Escape to Tybee Island
July 1, 2020, 3:02 PM

“While we live, let us live in earnest.” John Wesley Thanks to my in-laws, I recently had the opportunity to escape to Tybee Island. We had originally hoped to go to Disney World but with the pandemic, as we all know, plans change. We rented a house, maintained a safe social distance from others, and mostly ate at the house or outside dining locations. It was a well needed change of scenery and much appreciated change of food options.

As I am a fifth generation United Methodist minister, and knowing that my oldest child is a history buff, I could not miss the chance to see the monument of Methodist movement founder, John Wesley, located in one of the squares in the historic district of Savannah. As we read aloud the information on the signs and the monument, I remembered being there years before and seeing the quote “best of all God is with us.” This time, I was thinking about the quote “while we live, let us live in earnest.”

John Wesley and his brother Charles lived in Savannah in the 1700s. During our historic tour carriage ride, the guide said that Wesley had a tainted past and had offended others by telling the story of how he was run out of town. The real legacy of what John left was done by preaching on corners, befriending the locals (Native Americans), and starting what we all know as Sunday school in America. Charles shared his faith through hymns that we still sing today.

John Wesley was bold and did not hesitate to call out his brothers in Christ by voice or pen. One of his letters, Chester, April 15, 1788, was written to the local book steward where he fussed that the latest printed edition of material was too large. He was concerned with who would buy those editions when he was gone. Wesley ended the letter with “while we live, let us live in earnest”.

The more I study about John Wesley and continue to read his letters, I agree with Charles H. Kelly’s evaluation of them. Wesley was direct and did not hesitate to let people know what he was thinking. It seems to me that he lived out the word “earnest”. As an adjective, earnest can be described as serious in intention, purpose, or effort; sincerely zealous, showing depth and sincerity of feeling and demanding important attention. As a noun, it means to speak with purpose and intention.

Philippians 1:27 says “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel”.

How have you done this with earnest in our broken world? We have a choice to add to the brokenness or to be earnest about being in the spirit and striving together. Let us work together to strive for the sake of the gospel during these times of division with earnestness, sincerity of heart, and the purpose of loving God and our neighbor.