On July 29, 1833 -- just three days after hearing the passage of the Abolition Act was assured, William Wilberforce died. He died never witnessing the freedom he fought for; never having seen the fruit of his life's work. For nearly fifty-two years, William fought against prevailing social wisdom, against popular opinion, against all odds, winning hearts as he went, because God had called him to do so. A month after he died, the act was passed, and slavery was abolished in England.
I don't know what was on William's mind as he passed from this life to enter God's Kingdom, but I like to think it was these words from Paul:
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:7-8)
This is the passage I want on my tombstone; my personal inspiration. It's also the question I ask myself every day. Am I fighting the good fight? Am I keeping the faith? Am I worthy of a crown of Righteousness, laid up in Heaven? And I pray every day that, whether I'll ever see while alive the fruits of my labor, when it's my time, I'll meet Jesus smiling and know He was proud of me.