Those raised in the English village with William Carey (1761–1834) probably thought he wouldn’t accomplish much, but today he’s known as the father of modern missions. Born to parents who were weavers, he became a not-too-successful teacher and cobbler while teaching himself Greek, Hebrew, and Latin. After many years, he realized his dream of becoming a missionary to India. But he faced hardship, including his child’s death, his wife’s mental-health problems, and for many years the lack of response from those he served.
What kept him serving amid difficulties as he translated the entire Bible into six languages and parts of it into twenty-nine others? “I can plod,” he said. “I can persevere in any definite pursuit.” He committed to serving God no matter what trials he encountered.
This continued devotion to Christ is what the writer to the Hebrews counseled. He called for those reading his letter to not “become lazy” (Hebrews 6:12), but to “show this same diligence to the very end” (v. 11) as they sought to honor God. He reassured them that God “will not forget your work and the love you have shown” (v. 10).
During William Carey’s later years, he reflected on how God consistently supplied his needs. “He has never failed in His promise, so I cannot fail in my service to Him.” May God also empower us to serve Him day by day.
How has God helped you to keep on going in your service for Him? In what way can you help someone else in their struggles?
The author of Hebrews is widely debated. Among those proposed are Barnabas and Paul. Our anonymous author often encourages his readers (most likely Jewish Christians) to endure and remain faithful. Today’s passage from Hebrews exhorts readers not to be “lazy” but to diligently work (6:11–12). The English Standard Version renders the word lazy as “sluggish” or “dull,” which seems to better fit the passage’s theme: to encourage perseverance, despite persecution, until “the very end.” In order to persevere, Christians cannot afford to grow “sluggish” in their faith. They need to diligently stand strong and keep serving others (vv. 10-11). In order to help them along in their pursuit, they’re encouraged to “imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised” (v. 12).