Our labors will make a differencePublished 4:39am Sunday, May 12, 2013
By Rev. Kevin Kelly
Sunday we celebrate Mother’s Day. I read a great story during my devotional time this week, and I have adapted the story as shared in Robert Morgan’s book entitled Real Stories for the Soul.
This particular story in Morgan’s book reveals a portion of the life of Susanna Wesley, the mother of John and Charles Wesley. As many of you know, John Wesley led a great revival in the 18th century which resulted in the Methodist movement. John’s brother, Charles Wesley is attributed with many of the familiar hymns we sing in church.
Susanna’s story and how she overcame so many obstacles in her life is extremely heartening to me. I hope and pray it will encourage you as well. She was an incredible woman and an exceptional mother to her children.
Susanna Annesley was born in London in 1669. Twenty years later, she married an Anglican clergyman named Samuel Wesley. They were soon assigned the pastorate of a church in the dreary little town of Epworth, England.
They served in the ministry 40 years while enduring many hardships. Here are several: Samuel’s salary was so small he was thrown into debtor’s prison thus leaving Susanna to fend for herself; Samuel was very unpopular as a minister because of his harsh personality; Susanna and Samuel disagreed about Susanna’s ministry because often the Bible lessons she prepared and taught reached more listeners than his sermons which in turn resulted in feelings of resentment; their home was destroyed by fire taking the lives of most of the family; Susanna gave birth to a daughter in 1705 and the child was tragically smothered to death when the exhausted nurse rolled over on her during the night; Susanna’s brother promised her a sizable gift but mysteriously disappeared and was never heard from again; finally on July 21, 1731, Susanna described another tragic accident in which her horses stampeded, throwing her husband from their wagon and seriously injuring him. He was never well from that day forward.
As you can tell, Susanna Wesley lived a very difficult life. However, her home provided the environment for John and Charles Wesley to grow and develop physically and spiritually. Because of her love and commitment to teach them, they became two of the greatest evangelist of all time.
Life can be complicated and cruel at times. We in America are experiencing just how harsh life can be by the recent terrorist attack in Boston, and the ongoing wars throughout the Middle East.
Do not give up. Life can be tough but God gives us a promise: “So, my dear brothers and sisters be strong and immovable. Always work enthusiastically for the Lord, for you know that nothing you do for the Lord is ever useless” (1 Corinthians 15:58 NLT).
Continue to press on and become an overcomer such as Susanna Wesley. Our meager labors in this life will make a difference.
The Rev. Kevin Kelly is senior minister at First United Methodist Church in Wetumpka.