Josh Irby

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Monday Motivation: William Wilberforce

William WilberforceThe story of William Wilberforce is fascinating. He was elected to parliament at the age of 21 while still a student. A brilliant orator, his influence quickly grew. In 1785, on a vacation to the French Riviera with Cambridge scholar and mathematician Isaac Milner, Wilberforce experienced a conversion to faith in the God of the Bible.

In England at that time, Evangelical Christians were derided by the upper class as taking religion too seriously. Wilberforce took his faith seriously.

Two years after his conversion, William Wilberforce took up the cause that would define his life—the abolition of the slave trade.

It took 27 years before his work would bear fruit. On 23 February 1807, the Abolition Bill passed through the House of Commons abolishing the slave trade throughout the British Empire.

Wilberforce continued to fight against slavery the rest of his life. He worked to convince other countries to join with Britain against the slave trade. He also sought to make illegal not only the buying and selling of slaves, but also slavery itself.

On 26 July 1833 a friend brought word to Wilberforce, now in retirement, that Parliament would pass a bill abolishing slavery. Three days later he died.

William Wilberforce’s story causes me to ask, “What am I willing to work on for 50 years?” Or, put another way, “Is what I am working on worth 50 years of my life?”

What is worth 50 years of your life?

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  • Christine

    William Wilberforce. Yes. And my favourite movie. What’s truly remarkable is he fought for abolition with little to no support from family, friends or colleagues. The voices he heard on a consistent basis told him it couldn’t be done, to abandon his foolish and misguided notions, to not tamper with the establishment. To think of the commitment and resolve. I am determined to give my all to see his work continue, so that the 27 million enslaved today might enjoy the same fresh air of freedom that I have known for my nearly 40 years.

    • Josh

      Fight on Christine!

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