Roosevelt and the Lonely Missionary

Theodore Roosevelt was coming home from Africa, where he had been hunting big game. When he boarded the ship at an African port they rolled out the red carpet for him. The crowds gathered on the dock and applauded him. When he boarded the ship he was given the finest suite on board. All through the voyage he was the center of interest. Everybody went out of the way to favor the great man… Another man boarded the ship at the same time. He was and old missionary who had given his life away for Christ in Africa. Now his wife was dead, his children were gone, he himself was old and worn out, going back to America. But no one noticed him… No one applauded him. He was just a lonely old man.

When the ship docked at San Francisco a great crowed greeted Mr. Roosevelt. They applauded him. When he walked out upon the deck the bells rang, the whistles blew, and again they rolled out the red carpet and he landed amid pomp and glory… But no one was there to meet the old missionary—no one noticed him. He went to a small hotel to spend the night. That night he knelt by the side of his bed and prayed, “Lord, I am not complaining, but I just don’t understand. I gave my life for You in Africa, but it seems that no one cares. There was no one to greet me, no one to encourage me when I came home. Lord, I don’t understand.” And then it seemed that the Lord reached down from heaven and laid His hand on the old man’s shoulder and said, “Missionary, you are not home yet.”

1Co 2:9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

-W. Hershel Ford, from the Simple Sermons series

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