Time for God: June 8

Written by Paul Beckingham

Focus: Genesis 4:10: And He said, “What have you done?”
Gifts and abilities come with real accountability. Eventually, someone will ask, “What have you done …with what God gave you?” Some, like William Carey, can say, “I gave my all for Jesus.”

From unlikely beginnings to his overachieving end, Carey a rural Englishman, described himself as God’s plodder. Born in 1761, he lacked any formal education. Raised in the sleepy village of Paulerpury, he apprenticed as a cobbler. He plied his trade making military boots. A nominal Anglican, he was converted there in the workshop. He followed his Lord wholeheartedly. He began by borrowing a grammar to teach himself New Testament Greek while working.

Carey knew grief and loss. He married Dorothy Plackett, fell into poverty, and their first child died, aged 2. He pursued his self-taught studies, adding Hebrew and Latin to his conquests. He exercised his ministry as a local preacher with the Particular Baptists while expanding his research into world faiths, other cultures, and international affairs. "I can plod," he wrote later, "I can persevere to any definite pursuit." One such pursuit was to take the Gospel to India.

To get there, Carey overcame fierce institutional resistance from his denomination. He argued that Jesus’ Great Commission applied to all Christians of all times. To stay in India, he endured malaria, the loss of two wives and his children. His third wife survived, financially supporting his work. What did he achieve? What didn’t he? He formed a missionary society, a theological college, a printing press, a newspaper, translations of Scripture portions into 29 local languages, established the written form of the Bengali language, wrote grammars for seven languages, distributed educational texts to schools, was instrumental in bringing to an end infanticide and the custom of suttee where Hindu widows died by burning themselves on their husbands’ funeral pyres.

There is more besides. Many books illustrate the sheer scope, and strength of Carey’s multiple achievements. Today, Carey’s legacy of faith-in-action remains. God’s man did what he declared, “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God!” Plodding for God wins in the end.

What have you delayed doing that God is prompting you to begin? How can you express God’s gifts in you today? How can you encourage others to plod, persevere, and produce godly fruit? What is God stirring within you as you move forward in your journey of faith?

Father, move me into acts of faith by Your Spirit’s power and for the glory of Your Son. Amen.
God be in my head,/ And in my understanding;/ God be in mine eyes, /And in my looking;/ God be in my mouth, /And in my speaking;/ God be in my heart,/ And in my thinking;/ God be at mine end,/ And at my departing. – Sir Henry Walford Davies (1869–1941)
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