“Expect great things from God, attempt great things for God.”
Fifteen years before the United States of America officially became its own independent nation, one of the world’s greatest missionaries was born. In a small cottage in Paulerspury, England, William Carey was born on August 17, 1761. The oldest child in his family, William enjoyed learning and loved reading. He especially enjoyed reading about “explorers” – so much so that his friends nicknamed him “Columbus” when he was young.
Carey spent his teen years apprenticed to a shoemaker. He grew up to become a shoemaker and…so much more! He would often look over at the globe he had made of shoe-leather, and he would begin to weep. Why? It was such a painful reminder that people all over the world were dying and going to hell. Carey had read in Andrew Fuller’s book this line: "If it is the duty of all men to believe whenever the Gospel is presented to them, it must be the duty of all who have received the Gospel to endeavor to make it universally known." He felt that responsibility to share the Gospel with everyone for the glory of God.
Because missionaries were virtually unheard of during his lifetime, Carey faced many challenges when he decided to go to the mission field. Other preachers and even some of his respected friends argued with him, saying short-sighted things like, “If God wants people to get saved, He’ll save them without your help! Give it up!”
Carey disagreed, believing and obeying instead the Great Commission: “Go ye therefore, and teach [make disciples from] all nations.” He declared that we ought to “expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”
His dogged commitment to reach all people groups with the Gospel, and to do so in an efficient and God-glorifying way, led to the beginnings of the modern missions movement. Today, missionaries are free to travel all over the world to share the Gospel because of this “Father of Modern Missions.”
William Carey dared to do the impossible and led many to Christ as a result. He spent 40 years as a missionary in India. They were years full of difficult, heartbreaking trials and setbacks! It was six years before Carey saw someone convert to Christianity. There were deaths in his family, a fire that destroyed their mission facilities along with months and months of translation work, and many more apparent tragedies and obstacles that looked impossible to overcome. But God had sovereignly appointed Carey’s mission there, and God sustained him and brought glory to Himself through Carey’s work.
The “father of modern missions” has been quoted as saying, “The future is as bright as the promises of God.” Do you imagine you know what will make your future “bright”? God promises never to leave you, for example (Hebrews 13:5)! And God promises always to love you! (Romans 8:39). Can you press on in the way God has laid out for you, in spite of what friends and family might say to try to discourage you? Can you trust Him to hold you and keep you for His glory, even when things around you are falling apart?
Mark 16:15 – And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.”