Monday, August 11, 2008

"Little Bilney"

“Behind Hugh Latimer (1485-1555), the ‘Preacher of the English Reformation”, was his mentor Thomas Bilney.

Bilney, a quiet scholar at Cambridge University, acquired a Greek New Testament from the famous Erasmus. As he pored over it, one verse of Scripture seemed to be written in letters of light, and it led to his conversion: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners!

Bilney wanted to share his experience with others, but this was Reformation truth, and the Reformation had not yet reached England. Teachers such as Luther were being fiercely attacked by English churchmen like Hugh Latimer.

But as Bilney listened to young Latimer rail against the Reformation, he prayed this unusual prayer: ‘O God, I am but ‘little Bilney’ and shall never do any great thing for Thee. But give me the soul of that man, Hugh Latimer, and what wonders he shall do in Thy most holy name.’

One day Bilney pulled Latimer aside. Using his own conversion verse—1 Timothy 1:15—he led the great Latimer to simple faith in Christ, and the English Reformation was born.”

–Morgan, Robert J. Nelson’s Complete Book of Stories, Illustrations, and Quotes Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, n.d. (2000). Page 224.

Oh, that we had more “little Bilneys”, who think more of what others can do for the sake of the Gospel than what they think of themselves. How often do we look to build up self, pour into our own lives, and not seek after others with the expectation that they will do more! How many of us will seek to humble ourselves in prayer, asking GOD to save the souls of others so that THEY will do something for God. How often do we pray instead “Use me” to do thus and such.

May we all be “Little Bilneys” and have that very estimation of ourselves.

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