Friday, April 4, 2008

Getting God...

I love to read, but I read really, really, really slow. Sometimes I feel as though I can write a whole lot quicker than I read. I don't think it's because the cogs in my brain turn at a lousy rate. It's simply that I like to read every word so that I can take in what the writer is saying, and have ample food for thought to digest later. Well, this morning I'm digesting heavily on something I read in the book 'Amazing Grace' last night.

'Amazing Grace' is the story of an Englishman named William Wilberforce. It was turned into a major motion picture and was released in February 2007 (I need to go to Walmart and buy it). If you haven't heard of Wilberforce, you have really missed out on a remarkable person and man of God. He was the one single person on earth that God used to take a stand against the slave trade and lead a campaign against it. But what makes it interesting is that he completely changed the minds of everyone for a practice that had been around since earliest of times. Up until his time (late 1700's), slavery was just something that happened and slaves were no more important that any other piece of property one could own. It was actually viewed as vital to the economy of not only England, which was the greatest colonial power in the world, but also to every nation on the planet

Wilberforce realized that slavery was quite simply put, wrong. And, he devoted his entire life to making everyone else realize it too. He took a stand for what was the right thing to do and eventually he fought his way through the toughest of MP's (Members of Parliament) to see that slavery and the trade of slaves be outlawed throughout the British empire. This is one of, if not, most monumental changes that has taken place in the last 400 years.

As you can imagine the tentacles of slavery caused the fallout to be enormous. Slave trade was outlawed in the Empire, so all countries (including our own) found it tougher to get slaves. And, it wasn't until our nation's Civil War that slavery was once and for all put to bed under the leadership of Abe Lincoln. Actually, Abe Lincoln considered Wilberforce one of his idols.

The thing that jumps out at me is that Wilberforce didn't go on his crusade against slavery until after his conversion. Like many of us, he had a Christian upbringing, went to church, played the part, and he was a good person... but not born again. It was not until he spent a few months in the summer of 1785, riding across Europe in a stage coach with the great theologian Isaac Milner that he "Got It". Here's the line I read last night that gives a peek into what he "Got":

"What madness is the course I am pursuing. I believe all the great truths of the Christian religion, but I am not acting as though I did. Should I die in this state I must go into a place of misery... Yet I may become religious. Has God not promised His Holy Spirit on them that ask Him?"

Obviously, he was under conviction that made him realize where he stood with God. And with the help of a great man of God like Milner, who never rammed Christianity down his throat, only discussed it, Wilberforce was changed. He went on to work out his salvation and make a complete 180 degree turn and start living for God rather than of his own desires. This was his Damascus Road conversion and also the day he took the job that God had written on his heart when He created him. On that day, he realized that all men are created equal and that slavery must be abolished. He worked tirelessly and had set back after set back but finally, he saw the vision God had cast before him come to fruition 1807 with the passage of the Slave Trade Act.

So, let me ask you this: Do you "Get God"? If anything, most of us simply go through the motions without asking God what He wants us to do, and do what we desire instead. William Wilberforce listened and allowed himself to be used and he changed the world.

Are you getting what He's telling you?

Or are you just spinning your wheels?

Are you a good person playing the part?

I'm listening God, speak...

3 comments:

Andy said...

You absolutely need to see this film. Brilliant film.

I'm becoming more and more convinced, too, that we just think too small when it comes to our faith - the notion of outlawing the slave trade was clearly a "crazy" notion back then, but Wilberforce had a vision that it could be done, and it was.

If only I could have a vision to change the world as big as he did...

Hook said...

great post bro. thank you for the challenging question. i want to answer honestly....

R.L.Scovens said...

I enjoyed your post! Powerful question. It makes you think. My last post was kind of on the same topic. We as Christians need to get real about our relationship with Christ.