December 5, 2010
William Carey was born in 1761 to a simple family in Paulerspury, England. His father was a weaver, and when Carey was 14, he became an apprentice of a shoemaker.
In his 20s, he transitioned from shoemaking to being the local schoolmaster, and soon after, he became the pastor of a local Baptist church. He lived in a simple cottage with a thatch (or grass) roof, but he taught himself Greek, Hebrew, Italian, Dutch, and French.
As he read about the adventures of Captain Cook (one of the first great English explorers), he felt a growing passion for world missions. He realized that there are whole lands, whole nations out there who have never heard about Jesus and God’s amazing grace. One day, he heard the missionary calling in the quiet of his workshop, and he answered with tears in the words of Isaiah, “Here am I; send me.” (See Isaiah 6:8.)
However, his fellow Christians and even his fellow pastors were not all that supportive. In one pastors meeting in 1786, Carey raised a challenging question. He asked if Jesus’ command to “go and make disciples of all nations” still applies to us today. (See Matthew 28:19.) One Dr. Ryland snarked back: "Young man, sit down: when God pleases to covert the heathen, He will do it without your aid or mine."
We don’t know if Carey sat down in that meeting, but Carey did not give up. In 1792, he wrote a book about the history of Christian missions, the current state of the world, and a basic plan for establishing a missionary sending organization. Later that year, when the Baptist Missionary Society was formed, Carey was so poor that he could only promise that he would give the profits from his book.
In the same year, Carey preached a sermon that sparked the modern missionary movement. Throughout the sermon, he repeated one line again and again: “Expect great things from God; attempt great things for God.”
In 1793, Carey and his family left for India. However, they didn’t get very far. The British government stopped their boat because they feared the missionary activities would endanger the trade interests of the British East India Company. A few months later, they found a Dutch ship willing to carry them to India.
Carey was a God Gambler. ...
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