“God Almighty has set before me two great objects, the suppression of the Slave Trade and the Reformation of Manners.Ã¢â‚¬Â — William Wilberforce
Last night, our family watched the movie Amazing Grace. Good show. I felt the storytellers failed, however, to communicate the duration of the struggle and the power of WilberforceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s endurance.
I did some quick research and discovered that Wilberforce made his first speech in parliament against slavery in 1789. The final bill that abolished slavery in England passed in 1831 (although the tide had already turned by then), three days before his death. ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s 42 years by my count. What incredible tenacity!
We shouldnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be surprised at the ferocity of the battle. After all, the culture considered the slavery of black Africans a divinely ordained right. History validated it. A large part of the economy was based upon it. WhatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s noteworthy is the fight in William Wilberforce.
ThatÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s why I picked the quote above to lead this jot. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Why do you think God put you on the earth, William?Ã¢â‚¬Â Ã¢â‚¬Å“Oh, I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t knowÃ¢â‚¬â€IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m thinking it was to abolish slavery and reform the morals of a nation.Ã¢â‚¬Â Wilberforce had a sense (some might say an inordinate sense) of GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s purpose for his life. He also had an amazing courage to embrace that purpose. Who accepts a burden of that magnitude?
As I mull over his example, IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m wondering what missions God puts before His people that we dismiss outright. Too big! Not my responsibility! Impossible! And IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m not so much thinking about reform on a global scaleÃ¢â‚¬â€although obviously God calls some to undertake it. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m thinking of loving wives and honoring husbands, investing in children and serving GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s people. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m thinking of a habit of listening to God and speaking for Him in my own circles. IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m thinking of simple living and lavish generosity.
IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m wondering what Ã¢â‚¬Å“great objectsÃ¢â‚¬Â God has put before me; and what small objections IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve put before Him.