The Francis Asbury Society

FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 2/29

Posted on | February 29, 2016 | Comments Off on FACE TO FACE: Intimate Moments with God 2/29

Scripture reading: II Corinthians 11:16–33

Dr. Livingstone, I Presume?

So death is at work in us, but life in you (II Corinthians 4:12)

Perhaps no missionary ever experienced the celebrity status attained by David Livingstone (1813–1873). His adventures in Africa captured the attention of both Europe and America, making him an international hero of almost mythic proportions. When Livingstone returned to Africa in 1864, years went by with almost no word of his whereabouts. Rumors spread that he had died or was lost or was held captive. Newspapers headlined the question, “Where is Livingstone?” The clamor finally prompted the New York Herald to finance an expedition to discover the truth. Newspaper reporter Henry Morton Stanley was given a simple assignment: Find Livingstone! If he is alive, bring back a report. If he is dead, bring back his bones. Leading an expedition of some two hundred men, Stanley set out from the eastern shore of Africa heading inland. After nearly eight months of tortuous travel, he finally reached Ujiji, a small village on the shore of Lake Tanganyika on November 10, 1871. The meeting of the two men remains one of the most memorable moments of the nineteenth century.

As I advanced slowly toward him I noticed he was pale, looked wearied, had a gray beard, wore a bluish cap with a faded gold braid round it, had on a red-sleeved waistcoat and a pair of gray tweed trousers. I would have run to him, only I was a coward in the presence of such a mob—would have embraced him, only he, being an Englishman, I did not know how he would receive me. So I did what cowardice and false pride suggested was the best thing—walked deliberately to him, took off my hat, and said, “Dr. Livingstone, I presume?”

For several months the two men traveled together, becoming close friends. Stanley soon discovered that it wasn’t only the Africans who needed Christ.

For four months and four days I lived with him in the same hut, or the same boat, or the same tent, and I never found a fault in him. I went to Africa as prejudiced against religion as the worst infidel in London. . . . I asked myself, “What is it that inspires him?” . . . I found myself listening to him, wondering at the old man carrying out the words, “leave all and follow me.” But little by little, seeing his piety, his gentleness, his zeal, his earnestness, and how he went quietly about his business, I was converted by him, although he had not tried to do it. (How I Found Livingstone in Central Africa)

As the story of Livingstone’s life continued to spread throughout the Western world, his influence inspired thousands of others to leave the comforts of home and take the Gospel to the ends of the earth. One could argue that although Livingstone gave his life to Africa, his greatest influence was in Europe and America. By losing himself in the jungles of Africa he was actually evangelizing London and New York! Livingstone’s life helps us to better understand what Jesus was talking about when he said:

Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or lands, for my sake and the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time, houses and brothers and sisters and mothers and children and lands, with persecutions, and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first. (Mark 10:29–31)


If you have men who will only come if they know there is a good road, I don’t want them.

I want men who will come if there is no road at all.  —David Livingstone


point to ponder Suffering and hardship for the cause of Christ is pure privilege.

prayer focus Someone serving Christ in a very difficult situation.


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