1 Corinthians 7:20 Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.
I Corinthians 7:24 Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
It was the year 1787. The place was St Mary’s church, Lombard Street, London. Two men met in the somber recesses of the sanctuary, to discuss a pressing issue. William Wilberforce bowed his head politely as he met with his elder and spiritually wiser friend, John Newton. Detecting the man’s unhappiness, Newton encouraged the young MP to divulge the concerns of his heart. Wilberforce, feeling safe in Newton’s presence, lamented over his situation. He was wealthy. He was privileged. He was popular. He lacked for nothing, except one thing. The most needed thing. He was ready to leave parliament and pursue a living faith in Jesus Christ. This was all he desired, and he would give up everything, friends, family, fortune and a career in Parliament to follow the Savior. He would even become a monk! He needed direction and waited for discernment from Newton, his friend and wise sage.
Newton studied the young man, feeling his pain. He too had been there, wanting to follow the Lord, but not knowing what was right. With gentleness and with grace he said,
“I don’t think you should give up anything. Neither your friends, nor your position, nor your convictions. Hold on to them all. There is room in Parliament for men like you. Stay there – and see where God will take you. You, Mr. Wilberforce, have been called by God as His messenger. As a servant of the Lord Jesus, I hope you will lead the great campaign to bring slave trading to an end.”
And with the help of God, that is exactly what William Wilberforce did.
Esther 4:14 And who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?
Wilberforce, like our heroine in the Old Testament, Esther, was called to a position for such a time as this. A time of upheaval that required one who would trust God and act with justice and boldness, so that God’s desires would come to pass. In obedience and resignation to the task ahead, despite the uncertainty and a deep sense of fear, both Wilberforce and Esther acknowledged that this was their God-appointed time to do what is required of them to bring freedom to God’s people.
God calls each of us, whether we be stalwart historical figures or not, to a place to serve. Our dissatisfaction and complaint can be detrimental spiritually, and it reflects our lack of confidence in God. We may balk at what we have to do, we may fidget and fuss, looking for a way out, but as Paul says, (and John Newton said the same to Wilberforce), stay where you are. God alone knows what good we may be able to accomplish through Him for the well-being of others.
2 Corinthians 12:9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.
When we are weak and unsure in the place God has called us to serve, then in His goodness, He will make us strong and able. Rather than look at ourselves and our shortcomings in the place God has appointed us, let us look Heavenward, trusting in our Father’s good and bountiful provision. Yes, we are weak, but with a resounding yes and yes again He is strong! Until God calls us otherwise, let’s stay true to what He has asked us to do, looking to Him who can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we can ask or think according to His power at work in us. (Ephesians 3:20-21).
‘Heavenly Father, You are my all sufficiency. Guide me in my vocation. Be my strength to stand, my arm to support, my light to see, my feet to run, my shield to protect and my sword to repel. Give me courage to stay where You have placed me and to serve with love and a faithful heart. Thank You for Your continual graces that enable me to serve with contentment and joy. In Jesus Name, Amen.’