If Udre Udre ate one more person, he would become a god — or so he thought. When the paramount, Fijian tribal chief sat down to dinner, he didn’t eat gingerbread men but actual human beings. 999 of them, to be exact. Yet for all of the atrocities this prolific cannibal committed, he is in Heaven today because the one, true God sent a missionary to his island in 1838. Missionary John Hunt won Udre Udre to Christ, and his days of cannibalism were over. 50 years after Hunt’s death, the entire island nation of Fiji had all but renounced its former pagan religion.
Charles Darwin once said, “A man about to be shipwrecked on some unknown coast will devoutly pray that the lesson of the missionary will have reached that far.” Whether he wanted to admit it or not, Darwin was attesting to the power of the Word of God in bringing transformation and civilization to barbaric peoples. This is exactly what happened in the Fijian Islands. The story is nothing less than a testament to the power of the gospel and the grace of God.
If grace can reach out to a cannibal such as Udre Udre and transform him from a cruel, heartless savage into a devout follower of Christ, then it can work for you and me. It can free us from our prejudices and cause us to treat all people as equals. It can lift us from the gutter of despair and carry us into the palace of joy. It can perfect God’s strength in our weakness. It can loosen the chains of crippling addictions and besetting sins so we can run the race set before us unhindered. It can replace our resentment with love and forgiveness. It can provide peace in turbulent trials. Grace is amazing.
Whatever your need may be on this day, grace is sufficient. Once you experience it for yourself, you will want to share it with others. Ask the Lord to make your life a conduit of His grace. Then get ready: He may use you in ways you never thought possible.
Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.