Reading: She said unto her husband, Behold now, I perceive that this is an holy man of God, which passeth by us continually. 2 Kings 4:9

David Brainerd is best remembered as the outstanding missionary to the American Indians in the mid 1700s. As a young man Brainerd battled depression, loneliness, physical sickness, and the many hardships of early settlement times. 

Yet despite every difficulty, Brainerd threw himself body, soul, and mind into his work. He was untiring in his zeal, undaunted by the problems, and unshaken in his resolve to serve his God. When Brainerd came towards the end of his life (he died when he was 29), he said, “There was nothing of any importance to me but holiness of life and heart, and the conversion of the Indians to God.” Those words and their particular order, summarise David Brainerd’s life.

Brainerd was a man zealous to serve God, zealous to preach the gospel, zealous to redeem the time, zealous to rescue the lost, and zealous as a missionary, but his first concern as a believer was to live a holy life. He understood that there could be no usefulness for God if there was no holiness before God. Those two themes find their greatest expression in the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. Christ was the perfect servant of God. His life was spotlessly holy. Neither His friends nor His foes could find any fault in Him. He was (and remains) spotless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. He is the impeccable Saviour. As such He is the perfect Servant. Christ is our great example. Would we try to serve God on one hand and serve the world on another? God is looking for holy men and women. If we would serve Him effectively, we must strive to abstain from the appearance of evil and live our lives with the single eye to His glory. Holiness and usefulness go hand in hand in the Christian life. We could have no greater testimony than, “This is an holy man of God.”

“A baptism of holiness, a demonstration of godly living, is the crying need of our day.” Duncan Campbell

Taken from A Word in Season edited by Alan Cairns, 2010. Used by permission.