I’ve referred recently in two different settings to the founder of modern missions, and in particular the Baptist Missionary Society, William Carey who lived between 1761 and 1834. His most famous quotation, based on Isaiah 54v2,3 is “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God”.
Carey was determined to take the Gospel to India and arrived there in 1793. Shortly afterwards one of his sons died of dysentery and his wife had a nervous breakdown from which she never recovered. He was rejected and ostracised by the British in Calcutta and for 7 years he failed to see a single Indian conversion. Moravian missionaries who preceded him had given up and returned home after 15 years of similar fruitlessness. However, when the first conversion happened, the spiritual floodgates opened and by the time Carey died 34 years later there were over half a million Indian believers in the region.
Carey once stated “If anyone should think it worth his while to write my life, if he give me credit for being a plodder he will describe me justly. I can plod. I can persevere in any definite pursuit. To this I owe everything.”
Persevering – keeping on keeping on – is a great Christian virtue. Often it may feel like that being a Christian is a matter of just plodding on. But there is a great promise attached to such perseverance: “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up” (Galatians 6v9). As Churchill famously once said “Never give in. Never give in. Never, never, never.”
Peace and Grace