Apparently, when early missionaries were sent to Africa, many of them packed and shipped all their belongings and supplies in a coffin. At the end of their lives, those same coffins were used for the missionary’s own burial.
You talk about commitment and dedication! Today, we might say that those men and women were “all in.”
We don’t live in a culture that encourages people to be “all in.” The average employee in the U.S. only stays at their job for a little over four years. A millennial will have 15-20 jobs over their lifetime. Between 40 and 50% of all couples end their marriage with divorce.
We are moving too. Today’s adult will move over eleven times in their life. And we are changing churches and faiths at a rapid pace as well. Apparently 40% of us will change our faith at least once.
We don’t commit to a job, a location, or a spouse. It’s no wonder then that we are horrible about committing to spiritual things. We change churches when the music doesn’t suit us. We switch Bible studies when the air conditioning languishes in the summer. We trade in our small group for another one when the conversation gets a bit stale. And our spiritual service tends to ebb and flow reflecting our fleeting attention spans.
When I heard this illustration about missionaries shipping their belongings in a coffin, I felt so convicted about my own lack of dedication to the Lord and my spiritual activities.
Like most folks I guess, I tend to start projects strong and end them with a whimper. I often lack true dedication and unswerving commitment.
Maybe you can join me this week as we all recommit ourselves anew to the things of the Lord. Let’s put our hand to the plow and not look back (Luke 9:62). Let’s remember the injunction Paul gave the churches in Galatia. “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
I am not sure about actually purchasing a coffin…