Those who have read Andrew Murray’s books have long been waiting for a proper biography that would focus on his first years as a pastor and show how a young man of 21 became the preacher we all admire today and whose books are still guiding people on God’s path. ‘Andrew Murray: Destined to Serve’ by Olea Nel is a compelling book, brilliantly written and well researched. It presents the first year of Andrew Murray’s career as a pastor and preacher, between 1848 and 1850, showing the difficulties he had to deal with and how he struggled with his own insecurities and doubts regarding his calling. Serving a congregation of over 20.000 souls in South Africa is not an easy task, and the young pastor had to overcome his own limits in order to fulfill his holy mission.
Andrew Murray is one of the most interesting figures in Christian history and literature. He was a South African writer, teacher, and Christian pastor, and he was one of the founders of the South African General Mission in 1889. But, it took him years of practice, preaching, and building the Church in a community that truly needed his guidance and support to become the scholar and man of God we all know and admire today. His Christian writings are widely read. They inspire and motivate people to become better, wiser, and more faithful. What author Olea Nel did in her book, ‘Andrew Murray: Destined to Serve’, was to depict exactly that period of his life that meant the most to his formation.
The novel starts with Murray’s reunion with his family after having spent several years in Europe studying theology. He is then appointed as pastor to the Dutch emigrants beyond the borders of the Cape, and thus begins his journey of self-discovery and improvement in the art of preaching. The path he has chosen is difficult and challenging, but he is determined to overcome all obstacles no matter how stressful and exhausting his mission is. One of the first difficulties he has to face is the fact that his frenetic preaching tours leave him little time to spend with God. He is afraid that he is not the right person to take care of the congregation, and he has moments when he is tempted by the idea that he should give up. However, his faith gives him strength, as well as the support of the people who he is preaching to.
To help readers better understand and envision the historical period Andrew Murray lived in, Olea Nel has also included maps, photos, and a glossary at the end of the book. It’s always exciting to see pictures of the people and places mentioned in the story, and in this case it is even more helpful because these documents contribute a lot to the creation of the atmosphere and general feel of South Africa in the mid-19th century.
‘Andrew Murray: Destined to Serve’ is free on Amazon Kindle from October 29 to October 30, so make sure you download a copy to get the chance to learn more about this incredible scholar and pastor.