When John Wesley grew up as a son among nineteen children of Rev. Samuel Wesley and Susannah Wesley, he spent much of his childhood in an area called Epworth in England. As a child there was a time when the parsonage or rectory was caught on fire. The Wesleys tried to get everyone out of the house safely, but alas when they had come out, they had forgotten one member of the Wesley family: John. As they looked at their house about to burn down in flames, they saw John from the window of the second floor. Going back inside the house would be too dangerous. Someone managed to climb up to the second floor from the outside and grabbed John just before the house collapsed from the fire.
Later, John would look upon his life as a brand plucked from the fire, and that he had some divine, holy purpose for which God had saved his life. Indeed, he lived his life purposefully for the Gospel.
What about us? How are we living purposefully with the life given to us? Would it require us to be a brand plucked from the fire? Then surely we have! We have been saved by grace, not by our works. We have been secured for an eternal destiny of joy and peace. We have a hope that is unwavering because our salvation is not dependent on our ability to save ourselves, but God’s ability to save us! When we gaze upon the depths of Gospel truth, we cannot help but see ourselves as one saved, accepted and loved completely and wholly by the creator of the universe.
When we could not rise up out of our failures, or when we could not maintain control in our lives, God gave us Jesus. When we could not fix our troubles, and when we could correct our wrongs, God gave us Jesus. When we could not qualify ourselves for eternal goodness, God gave us Jesus. When we keep that in perspective, we too can live as like a brand plucked from the fire. Full of purpose, full of gratitude, and full of boldness. Amen.