One day as I was watching the church history lectures on Youtube (here), one particular remark of the lecturer Bro.Dean Taylor struck my heart.
Referring to the life of Conrad Grebel, an early Swiss Anabaptist leader, Dean said that, from the time of his conversion (1522) to his early death, Conrad had just 4 years on this earth. But during those short periods, he had accomplished tremendous things.
When we look at the church history, we realize that there existed many young men and women who were mightily used by Him. David Breinard, Henry Martyn, Felix Mantz, Michael Sattler, Robert McCheyne etc,, these young men had lived short but dedicated lives.
Kindled by His love, they utterly surrendered themselves to Jesus Christ as a living sacrifice (Rom 12:1). They were dead to the world and alive to Christ alone.
Henry Martyn had to give up his love for Lydia for the sake of spreading the Gospel to India and Persia. Felix Mantz and Michael Sattler had to suffer cruel tortures and executions in order to testify the Bible truth. They fell to the ground as obscure grains of wheat and were killed as heretics.
Just before his execution, 28-year-old Felix Mantz said, “I testify with my death today that the baptism which we have taught and practiced is the baptism of Jesus Christ and the Bible” (Fire in the Zurich Hills, p.338). Subsequent history proved the validity of his testimony.
The lives and faith of these men have taught me many things.
First, I learned that I must live up to my faith. What I believe, I must live accordingly.
Second, I should not expect immediate outcome in terms of spiritual service and ministry. Maybe I will never see the visible fruits out of my service on this earth, but the important thing is to be faithful to Jesus and to people whom I am serving until the end.
And lastly, I learned the importance of pouring all of myself to the altar of God now.
He gives me life today but He might take it away tomorrow. If Conrad Grebel had thought “Well, after all I am still young. Of course, I want to serve God but there is still lot of time ahead of me. Why not taste this and that before I go into ministry?”, he must have grieved at his deathbed, realizing he did not “redeem the time” (Eph.5:16).
Short but consecrated lives are like pearls which have eternal beauty and value.
These lives shine through the time and space and speak to us. Yes, they are pointing to the Holy One who is eternal and worthy to be dedicated to.
(♪Robert M.McCheyne, 1840)