“What would I do with starry crowns except to cast them at His Feet?”
This quote showcases the humility and obedience of the life of Mary Slessor. Mary not only wrote this quote, she lived by it. On countless occasions she sacrificed personal gain and comfort for the sake of the Gospel. While she was not martyred for her faith, Mary Constantly put her life on line to reach the remote tribes of Calabar Africa with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Mary Slessor was a woman who set aside gain and laid her destiny at the feet of her God.
Because Mary was willing to trust him, God used Mary’s rough childhood to prepare her for the plans he had lying ahead. Mary was born 1848 to a poor, Scottish family who lived in a rough part of town. Marry’s father was a drunk and a gambler so at a young age Mary would have to work to support her family. As a child, Mary began to get into lots of trouble, but a concerned lady from Mary’s town told Mary about the punishment for sin and that there was a way she could be saved from that punishment. Mary chose to be saved and to accept Christ as her Lord. After that her life was never the same. Mary began to teach a Sunday school class in one of the most dangerous parts of town. One day after teaching, Mary was walking home when she was confronted by a gang of boys. The boys told Mary to get out of the area and stop teaching Sunday school. Then one of the boys took a piece of string that he had tied to a piece of led and began to swing it around his head. He came closer and closer to Mary, but Mary didn’t back down; She knew she could trust God. The boy came closer and closer until suddenly, “Whack,” the led hit Mary in the forehead causing her to bleed. However, Mary still didn’t turn and run; she just stood there. The boys were so amazed by Mary’s bravery that the next week they came to Mary’s Sunday school class and the boy who had hit Mary with the led accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior. Sunday school was only a training ground for Mary for what God had in store. One Sunday as she was sitting in church, Mary heard a missionary speech about the work going on in Calabar, Africa. The missionary told about how these people desperately needed Jesus. He told about how the people there participated in witchcraft, cannibalism, and tribal warfare. At that moment, Mary felt God calling her to go to Calabar. After much prayer and preparation, Mary set sail for Calabar, but Calabar wasn’t going to be anything like Scotland. When describing Calabar, the captain of the ship that Mary was on told Mary, “sure tis no place for a proper young lady to be going”. “There’s no law or order there.” Mary wasn’t scared though. She knew that she could trust God in Calabar just like she could trust him when confronted by a gang of boys.
Mary was not afraid of stepping out of her comfort zone to reach people for Christ. Unlike other missionaries in Calabar, Mary changed her customs to fit the ways of the Calabarian people. She eat their food, wore their clothes, and lived in their houses. In-between going from village to village, Mary would see baby twins alongside the road. The babies had been abandoned because the villagers thought that having twins was bad luck. Mary would take these children and either find good homes for them or raise them herself. Even though she never married, Mary raised these children as her own. Mary was also a great peace maker. Whenever she heard that two tribes were going to war, she would run as fast as she could to go and try to convince the two chiefs to make peace. One time, a chief named Chief Njiri [Ninjuri] came into the village where Mary was. He and his men became drunk and then they started stabbing other people. Mary ran right up to chief Njiri, grabbed his arm, and told him, “Chief Njiri, you need to leave right now.” Amazingly that’s just what Chief Njiri did. He and his men filed right out of town. Mary did all her work for the Lord, but the government couldn’t help but notice what a great peacemaker Mary was. The governor, whose name was Claude MacDonald, told Mary, “I don’t know of anyone who does such a good job at making peace as you.” He then gave Mary a paid, official position as peacemaker for the region. The only reason Mary received this position though was because she did not let her fear of change or her fear for her life stop her from reaching people for Christ.
Mary never let her health get in the way of her ministry. Africa is a place with many diseases and viruses. Several times Mary became so sick that she had to return to England, but every time she went to England, she always returned to Calabar. One time while taking a long boat ride in the rain, Mary became so sick that she started talking nonsense, laughing hysterically, and was unable to recognize her friends. By the time the boat ride was over, Mary was unconscious. The other missionaries were very concerned for her. They sent her back to England where she became better. After getting well, Mary returned to Africa even though she knew she might face some deadly disease there. As Mary became older, it became more and more difficult for her to walk from village to village so she came up with come creative means of transportation. At first Mary tried biking, but pretty soon she wasn’t able to even do that. So she had her oldest daughter wheel her in a wheel chair. Mary also got around in a motorized boat that children in a Sunday school class in England had bough for her. These modes of transportation were far from comfortable. Every joint in Mary’s body would ache every time she would travel. Marry’s friends bought her a nice house and told her it was time for her to retire. However Mary refused. She staid and worked in Africa until her death in 1915. Even when every joint in her body ached, Mary still pressed on to tell people about Jesus. Mary was more concerned with people’s spiritual condition than with her own physical one.
Mary Slessor was a woman who set aside gain and laid her destiny at God’s feet. Mary allowed God to use her circumstances as a child to prepare her for missions work. Once a missionary, Mary went out of comfort zone to reach people for Christ even if it meant death. Mary put the condition of other’s hearts in front of the condition of her body. Like Mary we too should obey God instead of trying to gain passing earthly possessions.