Not all missionaries look the same. Timothy came from an interfaith home. Paul didn’t. God pulled Jonah into missions by using a whale. God pulled Paul into missions by using blindness. Isaiah ministered for decades. John the Baptist preached for only a few years.
The Father of Modern Missions certainly didn’t look like your typical missionary prospect. Before William Carey started the Baptist mission society and before he wrote his classic work An Enquiry, he had a number of unconventional characteristics. Here are nine.
- Unusual looks: Carey went bald at age 22 due to a severe fever. He was 5’4″ at adulthood.
- Unusual wife: Carey’s wife could not sign her own name on the day of their wedding. She only learned how to do this later.
- Unusual brilliance: At age 12, Carey memorized a 60-page Latin book, a harbinger to his later linguistic brilliance. He taught himself Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Italian, French and Dutch.
- Unusual baptism: Carey came to Baptist convictions after hearing a paedobaptist sermon. Carey’s Baptist church allowed people to be members before they were baptized.
- Unusual obscurity: Carey did not come from an upperclass home or from clerical stock. When he was baptized at age 23, only a few attended.
- Unusual denomination: Many Baptists in Carey’s day were hyper-Calvinists, stressing God’s sovereignty such that it eliminated man’s responsibility.
- Unusual convictions: Carey stopped using sugar to protest the slave trade. He also chose to be a Baptist even though only Anglicans could be masters in government schools, officers in the army and graduates from the university.
- Unusual hobby: Carey loved globes, maps and world population statistics. He hung globes in his home and made his own maps. He referred to them as his second Bible.
- Unusual pastorate: The country church he applied to rejected him as a pastor after his first time preaching there. When he did eventually become the pastor, the church attendance went down.
Conclusion: God calls faithful servants that are dedicated to him. He doesn’t summon cookie-cutter Christians. The goal is not to look like everyone else. The goal is to look like Christ. If God has called you into missions, then accept and thank Him for the unique way He has made you. Then use your gifts for His glory.
This reminds me of an ACSI speech meet selection that speaks to the unsuitable character of the apostle Paul becoming a minister. It further reinforces the message that it is not one’s abilities but our availability to the work of our Lord. Elaine