restoring our biblical and constitutional foundations


Gordon Guggisberg

 David Alan Black  

In Sherwood Eddy’s magnificent book A Portrait of Jesus (p. 33), a beautiful story is told about Sir Gordon Guggisberg, a Canadian of Swiss descent. During the First World War Guggisberg served Great Britain as a brigadier general with supreme dedication and loyalty. On his mirror he had placed a placard bearing the motto, “For God, for King, for Country.” He said, “God meant nothing to me, the King meant a little, but Country everything.”

When the war ended Guggisberg became the governor of the African Gold Coast. One day a Christian friend of his said to him, “You love your country because you have served it all your life; you have taken every opportunity of seeing the king; but you have never sought or even wished to know God.” When Guggisberg asked his friend how one could know God, the latter replied: “Some of us believe that Jesus of Nazareth knew more of God than any other man, so we put aside some time each morning to study his thought of God, and to let his Father speak to us, which he will do if Jesus told the truth about him.” Guggisberg replied, “D**m it! I’ll try. It’s worth it if it’s true.” Six months later he became a Christian, and in his final years he gave his life serving the Africans, whom he had grown to love. He died a pauper because he had given his all to help his people.

I have long since arrived at the point in my life where I feel that I have reached the top of my career. I have largely attained the goals I set for myself academically. Forgive me if I sound egocentric, but I am sharing the honest truth. At the same time, I have come to the point of accepting responsibility for my failures and mistakes in life. Quite literally, I have set out to write a new chapter in my life. I have discovered just how great a debtor to my gracious God I am. Jesus, I’ve discovered, is worth it. If we dare to follow Him, the road will be a rugged one. But if we put the emphasis in our life in the proper place, He will never disappoint us.

The Gospels insist repeatedly that if, like General Guggisberg, we are willing to know the truth, the Truth will not be far from us. However, we can no longer treat life like a hobby. We must put trifles in their place. And we must realize that our purpose in life is not to serve king or country but the King whose rule is over all. Now and then a man like Guggisberg or Schweitzer emerges to show us the way, men whose lives are shot through with a sense of meaning, of connectedness to the will of God and the love of Jesus.

Will we follow their example?

Dear Father,

You are forever trying to catch our eyes to lure us beyond our littleness to your greatness, beyond our selfishness to your generosity, beyond our fears to your peace. Oh help us to unwrap our gifts and use them for the kingdom’s sake!

I pray this in the name of the Lord, Jesus Christ. Amen.

May 8, 2009

David Alan Black is the editor of

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