Inspired: William Carey

In our “Inspired” series, we have been looking at different real life examples of those who followed God and inspire us to keep moving.

William Carey said “Expect great things; attempt great things.”

As a young man, growing up in the middle of England in the little town of Paulerpury, Carey experienced moments of success and happiness, as we all do. He worked his way through life as a cobbler, eventually taking over the shop from his mentor.  He married Dorothy Plackett, and with her, had their first child, a little girl.  In the midst of these seemingly positive life events, difficulty was never far away.  In spite of owning a shop and having a trade, he lived in deep poverty.  At the age of two, his daughter passed away.  Throughout this time, he studied biblical languages like Hebrew and Greek, as well as Latin.  Eventually, Carey became a preacher and grew in his passion for the nations and God’s heart for the people of the world.

William Carey was not content with how the church was involved in the work of missions.  He penned “An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens”, arguing for the role of the church in the Great Commission.  This eventually led him to form an organized missionary society.  Within a year, Carey himself would be on a ship, headed to India with his wife and children.  In India, life would be very difficult.  His son Peter died at the age of five, and his wife suffered from mental health issues.  He continued to work throughout this time and these challenges.

Missions and mission methods have changed since William Carey first set sail. Despite this, Carey was able to learn and translate the New Testament into Bengali.  He also helped start a school of divinity for Indians, as well as championing social causes.  In all, Carey and his family spent 41 years in India.

What is the legacy of William Carey?  His life and dedication to trust God for great things was a inspiration to people like Hudson Taylor, David Livingstone and Adoniram Judson.  These are all people who changed the face of missions and motivated the church to move forward with global missions.  Carey’s drive 200 years ago laid a foundation for missions today. He was not a perfect man, by any means, and yet God used him.