell!
One of my heroes of the faith is Jim Elliot, who sacrificed his life on a riverbank in Ecuador, attempting to share Christ with a tribe of headhunters, known as the Quechua. Shortly before his death he wrote the following words in his journal, “Jesus said, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake, he is the one who shall save it’” (Luke 9:23-24).
He followed that journal entry with these words, “He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep to gain that which he cannot lose.”
Safe? Living passionately for Jesus is anything but.