John Wilkes Booth Meets Sinclair Ferguson

John Wilkes Booth

John Wilkes Booth

Earlier this week I wrote a post entitled Lessons From John Wilkes Booth, which sought to draw insights for the Christian from the life of presidential assassin John Wilkes Booth. This is the part two of that post.

Meditation Leads to Action

Booth’s killing of Lincoln wasn’t a random act of wickedness. It was the result of much thinking, meditation, and fantasizing. Hatred for Lincoln festered in Booth’s heart for months before Booth finally pulled the trigger in Ford’s Theater. Six months before the assassination, Booth and his rebel comrades concocted a plan to kidnap Lincoln and hold him for ransom, only to be thwarted by faulty information regarding Lincoln’s whereabouts. On the day of the killing, Booth penned the following letter:

For a long time I have devoted my energies, my time and money, to the accomplishment of a certain end [kidnapping Lincoln]. I have been disappointed. The moment has arrived when I must change my plans. Many will blame me for what I am about to do, but posterity, I am sure, will justify me.

Clearly John Wilkes Booth spent many hours mulling over his intense hatred for Abraham Lincoln.

As I ponder the words of Booth, I’m reminded of the words of Sinclair Ferguson, who said the following (read this quote slowly):

The evangelical orientation is inward and subjective. We are far better at looking inward than we are looking outward. We need to expend our energies admiring, exploring, expositing, and extolling Jesus Christ.

John Wilkes Booth spent his energies thinking about the glorious cause of the Confederacy, and it led to drastic action on behalf of the Confederacy. I want to follow the wise advice of Sinclair Ferguson and spend my energies admiring, exploring, expositing, and extolling Jesus Christ.

Our tendency as Christians is to always be looking inward, interpreting all of life through the foggy lens of our feelings. Sinclair Ferguson is aware of this temptation and exhorts us to spend the majority of our time pondering the glories of Jesus Christ and all that he has done for us through his life, death, and resurrection.

What will be the result of regular meditation on Jesus Christ? Love for Christ. Service to Christ. Passion for the gospel. All these are the result of “expositing, exploring, and extolling Jesus Christ”. Meditation leads to action.

Question for discussion: How do we move from being people that are continually looking inward to people that spend their energies pondering Jesus?

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