Fireside: A Cobbled-Up Dream

Enlarge the place of thy tent, and let them stretch forth the curtains of thine habitations: spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy stakes; For thou shalt break forth on the right hand and on the left; and thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and make the desolate cities to be inhabited.

Isaiah 54:2-3

He was short in stature and usually dressed poorly. His hands were rarely clean, and he wore a wig; because by his early 20’s he was bald. He was a shoemaker’s apprentice, until his master died suddenly, leaving him in charge of the business– and his widow and her four children. He worked a second job teaching in the evenings to make ends meet, but this proved not enough, because he also had to take care of his widowed sister-in-law and her four children as well. 

He brought home a contagious fever and his daughter caught it and died when he was only 24. He was troubled with that fever in his eyes for over a year. He lost his side teaching job to ‘a better received and more highly esteemed schoolmaster’. He worked twice as hard at his shoe-making, often taking his work home with him to make ends meet. 

A Mid-life Crisis

Though he felt called of God to preach, he was rejected as a minister due to lack of skill. He preached wherever he was accepted. A small church hired him for a salary of $75 a year, since he was not a recognized minister. 

Shortly after he took the pastorate, smallpox ripped through the small flock. Many died, and they were not able to pay him at all. He and his family went without food for days at a time. Still determined that this was God’s will for him, he continued preaching, and his burden for the unreached peoples around the world grew. When he spoke to fellow pastors about telling the heathen of Christ, he received sharp criticism and rejection. 

All of this before he reached the age of 30. 

Does this sound like a failure to you?

What was his name?

His name was William Carey.

When he was 31, he wrote a small pamphlet on the need for world missions titled, “An Enquiry Into The Obligations Of Christians To Use Means For The Conversion Of The Heathens.”

With unquenchable zeal, and a message from Isaiah 54:2-3, William Carey proposed, “ATTEMPT GREAT THINGS FOR GOD, EXPECT GREAT THINGS FROM GOD.”  William Carey persevered through his mid-life crisis and critics. Eventually, he became a missionary to India, and an example for many missionaries to follow. We call him today, “The Father of Modern Missions.”

William Carey didn’t give up on God- and God never gave up on William Carey. William Carey was a failure, but William Carey’s Saviour never fails. Trust in Carey’s God, and never give up!

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