On Wesley’s Rule of Life


Brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged in doing what is right (2 Thessalonians 3:13, Common English Bible).

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” (Commonly Called, “John Wesley’s Rule”).

“Do all the good you can…as long as ever you can.” We commonly call this, “John Wesley’s Rule.” According to some Wesleyan Historical writers, there is no evidence Wesley ever said this (see  “Wesley Didn’t Say It: Do all the good you can, by all the means you can…” April 29, 2013, Kevin M. Watson). In this blog post Kevin Watson suggests that “Wesley’s Rule of Life” never appears in any of his writings. I will take Dr. Watson’s research at face value. He has studied Wesley’s writings far more than I.

Normally, I am heavy on the bandwagon that we should only post things we know to be true, things that we have backed up with our own research. In most cases the research isn’t that difficult to do and as people of faith, when we stop short and post things that are untrue, we not only damage our own witness, but in a world that is growing increasingly secular, we damage the witness of other Christians as well.

So, while I will not assign Wesley credit with having written or said “Do all the good you can…as long as ever you can,” because this “rule of life” does align itself to something Wesley “might” have said, I have no trouble referring to this quote by its traditional name, “Wesley’s Rule of Life.”

This “Rule of Life” perhaps didn’t belong to Wesley but it does stand as a good reminder as to having a moral code of our own. The words are a good rule to live by, Wesley quote or not.

One of my favorite all-time television shows is NCIS. In the series, the central character, Special Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, played by Mark Harmon, is known for his “rules.” In season six, episode three viewers learned to origins of Gibbs’ rules, it was from his first wife Shannon, who said, “Everyone needs a code they can live by.”

The fictitious Shannon was right. Many of of Gibbs’ rules are mundane, about the job kinds of things. They are things like rules one and two, “Never let suspects stay together” and “Always wear gloves at a crime scene” respectively. Others are more into the human condition such as, Rule 11: “When the job is done, walk away,” Rule 15: “Always work as a team” and Rule 28: “When you need help, ask.”

St. Benedict of Nursia (circa 480-543), credited with developing the first “Rule of Life,” also called “The Rule of St. Benedict,”which he established to order the life of Benedictine monasteries and the monks who resided there.

We all do need a code to live by. It seems to me that “John Wesley’s Rule of Life” is a pretty good one to live by, not just for Wesleyans, but for any person of faith, really for any person, faith or not, even if Wesley didn’t write it.

“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.”

Paul gives further credence to the importance of the “Rule” in the verse above. “Brothers and sisters, don’t get discouraged in doing what is right.”

If we are doing that which is right, how can we ever be wrong?

Have a Great Day in the Lord.

Grace and Peace,

Copyright 2016, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

Published by drjkbroyles

I love Mike Ashcraft's book, "My One Word." For the past nine years I have participated and encouraged others to participate to in the "My One Word" Challenge. My first word was discipline was my word the first year. Since then my word has been focus, sight, jungle, peace, concentration, serve, genuine and this year is fit. I seek to be fit for my health, my family, my church, my ministries. I seek to be fit in any are of my life where God might point to me. I also have a nickname, "Dr. B." When I was a public high school teacher, Dr. B. is what most of my students called me, at least in my presence. I am still called that by many people though I no longer teach in public schools. I am the author of "Average Joe: With an Extraordinary Story" (available on Amazon). The book fits into the genre of "Biblical Fiction" or "Christian Fiction" and features some of the Bible's lesser known characters. The name of my blog is, "Fork in the Road." Life is filled with forks in the road. It isn't a matter of if we encounter a fork in the road, but when will we and how many will we experience in a lifetime. I love to strum my guitar. I am not a great guitar player but I enjoy it. I also enjoy writing music. I get excited with I feel a new song emerging. I live with my wife Cindy and our little dog, "Bishop" in Lufkin, Texas. I spent the past 30 years as a United Methodist pastor, serving churches all over east and southeast Texas, from just north of Tyler to south of Houston, from the Gulf Coast to east of Madisonville. I currently serve Perritte Memorial UMC in Nacogdoches. I spent one year in the classroom, teaching High School government, economics, psychology, and sociology. Cindy and I have been married for 43 years. We have two grown sons and six grandchildren, three boys and three girls. I enjoy preaching and all it's aspects from research to writing to the actual preaching event. I also love writing, reading. I have dabble in drawing and "painting" with pastels as well as woodworking and woodcarving. My current projects are two ukuleles. I collect, repair and restore guitars too. I play the guitar (badly, but I still do) I also enjoy working with paracord on various projects, mostly prayer ropes I usually give away. I hold an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Business Data Processing, from San Jacinto College in Pasadena, TX, a Bachelor of Science in Political Science with a minor in History from Sam Houston State University in Huntsville, TX, a Master of Divinity from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX and a Doctor of Ministry from Carolina University of Theology. This blog started out as devotional writings. In August of 2020, I made a major change to the blog, switching to a daily theme format. Sunday Sermon-usually my manuscript sermon Miscellaneous Monday-misc. writing, poetry, ministry Tuesday Thoughts-Devotion Wed. with Wesleys-hist. & theol. of early Methodists TED Talk Thursday-Video & appl. in current theology Five for Friday-5 things I've seen & my thoughts Sing-Along Sat. - Usually a new song I have written I write, "Strumming a G-Chord with Dr.B." to get my thoughts onto something permanent. After all, they say, once something is on the internet it never really goes away. Still, I hope you enjoy reading it. Who knows, it might generate a bit of discussion between you and me and anyone else who might make their way here. Seeking the Genuine, Keith Lufkin, Texas August 2020

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