“I drew them with gentle cords, with bands of love” (Hosea 11:4).
An advertisement appeared in the 19th century calling for candidates to do God’s Work in China. In those days the unemployment problem was rampant in England. The salary fixed for the missionaries was attractive and hence many had applied for the same. Hudson Taylor, a man of God interviewed the Candidates and his first question in the interview was the reason for them to decide to become a missionary. Each of them came out with different answers for this question,
• “Sir, I have tried for many employments but all my efforts proved futile. I felt that possibly this may be a call for me to join a ministry and hence I have come to serve God.
• “Sir, my parents have dedicated me to God’s Work at a very young age itself. It will not be a blessing for me if I ignore this opportunity and opt for any other job.
• “Sir, I have dedicated myself to the commandments of God. Did He not say “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature? So I am proceeding to fulfil the command of God and become a missionary.”
• “Sir, people are perishing every minute without knowing Jesus Christ. They are destined to go either to the hade or to the hell. Is it not? I want to become a missionary because of my concern towards such souls.”
Hudson Taylor heard all these answers and said “All your answers indicate that you will not withstand during the times of tribulations and torture. You will backslide during those times. You can stand steadfast in the ministry only if you are drawn with gentle cords with bands of love, as Paul the Apostle said. Unless you are perfectly filled with the love of God, you cannot function as a missionary.”
When Jesus Christ asked Peter whether he loved Him, (John 21:15) Peter’s heart was broken. He had left behind all he had like his profession, his net and boat and followed Jesus with love. He surrendered his future and hope to Christ. Again Jesus repeated the question, Peter answered that Jesus knew that he loved Him (John 21:16), Then Jesus told Peter to feed His sheep.
Peter the Apostle served God for the whole of his life time being filled with the love of God. In the end, the Romans took Peter for crucifixion. It is learnt that at that time, Peter volunteered to be nailed on the cross but not in the way Jesus was nailed but upside down on the cross.
To meditate: “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).