Friday

What Could He Have Done That He Didn't?

Francis Asbury, Methodism, Circuit Riders, Christianity, American colonies
"The weather is so bad today that nothing's out but crows and Methodist preachers." 
popular colonial saying 

Early American Methodist circuit riders were known for their persistence to spread the Gospel, and Francis Asbury (1745-1816) set the standard. 

He rode through dangerous Revolutionary War zones, unfriendly Indian territory, and remote wilderness. Insults, hard circumstances, malaria and exhaustion couldn't keep him down. At times he was so sick that he strapped himself to his horse so he wouldn't fall off. 

His passion was to share the Gospel, and he became a legend in his own time. 

When he died at age 71, his eulogist said, "What could he do that he did not do? For he...wore out his life for the good of man and for the glory of God." 

Sometimes we read about such saints and feel defeated because they set the standard so high. Instead, we should ask "What one thing can I do today that I did not do yesterday for the sake of Christ?" 

Francis Asbury was inspiring in so many ways that I could not fit them into a 1-minute devotion, but I want to mention this one point for which I especially admire him. He spoke against slavery 100 years before the Civil War. He talked to George Washington about taking a stand against slavery. Washington didn't do it, but Washington freed his slaves on his death, and I wonder if Asbury inspired him to do this. Asbury took black pastors on his circuit rides at times. And when white Methodists treated black Methodists poorly, he took the side of his black brothers and sisters.

Resource: Francis Asbury, Circuit Rider, by Janet and Geoff Benge

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