It seems that Mr. and Mrs. Henry Morrison had been serving in Africa as missionaries for over forty years, and they were returning to New York City to retire. They had no pension; their health was broken; they were defeated, discouraged, and afraid.
They soon discovered they were booked on the same ship as President Teddy Roosevelt, who was returning from one of his big-game hunting expeditions in Africa. No one paid much attention to them. They watched the fanfare that accompanied the President’s entourage, with passengers trying to catch a glimpse of the great man.
As the ship moved across the ocean, the old missionary said to his wife, "Something is wrong. Why should we have given our lives in faithful service for God in Africa all these many years and have no one care a thing about us? Here this man comes back from a hunting trip and everybody makes much over him, but nobody gives two hoots about us."
"Dear, you shouldn’t feel that way," his wife said. "I can’t help it; it doesn’t seem right."
When the ship docked in New York, a band was waiting to greet the President. The mayor and other dignitaries were there. The papers were full of the President’s arrival, but no one noticed this missionary couple. They slipped off the ship and found a cheap flat on the East side, hoping the next day to see what they could do to make a living in the city.
That night, the man’s spirit broke. He said to his wife, "I can’t take this; God is not treating us fairly." His wife replied, "Why don’t you go into the bedroom and tell that to the Lord?" A short time later he came out from the bedroom, but now his face was completely different. His wife asked, "Dear, what happened?"
"The Lord settled it with me," he said. "I told him how bitter I was that the President should receive this tremendous homecoming, when no one met us as we returned home. And when I finished, it seemed as though the Lord put his hand on my shoulder and simply said, ‘But you’re not home yet!’"
Discouragement is a part of life. None of us are immune; and sooner or later, we will all face it. What is more, Satan loves to get us discouraged. He knows when we get discouraged because he knows that we are less likely to be productive for God’s kingdom.
But when those times come, we must all be reminded that God has promised us an eternal reward. One day, when our work on earth is finally finished, we will receive our reward. Until then, we must remain faithful, believing that our work for the Lord is not in vain.
As the Apostle Paul admonishes us (in chapter 15, verse 58 of his First New Testament Letter to the Corinthians): “Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.”
Clearly, the Apostle Paul must have had in mind the words of our Savior, Jesus Christ, in His famed “Sermon on the Mount” (in the New Testament Gospel of Matthew, chapter 5, verse 12): “Great is your reward in heaven.”
Until that time, may we all remain faithful in our service to the Lord!
SOURCE: Ray Stedman Talking To My Father: Jesus Teaches on Prayer (Grand Rapids: Harbour House, 1997).
SEE ALSO: http://www.tonycooke.org/stories-and-illustrations/not_home_yet/.
AS WELL AS: http://www.addeigloriam.org/stories/morrison.htm.
SCRIPTURE SOURCE: http://biblehub.com/niv/1_corinthians/15.htm and http://biblehub.com/matthew/5-12.htm.
SEE ALSO: https://www.raystedman.org/ and https://www.pbc.org/our-history.