Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Thank you, David Brainerd!

Don't you love it when someone puts perfectly into words what you've tried, not so effectively, to articulate?  David Brainerd did that for me today (at least, I read it today).

David Brainerd lived a short life.  He had nine siblings.  He became an orphan at 14.  He was kicked out of Yale for a little "intemperate, indiscreet zeal."  He criticized one of his professors by saying that the man had "no more grace than a chair."  This ended his chances of pursuing pastoral ministry.  But in God's providence, it opened the door to missionary work among the Delaware Indians of New Jersey.  He labored among them for three short years.  He died from tuberculosis in Jonathan Edwards' home in 1747.

This short life, filled with a life-changing failure, has had an enormous impact for the kingdom of Christ.  Jonathan Edwards published Brainerd's journal, with some biographical additions, a few years after his death.  That diary had a life-changing impact on the likes of such missionary pioneers as William Carey, Henry Martyn, Adonirum Judson, and Jim Elliot.  It's never been out of print (since 1749!) and it continues to impact people today.

Okay, already!  So what did he articulate so well?  Here it is.  Read it carefully so you don't miss what he's saying.
God has given me that disposition that, if this were the case that a man has done me an hundred injuries and I (though ever so much provoked to it) have done him one, I feel disposed and heartily willing humbly to confess my fault to him, and on my knees to ask forgiveness of him; though at the same time he should justify himself in all the injuries he has done me and should only make use of my humble confession to blacken my character the more and represent me as the only person guilty. (quoted on p153 of Rescuing Ambition by Dave Harvey)
Thank you, David Brainerd, for shining light on this path of Christlike meekness and humility!  And now, O God, please give us that disposition you gave David Brainerd!  In Jesus' Name, Amen.

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