‘It’s all about you’ is a myopic view
by Douglas E. Brooks
Are we poised for another Great Awakening? God has a tendency to send such awakenings just when it seems that the church has declined beyond revival. Have we reached that point? Do we have any modern-day missionaries like William Carey?
I am very encouraged by the life of godly men who risked their lives for the sake of the Gospel. I believe that the life of William Carey should a have a very strong impact on our lives. Carey lived what he believed and we can easily see how the Gospel worked in his life. One of Carey’s most famous quotes is, “Expect great things from God, and attempt great things for God.” Carey not only preached this message, he lived it.
As the father of missions, Carey left us much more than an example of how to do missions, he showed us the importance of organizations communing for the sake of the Great Commission. As a pastor committed to the Great Commission, I am very encouraged by Carey’s tenacity. Carey desired the historical record to testify of his perseverance. I believe this was for the very purpose of encouraging other believers. That is one of the essential functions of the church. God in His omniscience did not wish for his people to run this race alone. Therefore, it is healthy to think often about the life of William Carey.
I was inspired to learn of the biography of William Carey. Apprenticed by his father as a shoe maker, Carey was converted and baptized in 1783. In addition to cobbling shoes, Carey taught geography in school and was also the pastor of a Baptist church in Moulton, England. Moreover, Carey sought an understanding of various languages including Hebrew. However, it is not necessarily the biography itself that brought about this personal catharsis as much as the result. The advent of Carey’s calling to missions emerged through the power of the Holy Spirit during his sermon at the associational meeting in Nottingham whereupon while delivering the message, he exclaimed a desire to become a missionary to India.
Despite opposition, Carey found support from Andrew Fuller who rallied reinforcement for Carey that ultimately resulted in the formation of the English Baptist Missionary Society. Albeit this organization’s beginnings were humble in means and capital, the fervor of men such as Carey and Fuller reflects the conjoining of God’s sovereignty and men’s response to His calling in order to bring about His purposes. Hailed as a founding member of the Baptist Missionary Society, William Carey is further renowned for translating the Bible into various Indian dialects.
I find the topic of William Carey’s response to his missionary calling interesting in that this event historically represents a classic case of how God brings about His purposes using ordinary (or perhaps less than ordinary) people. Amidst all of his contributions to the modern mission’s movement, this student would offer that arguably Carey’s greatest contribution is characterized in the words of Gonzalez as he writes: “Many of the missionary societies founded early in the nineteenth century owed their existence to his influence” (Gonzalez, 423). William Carey was not a gifted speaker. He was not even an average speaker. Yet, he responded to the prodding of the Holy Spirit and God’s calling upon his life in order to bring about another representation of the Great Awakening, namely, the awakening to missions. His example inspired many.
It certainly stands to reason that the outgrowth of the Great Awakening would bring about an awakening to the fulfillment of the Great Commission. The entire Bible permeates with the message of God’s desire to reach all people. The thread of this plan extends throughout Biblical record. Passages in both the Old and New Testament speak the message of world evangelism. William Carey represents and icon in this realm with his relentless pursuit of crossing cultural boundaries in order to contextualize the gospel message. Such historical accounts inspire me as a pastor to be ever mindful of God’s calling on my life, always seeking the opportunity to rise up and say, “Here I am Lord, send me.”
How about you?
Biography Base.com/Carey, William. 2004.
Caner, Dr. Ergun. CHHI 694 Notes and Lecture. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University. 2011.
Diemer, Dr. Carl. CHHI 525 Notes and Lecture. Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University. 2011.
Gonzalez, Justo. The Story of Christianity Vol. II. New York: Harper One. 2010.