One important part of our training [of missionaries] is poring over the biographies of missionaries of old and biblical characters that God has used to advance His purposes. In these accounts, it seems the Father is not shy about the flaws of His servants.
This week, as we were looking at the life of John G. Paton, it was amazing to realize that in 1865 he was aboard a British man-of-war that was pounding the island of Tanna with heavy cannons for the killing of missionaries. Such horrible lapses of judgment, as well as moral sin (Abraham), murder (David), callousness, and hyper-driven personalities are common failings of gospel workers throughout history. In some ways, our current age almost revels in finding flaws in folks who have endeavored to live lives for His honor’s sake but have made some disreputable choices. Knocking down ‘heroes’ till there are none left is easy to do in the age of Google.
With all that being said, it’s wonderful to read Hebrews 11 and see these flawed men and women who God used: Noah (Genesis:9:6), Abraham (Genesis:12:11-13), Moses (Exodus:2:12), Rahab (Joshua:2:1). Today it is no different. That the God of Heaven would allow these words, “the world was not worthy of them,” to be written about fallen men and women should give us all great hope.
—Brad Buser (Missionary to the Iteri tribe of Papua New Guinea, missionary trainer)