William Wilberforce

“… those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them …”

— 2 Corinthians 5:15

Do you have a high and holy cause you’re working toward, one you’d like to see resolved before the end of your life? William Wilberforce, the model Christian statesman of all time, had a cause for which he fought most of his adult life. His dedicated service is an example to all who would reach for a seemingly unattainable goal, one worthy of a lifetime of effort.

Wilberforce was born into great wealth and comfort in England in 1759. After attending Cambridge University, he was, at the age of twenty-one, elected into the House of Commons. Wilberforce found life in Christ, and after his conversion, he dedicated himself wholeheartedly to freeing the slaves.

What drove a man of such wealth and comfort to give of himself so completely? To live for Christ, and thus to live for others, became his consuming passion. His friend William Pitt, the prime minister of England, declared his belief that Wilberforce was the man to lead the way toward the abolition of slavery. Wilberforce believed, after much prayer, that God had spoken to him through his friend, calling him to a lifetime crusade. After intense study, Wilberforce took the floor of Parliament and introduced a bill to abolish slavery. Parliament overwhelmingly defeated Wilberforce’s bill that year, but he didn’t give up. Year after year, Wilberforce fought relentlessly for the emancipation of the slaves, beginning with the abolition of the slave trade. Wilberforce’s bill didn’t pass until at least twenty years after he had begun his crusade. A few years after that bill passed, Parliament passed legislation freeing all the slaves held in all British territories. On that day, seven hundred thousand British slaves were freed. Wilberforce was greatly moved to know that his lifetime of effort had finally resulted in the end he had sought. He thanked God that he had lived long enough to see the final results of his efforts.

If you work toward a heartfelt cause, toward fulfilling God’s call on your life, allow Wilberforce’s life to encourage you. Don’t ever give up. What God has called you to, He will most certainly fulfill.

“O Heavenly Father, give me a heart like the heart of Jesus Christ,
a heart more ready to minister than to be ministered unto, a heart
moved by compassion towards the weak and the oppressed.”
John Baillie