The Worship Quote of the Week for (02/04/2003):

By Life or by Death
We read a lot these days about lifestyle worship. Today’s WORSHIP QUOTE goes
a step further. We worship God not only by how we live but also by how we
prepare to die.

Some of you may have heard about my great aunt and uncle, John and Betty
Stam. They were young missionaries serving with the China Inland Mission in
the early 1930’s. Scarcely one year after their marriage in China, they found
themselves caught up in the advance of the Communists into the region where
they lived. They were captured, held for an exorbitant ransom, marched
through the streets of the village, and they were beheaded.

Thanks to the providence of God and the courage of the Chinese Christians,
their baby daughter was hidden, smuggled to safety, and raised in the home of
her loving missionary grandparents. The last letter from John Stam was
written the day before their death and was found hidden in the clothes of
little Helen Priscilla. Here is the letter.


Tsingteh, An.
Dec. 6, 1934

China Inland Mission

Dear Brethren,
My wife, baby and myself are today in the hands of the Communists in the
city of Tsingteh. Their demand is twenty thousand dollars for our release.
All our possessions and stores are in their hands, but we praise God for
peace in our hearts and a meal tonight. God grant you wisdom in what you do,
and us fortitude, courage and peace of heart. He is able—and a wonderful
Friend in such a time.
Things happened so quickly this a.m. They were in the city just a few
hours after the ever-persistent rumors really became alarming, so that we
could not prepare to leave in time. We were just too late.
The Lord bless and guide you, and as for us, may God be glorified
whether by life or by death.

In Him,
John C. Stam

—John C. Stam, a letter included in THE TRIUMPH OF JOHN AND BETTY STAM by
Mrs. Howard Taylor, Philadelphia: China Inland Mission, 1935, p. 101.

[Indeed, these young followers of Jesus had prayed that the Lord would be
honored in their living and in their dying. May God give us the wisdom and
courage to do the same.]

Have a great week,

Chip Stam
Director, Institute for Christian Worship
School of Church Music and Worship
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Louisville, Kentucky