David Livingstone

“… and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

— Matthew 28:20

Today I want to share a spiritual secret. This secret was the key to the extraordinary service of David Livingstone, one of the greatest missionaries in the Church’s history.

Livingstone committed himself to living for Christ. Consider this prayer from his diary: “Lord, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever any ties but the tie that binds me to Thy service and Thy heart.” And so it happened that God took Livingstone to task. “Send me anywhere …” Livingstone had learned of the villages in Africa where no missionary had ever gone before, and he felt led to go there. “Lay any burden on me …” Once in Africa, Livingstone encountered numerous trials. First, a lion attacked him, crushing his shoulder. Then, while crossing one of the vast plains of Africa, one of his children died. To add to that, when his children reached school age, he had to send them and his wife back to Scotland. The loneliness weighed heavily upon him. But Livingstone was undaunted, and he went deeper and deeper into Africa all alone. “Sever any ties …” When Livingstone went back to Scotland, he found that his beloved father had died. Later Livingstone returned to Africa, and though his wife joined him in this venture, she passed away soon after her arrival. But Livingstone pressed on despite all this. Livingstone tramped across Africa for thirty-three years. Because of his faithfulness to the Lord, two million people heard the Gospel, and the Light of Christ came into Africa. Livingstone set his heart on Christ and committed himself wholly to the Lord.

What was Livingstone’s secret to maintaining his commitment despite all his struggles? Christ’s presence. In the midst of all of his hardships and toils, he knew Christ remained with him, for He had said, “I am with you always.” This day, let Livingstone’s example encourage you. No matter how hectic your life may get, remember that Jesus Christ is with you wherever you go, whatever you do.

“Give me, O God, this day a strong and
vivid sense that Thou art by my side.”
John Baillie