05 December 2009


William Wilberforce is one of my greatest role models. Why? He saw injustice that broke the heart of God and it broke his heart too. And then he did something about it. He used the gifts God had given him and the position of government entrusted to him to declare the truth of the gospel, giving his life in a painful, prolonged sacrifice to bring freedom for captives and justice for the oppressed. And he served the Lord faithfully to the end of his life.

This week I discovered another incredible person who I want to emulate: Dag Hammarskjöld. He was the Secretary General of the U.N. from 1953 to 1961, when he was killed in a plane crash while on an emergency mission to try to negotiate a cease-fire in the Congo. He did a lot of crazy incredible things in his life (like winning the Nobel Peace Prize), worked tirelessly for peace and justice, and was greatly respected by his peers. But throughout his life, this diplomat also kept a small journal he called a "book concerning my negotiations with myself- and with God." I read part of that book this week, and in it he never once mentions the famous and powerful people he interacted with daily, or the great successes he had. Instead it reflects an astoundingly quiet, humble, thoughtful, simple, sometimes agonized man who intensely longed to do God's will. It is obvious that his incredible public and political life was shaped by the humility and intensity of his love for God and his love for people. I want to be like that.

This sentence from his heart reflects mine as well: "If only I may grow: firmer, simpler, quieter, warmer."

"Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord? Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter- when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard." Isaiah 58:5-8

"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on my, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor..." Isaiah 61:1-2a

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