Lately I’ve been thinking about Dr. David Livingstone, the famed Scottish medical missionary and explorer who spent most of his life in the remotest parts of Africa. For six years, he completely lost contact with the outside world, but in 1869 the New York Herald newspaper sent Henry Morton Stanley on an expedition to find him.
It took nearly two years, but Stanley finally found Livingston in poor health in a village on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Despite Stanley’s urging, Livingstone refused to leave Africa and return to civilization, where he could get better medical care.
Dr. Livingston died just a few years later from malaria and internal bleeding caused by dysentery. It is said that he took his final breaths while kneeling in prayer at his bedside.
Two of his followers, Susi and Chuma, fulfilled Livingstone’s wishes by removing his heart for burial in Africa, while carrying his body and journal over 1,000 miles to the coast, where they could be returned to England. His remains eventually were interred at Westminster Abbey in London…but his heart never left Africa.
This story should be a challenge to each of us. Hopefully we love our home country, home state, or hometown, but where is our calling and our mission field? David Livingstone had poured his life into reaching the African people. His faithful followers, Susi and Chuma, understood where his heart was, and where it must remain.
May our passion in life be this focused and clear. Livingstone’s story puts a new light on Jesus’ statement to us, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Livingstone’s treasure was the African people, and his heart was there also. So where is YOUR treasure?