They are APPLIED

Was anyone ever more applied than explorer David Livingstone?

     David Livingstone's astonishing commitment - his virtue of relentless application of Gospel truths - was a compulsion to many who did not sympathize with his goals. His commitment was even considered a compulsion to some - like Dr. Kirk - who did sympathize. Livingstone's perilous journeys up and down the Zambesi River were alluded to in 'warts'. But not explained there was what was at stake. Africa south of the Nile River was remarkable in that it had very few navigable rivers. Livingstone reasoned that if only he could find a river route into the heart of Africa it would invite commerce into the interior. Thus the slave trade would die because local chiefs would no longer have to cooperate with slave traders to get trade goods. Knowing this was his goal justified what Livingstone did. Not knowing it or knowing it but not believing it made Livingstone seem like a crackpot, just as Dr. Kirk often thought.
      The Zambesi was the most promising river Livingstone had found. Other than Victoria Falls - which could be detoured by river traders without great difficulty - the Zambesi had only one major obstacle:  the Kebrabasa Rapids. The miles of rapids could not be easily detoured. Livingstone was determined to find out if they were navigable at least during high water. The result was one of the most grueling journeys ever taken by explorers. December 2, 1858, during low water Livingstone proceeded on foot up the rapids with Kirk, local guides and four Makalolo warriors fiercely loyal to Livingstone. By noon the African sun made the boulders sizzling hot. The feet of the Makalolos blistered.
    The streambed was a nightmarish chaos of boulders, many so enormous they actually had to be climbed! It was often necessary to leap from rock to rock or squirm through gaps or slide perilously down boulder surfaces before gaining a sure footing.  Yet Livingstone would not stop until nightfall. The next day his traveling companions were mutinous. The guides quit. The raw-footed Makalolos, who revered him, said he had no heart, then declared him insane! Yet Livingstone continued. At one locality on the second day the party had to scale a 300-foot rock face. Livingstone wrote, "The heat was excessive…(and there) we were, clambering up the face of a slippery promontory, certain that, if one of the foremost lost his hold, he would knock all the others down who came behind him…"
     Kirk could not believe what Livingstone concluded at the end of the nightmare. Yes, declared the irrepressible Livingstone, at high water one might just be able to get a boat through the Kebrabasa Rapids!
     So Kirk, a loyal colleague, often believed Livingstone, a crackpot. And similarly many otherwise decent clerics considered Mother Teresa a crackpot. In 1948 - at 38, not five feet tall, not 100 pounds - she ventured alone from the convent onto the streets of Calcutta, murderous streets since the open feud between Hindus and Muslims began in 1946. Here she began her mission to help the poorest of the poor. Everything she did was something that was said to be impossible. How could she leave the cloister? The archbishop would never let her go. How could she start a new order? The Vatican would never approve another new order. How could she dress in a sari like a native? No one would respect her. How could she live? She had no money, nothing to eat, no place to stay. How could she survive? Either the Hindus or the Muslims would kill her. How could she start a school? She had nothing. Besides, the poor people were suspicious and would oppose her. How could she offer them medical help? She had no resources. How could she ever attract other Sisters? The work was far too dangerous to appeal to young women.  On and on went the objections...
     Yes, even the most well-intentioned occasionally forgot what Mother Teresa knew in her heart: 'I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.' (Philippians 4:13 NIV).
     Why is the virtue of commitment so important to heroes?

There they were: climbing 300 feet up a vertical face of slippery moss-covered rock!

In 1948 Mother Teresa walked the streets of Calcutta where Hindus and Muslims had been murdering one another for two years!








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