In Talking to My Father, Ray Stedman wrote of an old missionary couple retiring to New York after serving in Africa for many years. They had no pension and their health wasn’t great. They were defeated, discouraged, and afraid. On the ship back to the States, they discovered they were booked on the same ship as President Teddy Roosevelt, returning from one of his big game hunting expeditions. They watched the fanfare surrounding the President each day.
Eventually the old missionary said to his wife, “Something is wrong – why should we have given our lives in faithful service to God in Africa all these many years and have no one care a thing about us? Here this man comes back from a hunting trip and everybody makes much over him, but nobody gives two hoots about us.” Even though his wife admonished him that he shouldn’t feel that way, he confessed, “I can’t help it – it doesn’t seem right.” When the ship docked in New York, a band was waiting to greet the President, along with the mayor and other dignitaries. The papers were full of his arrival, but no one noticed the elderly missionary couple. They slipped off the ship, rented a cheap apartment, and hoped they could find a way to make a living in the city.
Reflecting on the fanfare accorded the President, the old missionary’s spirit broke as he said to his wife, “I can’t take this; God isn’t treating us fairly.” His wife replied, “Why don’t you go into the bedroom and tell that to the Lord?” A short time later he emerged from the bedroom with a completely different facial expression and attitude. His wife asked, “Dear, what happened?” With a smile he replied, “The Lord settled it with me. I told him how bitter I was that the President should receive such a tremendous homecoming when no one met us or even thanked us for the work we had done. When I finished, I waited for the Lord to speak and it seemed as if he put his hand on my shoulder and simply said, “But you’re not home yet!” “Therefore, be all the more eager to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never fall, and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” (2Peter 1:10-11) May we always keep the main focus the main focus – to know Him and to make Him known.
To His Glory,