John Wesley (1703–1791)
John Wesley was born into the devout Anglican home of Samuel and Susanna Wesley. Wesley’s father was a priest, and his mother taught religion to John and eighteen siblings.
When Wesley grew up, he attended Oxford, where he proved himself a competent scholar and was soon ordained as an Anglican minister. Later, he would admit that at the time of his ordination, he lacked saving faith. It was not until 1783, when Wesley attended a gathering at which someone read Martin Luther’s preface to the book of Romans, that Wesley said his heart felt “strangely warmed.” It was then that he trusted Christ alone for salvation.
Wesley was invited by fellow preacher George Whitefield to assist in his rapidly growing ministry, and Wesley soon became the new leader of the movement. However, Wesley was at odds with the tenets of Calvinism, particularly the doctrine of predestination. Soon the two preachers went separate ways.
It was not Wesley’s intention to found a new denomination, but as he and others began to meet in private homes and the spiritual fervor at the meetings grew, the Methodist denomination was born. He went on to preach an estimated forty thousand sermons during his ministry. By the time of his death, the Methodist denomination had expanded rapidly, and today there are more than thirty million Methodists across the globe.
Wesley became known for the saying,
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”
That advice is as appropriate today as it was in Wesley’s time.
I put myself wholly into Thy hands: put me to what Thou wilt, rank me with whom Thou wilt; put me to doing, put me to suffering, let me be employed for Thee, or laid aside for Thee, or trodden under foot for Thee; let me be full, let me be empty, let me have all things, let me have nothing, I freely, and heartily resign all to Thy pleasure and disposal. — John Wesley
Excerpted with permission from Dangerous Prayers copyright Thomas Nelson.
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May our hearts be “strangely warmed” as Wesley’s was! May we trust Christ alone for salvation and take that conviction out into the world to do as much good as we can! Come share your thoughts on Wesley on our blog. We want to hear from you! ~ Devotionals Daily