Today in Baptist History class at the Our Generation Training Center, I was reminded about a missionary hero of mine, William Carey. What the man accomplished was nothing short of incredible. John Ryland, the minister that baptized William, wrote in his journal that day, “baptized today poor journeyman shoe cobbler.” But the man that Carey grew to be was greater than just a poor shoe cobbler, he turned into the “Father of the Modern Missions Movement.” He wrote a booklet that would shake two continents from a stupor into missionary-producing machines. He would translate the Scriptures in India. God would use Carey to make the first Missionary Society. A giant would emerge from the slight-of-stature unwanted preacher from England. But like all men, he would have his flaws. And the major stumbling block in the life of William Carey was the relationship that he had with his wife, Dorthy. Today, I would like to write to men and women both on The Carey’s Complication.
To the Men:
As I went through this small glimpse of the life of William Carey, I couldn’t help but see that Carey was a man of persistence. He seemed like a hard-headed man, which in my opinion is a necessary trait for the mission field. After Carey was saved and baptized, the author of the book said that he became convinced that he should preach. But sadly, the people who listened to him didn’t hold the same outlook. He preached an entire summer and the church refused to recommend him for ordination. But that refusal didn’t stop William Carey because he was ordained, even though it was stated that the church reluctantly voted to recommend him for ordination.
Later on in Carey’s life, while attending Ministers Fraternal of the Northampton Association, Cary was told to “sit down” because of his passion to get the gospel to the unconverted heathen. That rebuke didn’t stop Carey; he wrote a booklet known as “An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to use means for the Conversion of the Heathen (Leicester, 1792).”
Then, in May that year, Carey preached his famous message of Expect Great Things from God, and Attempt Great Things for God at an association meeting. The meeting would close without any action. However, that apathy did not stop William Carey because later on that year, in October, Carey and thirteen others would vote to form what is now known as the Baptist Missionary Society.
William Carey in his life demonstrated what not only what persistence looked like but also what it took to win people over. Now, here is the point. William Carey could win over congregation members and pastors to catch his vision. Whether it was about William Carey is a preacher or that Baptists needed to spread the gospel throughout the world, Carey won them over. However, in earning this great acceptance, he failed to win his wife.
I am reminded of the words of Paul in 1 Timothy 3:4-5 “One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)” Men, if you can’t lead your wife and help her catch the vision and desire that God has placed in your heart, you have failed.
Mr. Carey is a personal hero of mine, but a glaring fault of his is that he didn’t know how to lead his wife, which led to major complications. I wonder if his wife would have been a more willing participant in his ministry, if he would have spent some of that time writing her. I wonder if she would have following him more readily had he demonstrated the same the zeal and passion with his wife as he did with others. I know that this thought is all speculation, but men, make the effort to lead your wife correctly.
To the Women:
Whenever I hear the name Dorothy Carey, somehow I equate her to being that crazy lady on the mission field. I think the lesson to be learned with Dorothy from a woman’s standpoint is this: You cannot control your circumstances. Bad things are going to happen to you, but you determine how you’re going to respond to things that are out of your control.
Dorothy Carey seemingly had no control of whether or not her husband was going to go to the mission field. He already made that decision. History books give an account that, after she was on the ship, she immediately regretted her decision to follow her husband. While she was in India, she suffered diseases, sickness, and even the death of a child. They were the first “missionaries“ of their era. They never had an orientation to prepare them for the field. They had no one‘s notes to compare. She had no warning and no preparation for the difficulties that she was to face. Things were out of her control.
I believe the lesson to be learned is this you must have a strong walk with God if you are going to be on the foreign field. Missionaries face obstacles and difficulties that normal believers do not face and must have a strong walk with the Lord as a result. You must learn to rely on Him and trust Him as you face uncertain difficulties. I believe wholeheartedly that, if Dorothy Carey would have had a strong walk with the Lord, she could have faced these difficulties and lived like an overcomer.
Ladies, you must rely on God; you have to strengthen your walk with the Lord. We live in a fallen world, and people, including your husband, will let you down. You must have a constant in your life that you can trust in. If you are a believer, you have that constant. Hebrews 13:5 says, “Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” Learn to trust in the One who will never leave you or forsake you.
In conclusion, I think it would be wise for us to learn from this complicated situation. Men, you must learn to lead your wives. Wives, you must learn to have a strong relationship with God. I hate that the Careys lived with these complications. There were wrongs on both sides. I think history seems to paint Mr. Carey more pleasantly; that is my own personal opinion. But I hope that married couples looking to serve on the field learn from the past mistakes others have made and grow from what they learn. Don’t copy the Carey’s complications.