The last time the boys were here at our house they pulled out the Where’s Waldo book from when your parents were little and we had fun looking for Waldo and scrolls and other stuff. The first Waldo book was published back in 1987 so Waldo has been in our home for a lot of years. Waldo had a great love for traveling, he seemed to always have a smile on his face, and in later books he was often accompanied by his beloved dog Woof.
But I want to tell you about another Waldo that you have probably never heard of but who is very much worth knowing about.
Peter Waldo was born around 1140 AD. He was a very wealthy, well-known merchant in the city of Lyon, France. He had a wife, two daughters, and lots of property. But something happened — some say he witnessed the sudden death of a friend, others say he heard a spiritual song of a traveling minstrel — and Waldo became deeply troubled over the spiritual state of his soul and desperate to know how he could be saved.
He started reading the Bible. But it was only available to him in Latin, so he hired someone to translate it for him. He sought counsel from a priest who pointed him to Luke 18:22, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” This Scripture pierced his heart – he realized that he had been a servant to money his entire life and he vowed from that point on to live in complete dependence on God for his provision.
He began to preach, especially among the poor. He began to develop a following that turned into a movement and spread throughout France and other parts of Europe. They became known as “The Waldensians.”
Waldo spoke out against the Catholic Church and many of it’s practices and beliefs and he began to come under fire from the church – eventually being excommunicated by Pope Lucius III. Even after Waldo’s death around 1218 the movement continued to grow – fueled by it’s love for God’s Word and it’s belief in the priesthood of believers. They were forerunners of the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century and helped set the stage for everything that Luther and Calvin and Zwingli and the other reformers accomplished.
Jon Bloom says this about Waldo: “He was a merchant turned prophet who simply believed in the word of God with all his heart, which he demonstrated with all his life. And in taking God at his word, Waldo turned his world upside down.”
May it be so said of me. May it be so said of each of you.
And perhaps the next time you pick up a Where’s Waldo book you will also be prompted to ask not just where’s Waldo but who’s Waldo.
Never forget that you are very loved!