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Understanding the Price of Passing Time

February 3, 2012

Samuel Zwemer was born in Michigan in 1867, the thirteenth child in a Reformed Church minister’s family. Many years later when he shared with his mother that he believed God was calling him to the foreign field, she told him that she had dedicated him to the Lord’s service and placed him in the cradle with the prayer that he might grow up to be a missionary. There was Bible reading at every meal and the family went through the whole of the Scripture in this way together each year. With such a heritage, it is little wonder that Samuel felt he had accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior as far back in his boyhood as he could remember.


Recognizing that the passage of time, by viewing something as simple as a metronome, declares the urgency of sharing the Gospel with millions of Muslims who have never heard it and are perishing as believers tarry in sharing the message.

Robert Wilder of the Student Volunteer Movement, visited Hope College. Zwemer went to hear him speak. While Wilder was presenting the needs of missions, he had a map of India on display with a metronome in front of it. It was set so that each time it ticked back and forth one person in the Indian subcontinent died who had never heard the gospel of Jesus Christ. This so affected Samuel Zwemer that at the end of the message he rushed forward and signed the decision card, which stated: “God helping me, I purpose to be a foreign missionary.”

Told by J. Christy Wilson, in his article, The Apostle to Islam, the Legacy of Samuel Zwemer” in IJFM Vol. 13: 4  Oct-Dec. 1996

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