Fruit of Sacrifice

Jon Opgenorth

READ : Hebrews 11:29-39

Others suffered . . . though they were commended for their faith. (vv. 36, 39)

The ground-level grave markers in Bahrain showed two embossed dates: July 7, 1904, and July 15, 1904. In eight days Samuel and Amy Zwemer lost two precious daughters to disease: four-year-old Ruth and seven-year-old Amy.

I am a father of four and can only imagine what pain those early missionary parents felt as they put the bodies of two little girls in the Arabian soil.

Samuel Zwemer is called the “Apostle to Islam” for his legendary Arabian mission. Before oil was discovered, before anyone cared anything for the desert winds of the Arabian Gulf, Samuel Zwemer felt compelled by God to share Christ with the people who made the desert their home.

While we celebrate the heroism of pioneering missionaries, we often overlook their great sacrifices. The cost of the gospel’s advance is high, and those on the front-lines measure it in the highest price.

Yet in adversity comes fruit. Samuel and Amy returned to the US for an extended home stay, during which Samuel stirred up missionary passion for the Middle East. One historian notes that this period in his life bore the most fruit, as people and resources were raised up for expanded mission.

In your prayers today, lift up those serving Christ in the hardest, most dangerous places.


Sovereign Lord, give courage and power to your servants today.