Romansby David Cook
In the late 18th century, while reading his Greek New Testament, English politician William Wilberforce became a believer. He then read Philip Doddridge’s book, The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul, and determined that he should retire as a politician in order to be more directly involved in ministry.
Wilberforce’s friends, like cleric John Newton, encouraged him to stay on in the House of Commons and to serve the gospel there. He did so and was instrumental in bringing about the abolition of the slave trade in 1807.
Like the Earl of Shaftesbury who came after him, Wilberforce was a social reformer who worked to establish education for the poor. In fact, many improvements in the fields of health, education, and social welfare, which we take for granted today, can be attributed to the work of these Christian politicians of 19th-century England. We should pray for more of such gospel-focused people who will seek to serve the gospel’s interests with integrity from within our national, regional, and local governments.
The crucial elements of Wilberforce’s spirituality were daily self-examination, prayer, morning and evening devotions, an expectancy of heaven, and a recognition of the importance of solitude.
I raise these godly disciplines here because, if we are to cope and be fruitful as God-honouring believers in all the circumstances of our busy lives, then we must guard time to think, to renew the mind, and for solitude to reflect on what the gospel says about God and grace, and about ourselves as living sacrifices.
Without such solitude, reflection, and renewal, which were so vital to Wilberforce and others, there will not be transformed living and we will be sucked along by the proud, apathetic, cursing, vengeful, and cynical world.
How important to you is taking time to think and reflect?
How can you be more regular in spending time on quiet reflection?