Missions Musings

Have you read the inspiring story of William Borden who was heir of the Borden Dairy estate in Chicago when God called him to the mission field of China (Mongolia)? He had attended Yale University where he founded a city rescue mission ministry as a student, then graduated from Princeton Divinity School whereupon his parents engaged Walter Erdman to accompany him on a cruise around the world. Young Borden had by then already committed himself to going to China as a missionary, turning his back upon what would have been a financial family gold mine, writing in the flyleaf of his Bible, “No Reserve.” While on the cruise, Borden contracted spinal meningitis in Egypt. He had already by then written another note in his Bible “No Retreats.” He would succumb to the spinal disease at the age of 25, never having made it to Mongolia as a missionary, but after his death a third note was found written in the same flyleaf of his Bible, “No Regrets.”

Three powerful resolves that reflected the heart of a potential multi-millionaire who turned his back upon material riches to serve as an ambassador for Christ in a needy land. Many no doubt would have considered William’s life a “waste” due to a misguided series of decisions on his part. But God keeps the only valid assessment of Borden’s life and eternity will without doubt reveal that seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness is never misguided. Borden’s decision to surrender everything to Christ in the service of His Lord touched, and continues to touch, lives in a way that would defy human comprehension or calculation.

No Reserve. No Retreat. No Regrets. As I thought about those powerful affirmations, it reminded me of many other words of wisdom that missionaries or missionary statesmen have uttered that continue to impact lives long after they may have been gone.  May I share some with you that have touched my heart and continue to do so:

“Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God.” William Carey

“Life is God’s great gift to be preserved for Him; not thrown away.” John G. Paton

“Do not have your concert first, then tune your instruments afterwards. Begin the day with the Word of God and prayer, and get first of all in harmony with God.” J. Hudson Taylor

“This is no time to be idle. Oh, my Savior, may I not live to myself but to Thee.” Robert Morrison

“Not my plans, not my glory, but God’s plans for His glory.” Mary Slessor

“Is it pleasing to God?” Adoniram Judson

“My only joy is that when God has given me a work to do, I have not refused it.” C.T. Studd

“Lord, make us luminaries in this dark land.” Ann Hasseltine Judson

“There was a man, they called him mad; the more he gave, the more he had.” James Ray

“I look upon foreign missionaries as the scaffolding around a rising building. The sooner it can be dispensed with, the better; or rather, the sooner it can be transferred to other places to serve the same temporary use, the better.” Hudson Taylor

“Overseas American businessmen outnumber missionaries by 100 to 1.” Impact, May 1981

“If God wants you on the mission field, neither your money nor your prayers will ever prove an acceptable substitute.” Anon.

“Our biggest need for missions is not for more money but for more prayer. There are more Baptist preachers in Texas than in the rest of the world.” Missionary Roland Simmeonsson

“It was a Jew who brought the Gospel to Rome; a Roman who took it to France; a Frenchman who took it to Scandinavia; a Scotsman who evangelized Ireland; and an Irishman in turn made the missionary conquest of Scotland. No people have ever received the Gospel except at the hands of an alien.” Dunkin

“I have had one long honeymoon with Christ on the mission field.” C.T. Studd

“We have twenty-five cents and all the promises of God!” J. Hudson Taylor

“The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God will not keep you.” Ron White

“Should a voyager chance to be on the point of shipwreck on some unknown coast, he will most devoutly pray that the lesson of the missionary may have reached there first.” Charles Darwin (Ok, not a missionary nor a missionary statesman, but I thought considering the source this was too good not to share!)

“Lord, send me anywhere, only go with me; lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever any tie that binds me save the tie that binds me to Thy heart. O Jesus, my Lord, my King I again consecrate my life to Thee.” David Livingstone

“Dear friends, you sometimes say, ‘will the heathen be saved if we do not send the missionaries?’ I will ask you another question, ‘Will you be saved if you do not send out any missionaries-because I have very dreadful doubts about whether you will.’” Charles Spurgeon

Editor’s note:  Like a bee collects nectar from flower after flower, I have collected these quotes and quips from sermons, articles read, books and various and sundry sources over a lifetime of ministry. I have tried to carefully and accurately credit the proper sources.


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