Currently reading: A Short Life of Jonathan Edwards by George M. Marsden (kindle edition)
I’m really enjoying this book on my vacation. There are so many insights here I’ll just be posting some thoughts I’ve had as I’ve been reading. Today’s thoughts come from George Whitefield’s thoughts and interactions with Edwards’ family.
Thought 1: It’s good to get others to gospelize my children.
Whitefield was charmed by the entire Edwards household. Jonathan asked him to meet with several of the older of their seven children… Jonathan later reported that he saw a real work of God take place in them after that time (Kindle Locations 715-719).
When I think about my kids’ salvation and gospelizing them, I almost never think of it in relation to other pastors and evangelists outside my home and church family doing that work. I do try to get members of our church to invest in a relationship with my children. But as I’ve been networking and meeting other pastors through TGCLA and the SBC, I almost never think of the way that friendship can have a direct impact on my children if they sit and talk with them directly about the things of God. I want my kids to hear and think about the gospel and its implications not just from me and the people I directly influence (my wife and church members), but also from other godly gospel men and women who may bear fruit in speaking to my kids. I need to ask visiting pastors and evangelists to gospelize my kids when they get a bit older.
Thought #2: Tremble and Be Affected by the Preaching of Others
(picture: Whitefield preaching)
Whitefield records that as he preached at Edwards’ church in Northampton, the “good Mr. Edwards wept during the whole time” of one of the Sabbath sermons (Locations 710-714). It’s easy to be critical or analytical or constantly comparing myself to the preacher when he’s preaching, especially if it was to my local church. Edwards shows humility and sensitivity towards the Word and Spirit to be so affected by the preaching of Whitefield. That kind of sensitivity is not merely willed in the moment, but it is a gift of God that is often intentionally cultivated whenever the Christian encounter God and his Word.
Thought #3: I am blessed to have my wife and want to continue to edify her in a particular direction
Whitefield saw Jonathan and Sarah as a model couple. He wrote in his journal, “A sweeter coulple I have not seen. Mrs. Edwards is adorned with a meek and quiet spirit; she talked solidly of the things of God, and seemed to be such a helplmeet for her husband” (Location 715-720). Marsden continues, “After meeting Sarah, the young unmarried evangelist renewed his fervent prayers that God ‘would be pleased to send me a daughter of Abraham to be my wife'” (Ibid.).
I think my wife reflects this ability to talk solidly of the things of God and is an example of being “such a helpmeet for her husband.” As I reflect on her wisdom, insight, bible knowledge, courage to speak up and rebuke, I am amazed at how ungrateful I am to take my wife for granted. She is truly a gift. She often exhibits a meek and quiet spirit. Though I can’t be sure and have a strong bias, I often imagine that our relationship and her example would push many single men in or training for ministry to seek out a wife with the characteristics of my wife and that of Sarah Edwards.