Friday, October 27, 2006

John Paton's childlike trust

John Paton, missionary to New Hebrides (Vanuatu), describes a time when cannibals threatened his life.
"All through the morning and forenoon we heard them tramp-tramping round our house, whispering to each other, and hovering near window and door. They knew that there were a double-barrelled fowling-piece and a revolver on the premises, though they never had seen me use them, and that may, under God, have held them back in dread. But the thought of using them did not enter our souls even in that awful time. I had gone to save, and not destroy. It would be easier for me at any time to die, than to kill one of them. Our safety lay in our appeal to that blessed Lord who had placed us there, and to whom all power had been given in Heaven and on Earth."

And his Lord did keep him safe, becasue the Lord jesus delights in the child like trust of his children. "Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3-4).

"Lord make us in our time, and in our neighborhoods and workplaces, childlike in our trust of You. Give us a faith like John Paton so that like him we can find you faithful."


Craver VII said...

I like Paton's response, that he would rather be killed, than to kill because he was there that they might be saved. I hope I would be the same way in such a situation, because I believe it's the right thing to do.

But when we lived in Chicago, someone broke into our house while we were sleeping. I believe he had bad intentions for our teenage daughter, but we startled him and he fled. That situation is not quite the same as the danger that Paton was in (or the five young men in Equador).

Every time I think about that episode, I wish that I had the presence of mind to grab a stick and escort that perpetrator to within a few yards of the gates of eternity.

That situation of mine seems different than being a missionary. The bad guy came back another time, but we had taken measures to prevent someone from entering the house, so the police arrived before he could become a victim of Craver's overprotectiveness.

I don't want to be like some religious folks who will not raise their fists to stop an attacker from hurting their family. Such instances of passifism should be regarded as erroneous judgement and by allowing the offender, they have become partners in the injustice.

Tim said...

Did you hear Piper's biography on Paton? It was great. Paton was an amazing man, surely. Piper goes into his relationship with his father which was very good as well.

ChosenRebel said...

Yes. I actually was present for it. Truly inspiring life. May God raise up many sons and daughters from this generation to follow in like footsteps to Paton.

Question: What type of church and what tpe of preaching will it take to raise up such men and women? Surely not the typical fare of our 21st century America churches.

Anonymous said...

I love John Paton.