Amy Carmichael ~~~ Saved children in India from Hindu temples.
Jim Elliot ~~~ Died by the hands of the Auca Indians, trying to share the Gospel.
Gladys Aylward ~~~ Helped and took in orphans from China, risking her life many times.
Apostle Paul ~~~ Traveled all over the world sharing the Gospel, often coming close to death.
David Livingstone ~~~ Was a missionary and explorer in Africa for many years.
Hudson Taylor ~~~ Went to China as a missionary and spread the Gospel there.
I'm sure these men and women are familiar to you. You've probably read their stories many times. What do all of these people have in common?
Of course you know. They are all great missionaries. Men and women of God, doing things for God's glory. Have you every said to yourself, "Why can't I be like Paul?" or "I'll never be able to be like Amy Carmichael. She was amazing." I know I have. But here's the thing. God made those men and women like that. He gave them their talents, passions, and ideas so that He could be glorified. Sure, they used them in amazing ways, but they listened to God when He told them how. They were ordinary people, just like you, who followed God's voice when they heard Him talking. Grace was abundant in their lives.
Also, when we get caught up in thinking about how they used their gifts, and wishing we were more like them, we miss the whole point. Those people were imitating Jesus.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin.
All the most wonderful missionaries in the world, the ones with the best missions or the most converts, were all sinners. All of them had weaknesses, and struggles, and sins. They were tempted every day, just like you.
And just like Jesus. Except Jesus-- didn't sin. He was perfect. Even though He went through everything, all the sins and temptations, that we go through, He didn't sin. Jesus is our High Priest, our role model.
Every high priest is selected from among the people and is appointed to represent the people in matters related to God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. He is able to deal gently with those who are ignorant and are going astray, since he himself is subject to weakness. This is why he has to offer sacrifices for his own sins, as well as for the sins of the people.
Even the high priests of the temples in Jesus' day had sins, and they were the ones you went to for offering sacrifices so that your sins could be removed. They had to offer sacrifices for their own sins. And the great missionaries of our day aren't any better. Jesus is God's high priest, because He went through temptations as a human, and didn't sin. He was perfect.
So don't you think, that when we look at missionary's lives, instead of looking at what they did as their own work and strengths, we should look in the background at God's grace to them? And look at Jesus Christ, our perfect High Priest, as our example in all of life?