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Missions in History – Lessons from William Carey By Sis Oluwaseun Ogundare

Throughout history, we see stories of men used by God. Men who gave their all for the course of the gospel. Beginning with our Lord Jesus Christ himself, the author and finisher of our faith, to the early disciples and apostles; faithful men like Peter, apostle Paul, John the beloved, revivalists like Kathryn Kulman and missionaries like William Carey. 

William Carey is an English missionary born 17, August 1761. He is know as the ‘Father of modern missions’ because he was instrumental in the ignition of passion for missions in the European church in the 18th and 19th Century. 

When I read the account of the life lived by him, I can’t help but say a small prayer: Lord, ignite a passion in me, set my heart ablaze for you, do something with me! His life tells a story of a man totally sold out to the Father, just like our Lord Jesus. No reservations. A man whose very heart desire was to see God’s kingdom come on earth. As I read an account of his story, it seemed to me that it was either he was living for Jesus or he was not living at all! His life tells a story of how God can store up seemingly simple people and use them to wreck havoc to the Kingdom of darkness. 

Was he perfect?  No, however discussed in the paragraphs below are 3 things we can learn from his story. 

 1. God uses ordinary people-

Humble, very humble is what I’ll describe his background as. William Carey’s parents were low class weavers. He had very little formal education, he didn’t belong to the elite in the society. Infact he was trained to be a cobbler. But…you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called but God uses the foolish things of this world to confound the wise  ( 1 Corinthians 1:26-27). He equips and prepares those he calls irrespective of what the story may be. Sometimes it’s not even about social status, it’s how we view ourselves. I’m not a pastor, I’m not that gifted, I can’t… What’s your excuse. Not by power, not by might says the Lord (Zech 4:6). There is no limit to what God can do with a yielded vessel. 

2. God’s calling does not come without challenges

To be honest, as I read through the story of William Carey, there were times I was like ‘wait first’, why? Hmmm? Once again why? Then I remembered that even Apostle Paul was imprisoned at some point. The question in all of this is will God be faithful? Will he keep to his word and glorify himself and the answer is YES. The exploits he and his team did in India was massive!!! 

3. It will cost you

Oh yes, it will. William Carey spent about 41years in India. He never went back to England. In fact he was buried in India. There were times he and his family had to travel for weeks, on water to reach their destination. There were times he had to move his family for the sake of the gospel. It will cost you your comfort, you will have to learn. Learn languages if needed, a new culture, a new environment. You will have to learn obedience and surrender. It is hard work (2 Timothy 2:1)

4. It is profitable

Whether in this life or when we meet with our Lord Jesus face to face, the evidence is clear, it pays to serve Jesus. God through William Carey wrought many wonderful things in India. Many came to the Knowledge of Jesus, the bible was translated into different Indian dialects, terrible practices like child sacrifice and burning of widows were abolished, schools were established (Serampore college is still in existence), other Christian groups started sending out missionaries as well. Brethren, It is profitable to say yes. 

Let me end with these two phrases, one is from a song by a well known gospel artist in Nigeria, Minister Dunsin Oyekan. It says

‘There are realms of glory for my world to see…dimensions found only in Jesus Christ the Lord’

The second one is by William Carey himself, it says

‘Expect great things from God…attempt great things for God’

Written by Sis Oluwaseun Ogundare (Team Watchmen)

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