The Tyndales, successful people in one of England’s most prosperous counties, could hold their heads high. By 1522, the Tyndale family had risen to positions of real affluence and influence.
Daniell, William Tyndale, 11. William Tyndale could have led a life of great comfort and status. He plainly excelled in language. He had marvelous control over English & had tremendous ability to learn. His family was wealthy and well-connected. He could have had all the ease which anyone of his station could have imagined – if he had merely given up pursuit of translating the Bible from Greek and Hebrew into English.
Christianity – the true dedicated pursuit of God (not the use of religion as a cloak for social respectability) — sees this pattern repeat: The one who gives us up all; gives up status and ease to give all to Christ. This inversion of “normal” aspiration to follow after Jesus as Lord is built into the very fabric of what it is to be a Christian:
16 And behold, a man came up to him, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” 17 And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, 19 Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 20 The young man said to him, “All these I have kept. What do I still lack?” 21 Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 When the young man heard this he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions. 23 And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” 27 Then Peter said in reply, “See, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” 28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and the last first. Matthew 19:16–30 (ESV)
Tyndale did leave all to follow Jesus. When we read of the Apostles, we sometimes think of them as absolutely foreign to us. But that is not so. Yet, when we see other men closer to our time and more similar to our world give up all, we have further pictures of what it means to be a disciple of Jesus.
In Tyndale’s case, to leave all meant to become an expert of Hebrew and Greek and Latin and German and English. It meant to write alone in a room for years, giving up comfort and prestige for loneliness and study.