Living Sacrifice: Dr. Roseveare

(My Saturday-Morning Assignment)

A Brief Summary of Dr. Helen Roseveare’s Living Sacrifice: Willing to be Whittled as an Arrow (2007, Christian Focus Publications, Geanies House, Fearn, Tain, Ross-shire, GB).

This is a book by Dr. Helen Roseveare, medical missionary to the Belgian Congo. She was born in Hailebury, Herts, England, in 1925. She joined WEC International in 1951. She served in the Congo 1953-73. She died in 2016.

The book focuses on sacrifice in the Christian’s life. She emphasizes that we, as Christians, should present ourselves as “living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is our spiritual act of worship” (Romans 12:10).

After explaining her reasons for writing in two page-long prologues (one for the Yanks and one for the Brits), she launches into the Proper Prologue, “His Right to Demand”. The title is fleshed out on page 26:

Could I see that God wanted to transform my life from a somewhat ugly, useless branch to an arrow, a tool usable in His hands, for the furtherance of His purposes?

She goes on to to ask (p. 27):

Can I see the apparent cost as minimal compared to the reality of the gain? Do I accept His right to demand my willingness to pay such a price in order to enter into the privilege and joy of being used in His purposes?

According to Mark 12:29-31, she notes, she must ‘love the Lord my God with all my heart… with all my soul… with all my mindwith all my strength.’

End Proper Prologue and begin the four chapters of the book, unsurprisingly titled:

  1. With All My Heart
  2. With All My Soul
  3. With All My Mind
  4. With All My Strength

Coming to the finish of the arrow she’s whittled, she sticks the tail feathers on in an epilogue entitled, “My Privilege to Respond”. Again, lots of useful insights but solid and unsurprising as ever: she believes she ought to respond with ‘overwhelming gratitude and love’ (p. 138).

The last words on the page are those of Isaac Watts, in the fifth and final stanza of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”:

Were the whole Realm of Nature mine,
That were a Present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my Soul, my Life, my All.

– Sister Still the Student

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