Monday, December 22, 2008

What I learned from Charles Simeon.

Charles Simeon was born on September 24, 1759 and went to be with the Lord on November 13, 1836. During his life Simeon was the pastor of Trinity Church in Cambridge, England for 54 years and was also a fellow at King’s College, Cambridge. Over the last few days I’ve read a short biography of his life by John Piper (in his book, The Roots of Endurance). I would strongly encourage you to study the life of Charles Simeon as a lesson of faithfulness and joy. Simeon’s joy was not robbed by the difficult circumstances that are inherent in this mortal life. His faithfulness was not shaken because His faith was in a majestic God. Here are a few things the Lord taught me through Simeon…

1. Simeon was a man of deep conviction and resolution. He committed to celibacy to make an uncontested commitment to the church of Christ. That is a unique calling and a rare form of endurance.

2. Simeon possessed a pervading joy. Here was a guy who was rejected by his congregation for the first twelve years or so of his ministry and he rarely had a negative or pessimistic thing to say. You can’t fake it that long. His joy was in Christ and that lifted his mind and heart above the humiliation.

3. Simeon was strong on doctrine in one hand and strong in love in the other hand. When doctrine or theological position divided him against another he was still loving and kind without wavering on truth. In this he also refused to be pigeon-holed with regards to a label so not to create unnecessary division.

4. Simeon was enduringly faithful to his Lord. Few today endure the kind of humiliation and rejection that Simeon faced among those inside and outside the church. Most would give up. We are a quitting, moping, and easily bruised generation. Simeon saw that his calling was not to be popular, beloved, or successful by any earthly standards. He was called to be faithful to the Lord Jesus and he strove for that end alone.

What a testimony Charles Simeon is for us and the transforming work of Christ! Only Christ could produce these qualities in a sinful human being. He certainly wasn't perfect- far from it. Furthermore, Simeon's story is not about his works. Simeon is a testimony of what could happen in our lives if we would daily and wholly submit ourselves to the working of the Holy Spirit through the Word.

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