Where Will Our Hearts Be Buried?

By Bishop David Huskin, August 2000

I was recently asked if my heart were required to be buried where my treasure was, then where would my heart be buried? What a thought provoking question.

The scripture addresses this thought in Matthew 6:19-21, Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

What do we treasure? Whatever it is, it will get our heart and our attention. I thought of my wife and my children, the church, my friends, the nations and even my home. Where would my heart be buried?

The story of David Livingstone, the missionary of the mid eighteen hundreds, that pioneered the gospel to the “dark continent” of Africa always spoke so clearly to me. His story still speaks to me today.

As a young man in Scotland he heard Robert Moffat describe having seen the smoke of “a thousand villages that never a missionary had seen”. Young Livingstone prayed that day, “Lord, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever any tie but the tie that binds me to Thy service and to Thy heart”. God heard the prayer and took the young man at his word.

Thirty-two years later and thousands of miles away from home Livingstone concluded his mission to Africa. He walked over eleven thousand miles before ever returning to civilization.

By the time he returned in 1857 to England to speak at Cambridge University, his wife had been killed by malaria, his left arm had been nearly torn from his body by a lion, he had suffered numerous bouts of rheumatic fever and he was half blind from being whipped in the eye by a tree branch in the jungle. Yet, his treasure remained “the thousand villages no missionary had ever seen”.

His body was physically wasted and his skin had become like brown leather from the African sun but David Livingstone’s heart was still in Africa. He had to go back to where his heart led him years earlier.

For the next five years he would not see a familiar face but would be carried from village to village by servants who would prop him up to speak. Then one morning in his foreign home kneeling by his bed, David went home to the One who had answered his prayer as a youth.

The natives knew Livingstone had sacrificed everything for them, everyday for thirty-two years. So, before they sent his body home to England, his servants removed his heart and buried it where it belonged, under a shade tree in the plains of the Dark Continent. It remains there to this day.

His treasure had been the dark continent of “a thousand villages never seen by a missionary”. Now his heart would forever be planted with his treasure.

My heart is to see another generation experience the power and reality of the Kingdom of God demonstrated by unbreakable relationships. If my heart had to be buried where my treasure is, then it would have to be kept preserved until a time and place in the future where what we how see in part will be manifest in fullness.

David Livingstone was buried with dignity in Great Britain in Westminster Abbey. I have been to his grave but even at that site there is a reminder that his heart was planted under a tree in Africa.

One hundred and fifty hears later, that seed has now produced over seventy-five million converts throughout that continent. What a heart and what a treasure!

Are we willing to pray Livingstone’s prayer? If so, perhaps out heart will be buried where our treasure is located.

“Lord, send me anywhere, only go with me. Lay any burden on me, only sustain me. Sever an tie but the tie that binds me to Thy service and to Thy heart.”

God is listening.


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