What do you do on Thursday evenings?

[This article was originally featured in our hometown newspaper, The Seymour Tribune under the title “Mother’s Lessons Key in Founding of Church.”  For clarification: This article is for parents and especially mothers, encouraging them to redeem the time wisely and to invest their lives in eternal things.  Its main point is not meant to be about the founding of the Methodist Church, even though that is an important point.]

In the eighteenth-century, Susanna Wesley, a mother of ten, spent Thursday evenings with her son, John. As she did with all her children, she spent time reading the Bible, praying, and introducing John to the gospel of Jesus Christ. What must have seemed at times like a mundane routine would, in time, have global significance and eternal impact.

You see, John Wesley grew to become the fiery evangelist and founder of the Methodist Church. Converted as an adult, Wesley’s heart was “strangely warmed” when the kindling of God’s word, which Susanna had stockpiled into his heart on Thursday nights, was set ablaze by the Holy Spirit. Under God, Susanna’s commitment to planting seeds each week was rewarded with an everlasting orchard.

So what are you doing this Thursday evening? Will you spend your time in something as significant as Susanna Wesley? Or will it just be another evening of work, play, or online chatting?

Considering Susanna’s model makes us think differently about how we spend our time.

First, Susanna was a Christian who made it her business to work with the most valuable (and eternal) commodities in the world—namely God’s Word and the souls of men and women. Second, as a mother, Susanna spent ample time with her children—shaping their character, interpreting life from a Christian worldview, and speaking grace into their lives. Third, she established a weekly pattern to discuss the gospel of Jesus Christ with her children. Not knowing the results of her labors, but praying and persisting, she relentlessly kept Christ in front of her children, believing that God would honor her evangelistic efforts.

The result?

At 35, John Wesley was converted, and from there this evangelist led countless souls to Christ, men and women who will give eternal praise to God for the fact that Susanna Wesley took Thursday nights to meet with her son.

May we consider Susanna’s life and imitate her faithfulness.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

Feeding on the Word

But [Jesus] answered, “It is written,‘Man shall not live on bread alone,
but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Matthew, quoting Jesus, quoting Moses, quoting YHWH
Matthew 4:4; Deuteronomy 8:4

Words, words, words. The world is filled with words. Words inform. Express. Empower. Kill. Make peace. And give life.  Proverbs 18:21 says that ‘death and life are in the power of the tongue’ and Proverbs 15:23 tells us, “To make an apt answer is a joy to a man, and a word in season, how good it is!”  In a word, words matter! Words are immeasurably powerful!  And they matter and hold power, because of their origin and purpose. God is a Speaking God (Jn 1:1-3), and in his image, we were given words to rule the world (Gen. 1:26-28; 2:19).

In fact, God himself rules and redeems through words. God spoke the world into existence (Gen 1:3; Ps 33:6).  Jesus upholds the world by the power of his word (Heb 1:3).  God’s word never fails (Isa 55:10-11); it speaks to the ends of the universe (Ps 19:1-7; Rom 10:18) with absolute perfection (Ps 19:7-11).  And for those made in His image, salvation and sanctification depend on His word (Heb 6:13ff; Jn 17:17) So central are words to God, that it is impossible to know Him without them, and thus he has commanded his church to ‘preach the word’ in season and out, unto the ends of the earth.

The word of God is pleasant and life-giving. But our world, and indeed our own hearts, resist God’s word. As Christians should be able to recall the joy of God’s word in our lives, but we surely we can bear testimony to the parched results of its absence.   

Matthew 12:36 tells us that at the end of our lives, we will give an account for every single word we speak, and what God is listening for in our words is an echo of His word.  So, how do your words measure up?  Do they reflect the grace and truth of the God who gave you the gift of speech?  Or do they reflect the worldliness and futility of the world?  God wants to fill your heart with his Word, and indeed our souls long for this more than we know.  This month, may we be those who feed on God’s word, so that our words are life-giving, because we are filled with the Word of God (Col 3:16-17).

Soli Deo Gloria, dss