John Loughborough became one of our mightiest pioneer workers for God. When he was a boy, his father and grandfather were both Methodist ministers. His father passed away when Johnny was seven years old, and he was sent to live with his grandfather, who owned a farm.
He loved his work on the farm and was kept busy from morning until night doing various duties. The part John liked best was riding the plow horse, he could look back and see the steel plow turn furrow and after furrow of rich brown earth. He also enjoyed riding the harrow as it smoothed the ground for the planting of the seed.
As good Methodists, the Loughboroughs believed in “Hellfire” judgment. In those days there was considerable controversy between those of this faith and others who believed that God was too merciful to condemn sinners to destruction no matter how wicked they had been. Sometimes this opposition grew into bitterness. And occasionally even violence.
John later remembered how as he was riding home from church in the wagon with his grandfather he could hear the shouts of “Old Methodist! Old Methodist!”
He remembered too the time his grandfather found several lengths of his fence torn down and stray cattle eating his corn and trampling down his grain. Without saying a word his grandfather drove out the cattle, and while the troublesome neighbor and his boys looked on and made unkind remarks, he set up his fence again. Then this kind Christian gentleman went into the house and prayed for those who had treated him so unkindly.
Another time a neighbor boy made a jesting remark to John’s grandfather about the coming of the Lord, and kindly the old gentleman rebuked the lad, saying, ”Young man, you had better be careful how you treat this subject before you know what it is.”
Surely the kindness and Christian attitude of this man of God helped to mold the life of John Loughborough, and it gives us a good example on which to meditate. Can we be as patient and act as kindly?