A band of brave souls became known as one-way missionaries two centuries ago. They bought tickets to the mission field without the return half. Instead of suitcases, they packed their few earthly belongings into coffins. As they sailed away, they waved goodbye to everyone they loved and all they knew, knowing they’d never return home.
A.W. Milne (1785-1822) was one of those missionaries. He set sail for the New Hebrides in the South Pacific, aware that the headhunters there had martyred every missionary before him. Milne didn’t fear for his life because he had already died to himself. His coffin was packed.
For 35 years he lived among that tribe. When he died, they buried him in the middle of the village and inscribed this on his tombstone: “When he came there was no light. When he left there was no darkness.”
Another intrepid soul cut from the same cloth was Methodist missionary, James Calvert (1813-1892), who committed his life to reaching the indigenous peoples of the Fiji Islands. It is widely reported that upon his voyage, the ship’s captain warned him to turn back, saying, “You will lose your life and the lives of those with you if you go among such savages.” Calvert purportedly replied, “We died before we came here.”
Calvert and Milne understood the implications of Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ.” The first and most essential act of discipleship is firing the planning committee in your heart and dying to self. Those men lived powerfully for God because they recognized that the greatest barrier to discovering all that God has for us is our preoccupation with self.
Have we been satisfied to wear the faded garments of hand-me-down theology.
The Lord did not clothe Gideon with Himself. He clothed Himself with Gideon – the difference being that God was in the center & Gideon on the outside.