Sunday, February 25, 2007

Amazing Grace

I went to see the new movie this weekend called “Amazing Grace.” I would highly recommend it to everyone. The movie tells the story of William Wilberforce, an Englishman, who fought with the authorities for all of his adult life, trying to halt the slave trade in Britain. He was a remarkable man and his story is one that will both inspire and challenge those who go to see it. At the end of the movie, people applauded.

Wilberforce faced many years of derision from his own peers and he was treated as a religious fanatic who was meddling with the political system. He experienced a lot of hostility and humiliation, but he endured it because he knew that slavery was wrong and that his generation would be held accountable to God for this monstrous act of degradation against African people.

Just before he died, after decades of campaigning, Wilberforce won his battle. The slave trade was ended in Britain and slaves were emancipated throughout the British Empire, which at that time covered most of the globe. His success spurred on the hopes of another group of people across the Atlantic called Abolitionists, who would fight their own battles which ultimately led to Civil War in the United States.

Every generation has their own battles to fight against those things that lead us away from God. In Wilberforce’s time, it was the slave trade. A generation later, it was about the exploitation of children. A hundred years later, it was the Civil Rights movement.

In our generation, the biggest battle for the community of faith is how to remain effective and relevant, challenging and prophetic without being sucked in by our post-modern culture. Sadly, we spend more time watching our favorite shows than worshipping God. We spend more money on pampering ourselves than we do supporting God’s work. And we waste more of our lives, energy, and strength on things that will eventually decay and die than we do on the eternal blessings of God.

We are slaves to our own success and we don’t want to be liberated. Perhaps God’s judgment upon our generation is that we will get what we want now and pay for it later – the trouble is this: will that ‘later’ be too late to rescue our souls?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, save us from ourselves. Open our eyes to our spiritual blindness and make us see how fruitless our faith has become. Confront our choices and challenge our ways, so that our souls may still be won for Your kingdom. Keep us from chaining ourselves to the slavery of sophistication and success, ambition and greed. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

John writes the Heaven's Highway daily devotional blog; the weekly religious news blog Stushie's Stuff, and the Sunday Worship prayer website "Aaron's Beard."

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