Adoniram Judson was the first overseas missionary from the United States. In 1812, when he was 23-years-old, he sailed to Burma to take the gospel to people who had never heard it. With him sailed his wife, Ann – to whom he had been married for twelve days on the day they departed. Ann would never return home. They both gave their lives – their talents – to see Christ treasured in Burma, serving there until they died.
This is an excerpt from the letter that Adoniram wrote Ann’s father, asking for her hand in marriage. At the time, he knew he was headed to Burma – and he knew the fate that likely awaited him there. But he also knew that the life he was given was not his to begin with, but God’s. More than anything else, he longed to see his life – and Ann’s – count for the glory of Christ.
I have now to ask, whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world; whether you can consent to her departure, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of missionary life; whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean, to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death.
Can you consent to all of this, for the sake of him who left his heavenly home, and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion, and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with the crown of righteousness, brightened with the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Savior from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?
Ann’s father let her decide. She said yes. She chose to spend her talents – her life – for the glory of Christ. Will we?
This is an excerpt from the message The Talents, preached at Capitol City Christian Church on 3/31/2019. To hear the entire message, click here.
 Adoniram Judson; quoted in Courtney Anderson, To the Golden Shore: The Life of Adoniram Judson (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 1956), 83.