By: Ashley Jenkins
Greetings! This month we will look at the Wesley brother’s words. John Wesley (founder of the Methodist Movement) was a famous preacher, profound writer, and the keeper of a detailed journal. While John wrote sermons, his brother, Charles, was known for his poetry and hymns. In these four devotionals, we will hear what these brothers have to say for young adults today.
It’s common to see quotes from great thinkers wherever you go. I see quotes all over my Facebook newsfeed, on posters, and in greeting cards. I even keep them on different objects in my house and office. Short quotes are not just for decoration or inspiration, they are a good way to guide us along the life we are called by God to live. Did you know that John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, had plenty of quotable statements? Some of his most famous were his three rules to live by. This mantra simply says, “Do no harm. Do Good. Attend to the ordinances of God.”
The first part of Wesley’s quote, “Do no harm,” seems simple enough. In John Wesley’s time, this list included fighting, brawling, putting on costly apparel, and, later, slavery. But when we step back for a second, the depth of this statement starts to take hold. Think for a second what “do no harm” means for today’s society. If truly lived out, it would mean every action does no harm not just to ourselves but to all humanity and the earth. If we truly lived out “do no harm,” then all harmful societal structures would fall apart. We could accomplish this, for example, by researching companies to see if they use child labor and refusing to buy their goods if they do.
The next part of our matra is “Do good.” In all things, each one of us would need to work for the good of the Kingdom of God. Following this mantra does not have to be complex; just tonight I saw my neighbor unloading the groceries for our elderly neighbor. Or perhaps for you it means opening your home up to foster kids. Or maybe it means signing up for that Bible Study.
There has been a movement to change “attend to the ordinances of God” to “stay in love with God.” I personally like “attend to the ordinances of God.” While the term “ordinance” sounds foreboding, ordinances are simply Christian practices that help us focus on the love of God and grow in our faith. John Wesley listed them as: reading the Scriptures, Holy Communion, prayer, fasting, and abstinence.
I, however, would like to expand this list. Practices of the faith can also include: confession, faithful friendships, practicing forgiveness, simplicity, slowing down, and solitude. Another way to follow the ordinances of God is try to inhabit the fruit of the spirit : love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control, all of which can be found in Galatians 5:22. Take on one of these fruits for a few days. In everything you enter, think about those fruit of the spirit.
Discussion Questions: How can you live out this mantra: Do no harm, do good, attend to the ordinances of God? Which one will be the hardest?
See more devotions from Ashley and our other Young Adult writers, or find our how you can become a writer yourself at our By Young Adults for Young Adults devotion page.