In the 1700s John Wesley realized something frightening about Christians I’ve only just learned about myself in the last few years.
In a sermon titled “The Inefficacy of Chrisianity” Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, cried out:
“I am distressed! I know not what to do! …true, scriptural Christianity has a tendency, in the process of time, to undermine and destroy itself.”
His followers were mostly from lower economic classes. But once they became Christians, the Spirit of God, “in the process of time”, changed them so thoroughly that they became more reliable, disciplined, considerate, conscientious and, as a result, became more prosperous, were entrusted with more responsibility, influence and even wealth. Their prosperity, according to Wesley, then resulted in many of these Christians eventually becoming more selfish, indulgent and lacking in self-denial. They stopped practicing the spiritual disciplines God had used so effectively to transform their hearts and minds. They stopped maturing and even immatured.
Prosperity will, Wesley said, “naturally beget pride, love of the world, and every temper that is destructive of Christianity.”
Wesley, despite all his great wisdom, was unable to imagine a Christian being prosperous and not at the same time wholly corrupt. So he forsook admiration and wealth at every opportunity.
God has changed me dramatically over the last five years. He’s hurt me, disciplined me, and lovingly shaped me into something more closely resembling Jesus. I sure haven’t arrived. Not even close. And I never will. The process continues until the grave but…
Now I’m being rewarded for the good work God’s done in me. I’m being offered the opportunity to enlarge my speaking/communicating platform…if I want that. Do I want that?
Like Wesley, I wonder if it is possible for me to serve from a larger platform and continue to mature. Would I be corrupted? Would prosperity of this kind “naturally beget pride, love of the world, and every temper that is destructive of Christianity?”
Unlike Wesley I can imagine a prosperous Christian believing and living like Christ. I know people who prove it’s possible. But am I one of those people yet?
And I certainly don’t believe God needs a large platform to do big things either.
So I’m praying this through. Pray with me.
Apart from Christ I can do nothing. I certainly can’t prove John Wesley wrong.