It was early winter, sometime in the late 20th century (1990’s, people). I stood on the battle field surveying my conquest of evil hordes, my sword and shield in hand. The enemy had come to take freedom, but I had stood in the gap, crushing their hopes of victory.
I was a young boy growing up in Wisconsin, standing victorious over a battle of my own imagination. But make no mistake, it was real in my heart. I was a young warrior in the making who had yet to learn just how frequently I would be called to action as I served the highest of kings: Jesus.
Men, I want to talk to you today. So, if you’re reading this, go grab a cup of coffee and let’s have a chat. You and me. Man to man. I want to tell you the story of a real life hero, a man that some of you may have heard of: William Wilberforce.
William was born to a wealthy family in 18th century England. He was an individual with little political ambition, but had a heart bent on social reform. By all accounts, he was just an ordinary guy. While he studied at St. John’s College he was known as a great friend, but not a great student. Any of you relate? Maybe you are a top-notch friend–you love people and are the life of the party–but you feel like you have no real giftings or skills of your own.
Maybe you are a top-notch friend–you love people and are the life of the party–but you feel like you have no real giftings or skills of your own.
William entered the House of Commons in 1780 and immediately began working toward reform, but it was his conversion to Christianity around 1784/1785 that led to the issue that truly marked his life: the abolition of the slave trade. During this time, the slave trade was a thriving economy that some said could not arguably be eliminated because of its positive impact on England’s economy. It would be like abolishing the use of present day oil in America; the demand was high. Except Wilberforce wasn’t dealing with oil, he was dealing with human lives.
Starting in 1789, he battled illness and personal attacks from colleagues as he pushed for the end of the slave trade. In 1807, some 18 years after the beginning of his battle, he finally won a victory that ended the slave trade in the British Empire. There was one thing that the bill did not allow, though, and that was the emancipation of those already enslaved.
Poor health caused his retirement from Parliament in 1825, but three days before he died in 1833, he heard the news he had worked so hard for: the end of the slavery with the Slavery Abolition Act on July 26. It had taken 18 years for a victory, and 44 years from start to finish to win this war.
It had taken 18 years for a victory, and 44 years from start to finish to win this war.
Why am I sharing all of this with you? Because history is full of great men (and women) who have taken on the challenges of their time, persevered, and changed the world.
Men, God is looking for those who are willing to leave comfort behind for a life of sacrifice and service to change the world. Think right now about who your heroes are. A hero inspires us and pushes us to live out an authentic and meaningful life. So the challenge for you, men, is this: when are you going to get off the treadmill of life that our culture feeds us and set out on the ancient and worn path that so many men before have journeyed?
when are you going to get off the treadmill of life that our culture feeds us and set out on the ancient and worn path that so many men before have journeyed?
I am no historian, but one thing I know as fact is that ordinary men are soon forgotten, but extraordinary men who live above the status quo of their day are long remembered. For me, I could care less if I am remembered, unless that memory is a courageous and sacrificial life lived to my king, Jesus Christ.
You are not ordinary. You are not meaningless. You are not just another face roaming this earth. You are created in the image of God, and God does not create without purposeful intent. You are a man, so be bold and fearless and full of faith today.
We’re looking for a few good men to change the world with us through the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Be bold and pray right now about joining us for a DTS. Find out more here!