Friday, April 09, 2010

Our Motive For Mission

Ray Ortlund:
Henry Martyn (1781-1812), Anglican missionary, was told by a Muslim friend about a painting of Christ bowing down to Muhammad. Martyn tells what happened next:

“I was cut to the soul at this blasphemy. Mirza Seid Ali perceived that I was considerably disordered and asked what it was that was so offensive? I told him that ‘I could not endure existence if Jesus was not glorified; it would be hell to me if he were to be always thus dishonored.’ He was astonished and again asked ‘Why?’ ‘If anyone pluck out your eyes,’ I replied, ‘there is no saying why you feel pain; it is feeling. It is because I am one with Christ that I am thus dreadfully wounded.’”

(Constance E. Padwick, Henry Martyn (London, 1925), page 265, italics original.)

Martyn did not attack his Muslim friend. He let his own heart be broken because of his union with Christ, and he explained to his friend what Jesus meant to him.

Our motive for mission is not to help improve a Jesus-dishonoring world nor to attack it. Our motive is to see Jesus honored, though our own hearts will be broken.

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