This is a great introduction to 50 people who spent their lives serving Christ. Each chapter is dedicated to one person and gives a brief overview of their life and teachings. The chapters also give you plenty of references to their work and books written about them and by them.
I especially liked the chapters on the women of faith. Women like Amy Carmichael and Katherine von Bora (Martin Luther's wife). I thought I'd share a little about each of these two women.
While in India her heart went out to a young girl who came to her after fleeing one of the temples. She later found out many young girls were being sacrificed as prostitutes to their gods. She went right to her knees to fight for these children and God brought forth a beautiful ministry to help these young girls.
Amy never once came home from the mission field. For nearly 60 years she served these young girls and later young boys as well. The last 20 years being a near invalid, she still served and worked from her room.
Amy depended on the Lord for funds to run her mission, never asking or soliciting for money. Any money received was put into a general fund that served where God led her to use it.
Many came to Christ through Amy's obedience to the Lord. This 'Confession of Love,' she wrote for a group of Indian girls who came together to serve Christ, best puts into words what Amy believed and lived:
My Vow: Whatsoever Thou sayest unto me, by Thy grace I will do it.
My Constraint: Thy love, O Christ, my Lord.
My Confidence: Thou art to keep that which I have committed unto thee.
My Joy: To do Thy will, O God.
My Discipline: That which I would not choose, but which Thy love appoints.
My Prayer: Conform my will to Thine.
My Motto: Love to live-live to love.
My Portion: The Lord is the portion of mine inheritance.
It was the example of them both that set a standard of godly marriage between a pastor and his wife. Something that just wasn't done back in the 16th century. She was also the epitome of the proverbs 31 woman, taking great care of her family and home by planting a garden, keeping cows for milk, butter and making cheese. Also being "an excellent nurse and dispenser of herbal medicines" she often helped with the needs of the people of Wittenberg.
I also loved her sense of humor. While Luther was often joyous in nature he did have many times of trail and became depressed and worried. The book says here of an attempt at cheering him up:
Katherine endured this for days. One day, she met him at the door wearing a black mourning dress.
'Who died?' the professor asked.
'God,' said Katherine.
'You foolish thing!' said Luther. 'Why this foolishness!'
'It is true,' she persisted. 'God must have died, or Doctor Luther would not be so sorrowful.'
This must have made him smile. :) In fact it snapped him out of his depression that day. It very much sounds like they enjoyed each other, often bantering back and forth in jest and love.
I love that these two women were so different and how God used each of them in a special way.
This book is filled with great stories and histories of some of the greatest spiritual giants of the faith. Some familiar like Oswald Chambers, D.L. Moody, and Charles Spurgeon and some I'd never heard of like Samuel Rutherford and Christmas Evans. In reading this book, I have come to know and admire them all. It's also given me many new books to read, inspire and learn from!