On this day in 1860, Reuben P. Lowrie died in Shanghai, China. Lowrie’s older brother, Walter, was also a missionary to China. Walter was martyred, killed by Chinese pirates several years before Reuben Lowrie arrived on the mission field.
It was his older brother’s martyrdom that inspired Lowrie to volunteer for service in China. After working there for several years, he grew a love for the people beyond a love for himself. It is written of him that, “He had been advised to seek renewed health by a visit to his native country, and this measure might have proved successful; but his reply to his friends was that he would not leave China ‘until he had looked death in the face.’”
Culbertson, with whom Lowrie was associated for several years in Shanghai, wrote of Lowrie, “His end was peace. He had a long and very trying struggle for life, and was anxious to live, but there has been no quarreling with the will of God. He did not cling to life for the sake of life. There was no hankering after this world. It was not even anxiety for his family that caused him most grief. It was the giving up of his chosen work, as a missionary of Christ, that distressed him.”
Are we willing to let the sacrifice of another motivate us to sacrifice of ourselves? Our Savior Jesus sacrificed Himself for the salvation of the world. We have His mission now. Are we willing to give our lives to see other come to know Him?
On this day in 1971, Morgan and Dorothy McKelvey retired from their work in India. According to Dr. Mark Juergensmeyer, this marked the day the last missionaries to the Punjab people of northern India would leave.
Dr. Juergensmeyer, professor of ethics and the phenomenology of religions at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkley, spent some time in northern India conducting research on social movements of the lower end of the caste system in India. He observed that many of them had converted to Christianity and thus he wanted to study this event that was taking place.
While in India, Juergensmeyer met a missionary couple, Morgan and Dorothy McKelvey, who were going to retire the following day. Of this couple he writes, “I didn’t know the McKelveys very well, but I did remember being struck by the fact that they were doing adult education and rural evangelism in the villages. Few missionaries did that sort of thing anymore. The roles of missionaries had changed. In fact, they were the only ones I could think of who were doing strictly church work, as opposed to work with Christian institutions — schools and hospitals — in the whole of the Punjab.”
He continues, “I mentioned our discovery that they were the last of their kind, and that tomorrow would be the closing of an era. If that was true, they said, they were not too happy about it. They had seen their colleagues, good ones, retired early, shipped off to bureaucratic roles; they felt that the newcomers — teachers and doctors — had time only for their institutions, and none for the church…And in fact, the stories of the past couple of years — the fights over church property rights, the factional struggles among the leadership — had given an unpleasant air to the church’s reputation. McKelvey was apparently one of the few remaining missionaries who had the courage, or the interest, to wade into these messes and try to straighten them out. The missionaries in the institutions just didn’t have the time.”
Are we willing to devote time and effort into the body of Christ? Will we focus on the work of God over our other jobs? The McKelvey’s did. Let’s not loose sight of what is important and let’s teach others to observe all things, whatsoever Jesus has commanded us. It takes time and effort. Are we willing to devote ourselves to it?
*Post written and submitted by Edward de los Reyes
Check out bcwe.org