The past few months I have been studying church history in my theology college. This past week we have been learning about the 18th and 19th centuries. Out of the amazing people that we learned about this week, I would have to say Robert Morrison was one of the men that stood out to me most. This week I couldn’t get the thought out of my head; “After seven years of labor, he baptized his first convert.”
Robert Morrison (1732-1834) was the first Christian Protestant missionary in China. One of his most famous quotes was when he was en route to China; the owner of the boat on which the young missionary was traveling sarcastically said:”And so, Mr. Morrison, you really expect to make an impression on the idolatry of the great Chinese Empire?” “No, sir,” Morrison replied, “but I expect God will.” (Tucker 1983:167)
Morrison dedicated himself to an in-depth study of the Chinese culture and language. Since the interior of the country was closed to missionaries during his time, Morrison mainly worked in the production of Christian literature. After seven years of labor, he baptized his first convert. That’s right, SEVEN years.
The most monumental work of his twenty-seven years of service in China was the translation of the Bible into Wali, the ancient language of China.
Life is about the big picture…
In the small amount of information we learned about Morrison in our book, it was evident that Morrison expected to be used by God in the big picture. He was one of the few pioneers on learning the culture of a people as a means to witness to them. His understanding of the Chinese culture, and his translation of the Bible into Chinese were the building blocks of the now ever growing Church in China.
When I think about Morrison, he is greatly inspirational to me; life isn’t about numbers, figures, or being a “success”…it’s about doing what God made us to do…it’s about the big picture. Whether we are planting a seed, reaping the field, or even just removing the rocks; we need to make life about God and his plans. The picture of life is so much larger than we can ever see. Church, and the Gospel, are not about having an amazing service, or the most people in attendance…it’s about saving that one soul that God loved enough to send his only Son to die for in their place…
Let us learn from Morrison as an example that we can be pioneers for God. It isn’t about the “success” we may or may not see in our lifetime, but the big picture. Let us live to do what God has made us for.
In God’s love and grace,