Written By: George Warren
In John Reynolds’ Anecdotes of the Rev. John Wesley (1828), he tells the story of Wesley’s student days at Lincoln College in Oxford. A porter knocked on Wesley’s door one evening and asked to speak with him. After some conversation Wesley noted the man’s thin coat, for it was a cold winter night. Wesley suggested that he had better get another coat. The porter replied: “This coat … is the only coat I have in the world and I thank God for it.”
Wesley asked the man if he had eaten and the porter replied: “I have had nothing today but a draught of spring water … and I thank God for that.”
Wesley, growing uneasy in the man’s presence, reminded him that he would have to get to his quarters soon or be locked out. “Then what shall you have to thank God for?” Wesley asked. “I will thank Him,” replied the porter, “that I have dry stones to lie upon.”
Wesley was deeply moved by the man’s sincerity and he said to him, “You thank God when you have nothing to wear; … nothing to eat … [and] no bed to lie on. I cannot see what you have to thank God for.”
The man replied: “I thank God… that he has given me life and being, and a heart to love Him, and a desire to serve Him.” (8-9)
After the man had left with a coat from Wesley’s closet, some money for food and words of appreciation for the witness he had made, Wesley wrote in his Journal: “I shall never forget that porter. He convinced me there is something in religion to which I am a stranger.”
Are you a stranger to the strangeness of true discipleship?