On this day in 1775, Caleb Evans, the president of the Bristol Baptist College sat down at his desk and wrote a letter to a young graduate of the college named John Sutcliff.  Sutcliff had been a good student, and Evans felt that he would be a blessing to many throughout his life.  Unfortunately, the young man’s first pastorate had turned out badly.  The church was in such disarray that the inexperienced young minister could not help it.  After four months the dissension became so corrosive that Sutcliff felt obligated to resign.  A few months later, when an invitation to preach in the Baptist church at Olney in Northamptonshire arrived, he was so paralyzed by discouragement, he couldn’t consent to visit.  Several more letters arrived begging him to come, but he ignored them.  He simply did not believe the Lord would ever use him.

But his professor, Caleb Evans, didn’t agree.  When he heard from Olney, he sat down and penned a letter to the young discouraged minister.  Accounts suggest that the letter was forceful and commanding, just the way he taught in college.  Perhaps if he had not been as forthright and domineering, the message might not have been heard.  But three days after receiving Evans’ letter, Sutcliff agreed to visit the church in Olney, and the rest is Baptist history.  Not only did Brother Sutcliff have a long and fruitful ministry in that church, but he was put in touch with Andrew Fuller, John Ryland and William Carey which ultimately resulted in the missionary work of Carey in India.
I know that letter-writing is no longer a popular pastime, but when was the last time you sent an encouraging message of any kind to one of the Lord’s servants?  None of us know how much discouragement under which some of them labor.  Just a note, a postcard, or even a text could be a great blessing in the furtherance of the gospel.
– Source: “This Day in Baptist History III” Cummins