Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide,
do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.
Who could have imagined that the Lord would use these words from the prophet Isaiah to transform India? On May 31, 1792, Carey preached his sermon that gave rise to the modern missionary movement, a sermon that made history.
‘Lengthen thy cords!’ said the text.
‘Strengthen thy stakes!’ said the text.
‘Expect great things from God!’ said the preacher.
‘Attempt great things for God!’ said the preacher.
‘If all the people had lifted up their voices and wept,’ says Dr. Ryland, ‘as the children of Israel did at Bochim, I should not have wondered at the effect; it would only have seemed proportionate to the cause; so clearly did Mr. Carey prove the criminality of our supineness in the cause of God!’
“But the people did not weep! They did not even wait! They rose to leave as usual. When Carey, stepping down from the pulpit, saw the people quietly dispersing, he seized Andrew Fuller’s hand and wrung it in an agony of distress. ‘Are we not going to do anything!’ he demanded. ‘Oh, Fuller, call them back, call them back! We dare not separate without doing anything!’
As a result of that passionate entreaty, a missionary society was formed, and William Carey offered himself as the Society’s first missionary.
Copied for WholesomeWords.org from A Bunch of Everlastings, or, Texts That Made History by F.W. Boreham. New York: Abingdon, ©1920.
This coming Sunday, Jackson Randall will preach on the Great Commission as a means of grace. And in a God-timed convergence of our Grace Partners missionaries, we will be greeting and hearing from many who “happen” to be available on the Sunday that we are thinking of the great command of our Lord to “GO!” (Join us on the patio for World Missions Day.)
May we not “separate without doing anything.” Pray that the Lord will soften your heart to hear and act, and that God’s glory will be magnified because of the decisions that are made and ultimately kept that day.
GO INTO THE WORLD
Words and Music by Walt Harrah