“If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.”
— 2 Corinthians 11:30, niv
How well do you do when an occasion calls for going above and beyond the call of duty? If you need some encouragement in this area, then consider George Wishart, a sixteenth-century Scotsman. You may have never heard of Wishart, but he is one of the great heroes of our Christian faith. Even before the Reformation came to Scotland, he preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Wishart lived in a time when a plague decimated great numbers of people on the continent of Europe. As that plague drew near to one of Scotland’s cities, the people panicked and raced to call for the most godly and saintly man they knew. The man they chose was Wishart. Wishart answered the call and went outside the gates of the city. There he knelt on his knees and prayed to God to cease the plague’s onslaught. History reports that the plague spread no further.
After this tremendous victory, Wishart went immediately to one of the cities that had already been hit by the plague. Those who had contracted the plague huddled outside the city gates, locked out of the city, while those untouched remained inside, cringing in fear. Wishart climbed on top of the city wall and began fearlessly preaching the Gospel to those who were dying without and those who were cringing within. Yet, in spite of his courage, his willingness to venture all for Christ, the people declared him a heretic in those dark days and condemned him to burn at the stake.
Outside the gates of the castle, the people erected the stake and piled up the wood. As Wishart approached the stake, he knelt down, lifted his face to Heaven, and prayed, reciting parts of the psalms. Then Wishart stood, took the executioner by the shoulders, and kissed him on the cheek, explaining to him that the kiss was a token of forgiveness. Once they had bound Wishart to the stake, they lit the timber, and the flames carried George Wishart’s soul into Paradise.
Wishart remains an example to us of prayer and courage. If you face a situation that requires you to go above and beyond the call of duty, let Wishart’s story encourage you. Trust in God to give you what you need to make it through, and go forth willingly to fulfill His call for your life.