Luther Rice: A heart for the Heathen
I must confess that in my mind that I have fallen trap to the thought that if one truly loves the heathen then he must be on the foreign field. Or to put it in layman’s term, “You can’t have a heart for world evangelism if you aren’t a missionary.”
What a dumb thought! In the life of Luther Rice that statement could not be further from the truth. I doubt many people can say that they have “sacrificed” like Luther Rice did during his life to get the Gospel to the heathen. Luther Rice did have a heart for world evangelism and he wasn’t a foreign missionary. His life demonstrated hisheart.
Luther Rice died a single man. Before his attempt to get to the mission field Luther Rice had to break off an engagement because his fiancé wasn’t willing to go to the mission field. WOW!! If we only had men like that–men who would love Jesus and who would be discerning about who they would marry.
Luther Rice realized that his talents were more useful in raising help from Baptist churches in America and in creating fellowships that would later lead to the Southern Baptist Convention as we know it. If there were men and women who would be more enamored about the salvation of souls and where they could plug in their talents and gifts rather than just the thrill of living in another country more could be done to spread the Gospel around the world!
During Mr Rice’s life he received a salary for his work of showing churches the need to take the Gospel to the world and to send missionaries to the foreign field. But some men on Rice’s board decided to cut his salary and not pay him anymore. Luther Rice didn’t take that as a sign from God as a closed door; instead he continued to do what he was called to do. Someone had to get the funds to the missionaries and someone had to inform others what the world is like and show their needs. We need men like that–men who have calling and not a profession, men who would be willing to go without to get see the Great Commission accomplished.
I like to finish by saying all of this started after Luther Rice got saved. You see one can’t have a heart for world evangelism and not have a heart to see your lost neighbor or family hear the gospel. You see when Luther got saved it is recorded that he was ACTIVE in getting the Gospel out to his family, friends and neighbors. What a challenge! You too can have a heart for the heathen but I need to remind you that it starts right where you are. Who are you giving the gospel to this week?