The World-Changing Shoemaker

William Carey was a typical eighteenth century Englishman: he had a
wife, a few children, a small shoemaking business, and what most people
would have said was a predictable future.

But William had one thing that few others in his era shared. He had a
desire to proclaim the gospel to nations that had never heard of Jesus
Christ. Specifically, he felt God wanted him to begin a mission in
faraway India.

His friends cautioned him against it. Church leaders told him that it was a foolish risk. His wife threatened to leave him if he was to embark on such a journey. But William Carey was determined to follow the Lord, no matter what personal sacrifice might be involved. His wife finally agreed to go with him, and a long and hard voyage on the seas followed. Upon arrival, they realized that they would have to enter India secretly . . . mission activity was strictly forbidden. All of their money was lost shortly after the voyage, and worse, they found that no one was interested in listening to the Christian message.

Soon, Mrs. Carey began to hate her husband for his ‘foolish' devotion, and turned against him, even trying to murder him. She literally went mad after their youngest son was killed by a tropical disease. William lived daily with her threats and screams from then on. He worked long hours, endured a harsh climate, spent years learning difficult languages, and found stiff resistance wherever he turned. There was nowhere to go for personal refreshment . . . like a lone candle in a midnight thunderstorm, William Carey had to shine the light on his own, against virtually impossible odds.

But he never quit. And finally, after years of labor, the message of the Gospel broke through to the people. In his lifetime, he translated the Bible into six languages and the New Testament into over twenty.

His commitment not only brought Christ to the Indian subcontinent, but it also inspired a missionary movement that would last for at least two centuries . . . for it is he, William Carey, that we call the “Father of Modern Missions.”

This simple shoemaker lived by a simple creed, “Attempt great things for God. Expect great things from God.”

And the world was forever changed.  How many thousands of Christians today owe their spiritual heritage to this humble man?

Meditation: 2 Corinthians 5:14-20

Challenge: Have you ever attempted a great thing for God? Do you expect God to use your life to change the world? Are you willing to do whatever, go wherever, and live however is necessary to fulfill God's purpose for your life?


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