Part 1 out of 3
QUIET TALKS ON SERVICE
S. D. GORDON
Author of "Quiet Talks on Power" and "Quiet Talks on Prayer"
Personal Contact with Jesus: The Beginning of Service
The Triple Life: The Perspective of Service
Yokefellows: The Rhythm of Service
A Passion for Winning Men: The Motive-power of Service
Deep-Sea Fishing: The Ambition of Service
Money: The Golden Channel of Service
Worry: A Hindrance to Service
Gideon's Band: Sifted for Service
Personal Contact With Jesus: The Beginning of Service.
The Beginning of an Endless Friendship.
An Ideal Biography.
The Eyes of the Heart.
We are Changed.
The Outlook Changed.
Talking with Jesus.
Getting Somebody Else.
The True Source of Strong Service.
Personal Contact With Jesus: The Beginning of Service.
The Beginning of an Endless Friendship.
About a quarter of four one afternoon, three young men were standing
together on a road leading down to a swift-running river. It was an old
road, beaten down hard by thousands of feet through hundreds of years. It
led down to the river, and then along its bank through a village
scatteringly nestled by the fords of the river. The young men were
intently absorbed in conversation.
One of them was a man to attract attention anywhere. He was clearly the
leader of the three. His clothing was very plain, even to severeness. His
face was spare, suggesting a diet as severely plain as his garments. The
abundance of dark hair on head and face brought out sharply the spare,
thoughtful, earnest look of his face. His eyes glowed like coals of living
fire beneath the thick, bushy eyebrows. He talked quietly but intensely.
There was a subdued vigor and force about his very person.
One of the others was a very different type of man. He was intense too,
like the leader, but there was a fineness and a far-looking depth about
his eye such as suggests a gray eye rather than a black. His hair was
softer and finer, and his skin too. In him intensity seemed to blend with
a fine grain in his whole make-up. The third man was a quiet,
matter-of-fact looking fellow. He did not talk much, except to ask an
occasional question. The three men were engaged in earnest conversation,
when a fourth man, a stranger, came down the road and, passing the three
by, went on ahead.
The leader of the three called the attention of his companions to the
stranger. At once they leave his side and go after the stranger. As they
nearly catch up to him, he unexpectedly turns and in a kindly voice asks,
"Whom are you looking for?" Taken aback by the unexpected question, they
do not answer, but ask where he is going. Quickly noticing the point of
their question, he cordially says, "Come over and take tea with me."
They gladly accepted the invitation, and spent the evening with him. And
the friendship begun that day continued to the end of their lives. Both
became his dear friends. And one, the fine-grained, intense man, became
his closest bosom friend. He never forgot that day. When he came years
after to write about his hospitable friend, found that afternoon, he could
remember every particular of their first meeting. We must always be
grateful to John for his simple, full account of his first meeting with
An Ideal Biography.
His simple story of that afternoon contains in it the three steps that
begin all service. They looked at Jesus; they talked with Jesus; forever
to the end of their lives they talked about Him. Here are the two personal
contacts that underlie all service, that lead into all service. The close
personal contact with Jesus begun and continued. And then personal contact
with other men ever after. The first always leads to the second. The power
and helpfulness of the second grow out of the first.
There is a little line in the story that may serve as a graphic biography
of John the Herald. There could be no finer biography of anybody of whom
it could be truly written. It is this: "Looking upon Jesus as He walked,
he said look." He himself was absorbed in looking. Jesus caught him from
the first. He was ever looking. And he asked others to look. His whole
ministry was summed up in pointing Jesus out to others.
He was ever insisting that men look at Jesus. Looking, he said "look."
His lips said it, and life said it. John's presence was always spelling
out that word "look," with his whole life an index finger pointing to
Jesus. If we might be like that. Every man of us may be in his life, in
the great unconscious influence of his presence, a clearly lettered
signpost pointing men to the Master. All true service begins in personal
contact with Jesus. One cannot know Him personally without catching the
warm contagion of His spirit for others. And there is a fine fragrance, a
gentle, soft warmth, about the service that grows out of being with Him.
The beginning of John's contact with Jesus that day, and Andrew's, was in
looking. Their friend the herald bid them look. They found him looking.
They did as he was doing. Following the line of his eyes, and of his
teaching too, and of his life, they looked at Jesus. And as they looked
the sight of their eyes began to control them. They left John and
quickened their pace to get nearer to this Man at whom they were looking.
There never was a finer tribute to a man's faithfulness to his Master than
is found in these men leaving John. They could not help going. They had
been led by John into the circle of Jesus' attractive power. And at once
they are irresistibly drawn toward its center.
The basis of the truest devotion and deepest loyalty to Jesus is not in a
creed but in Himself. There must be creeds. Whatever a man believes is of
course his creed. Though as quickly as he puts it into words he narrows
it. Truth is always more than any statement of it. Faith is always greater
than our words about it. We do not see Jesus with our outer eyes as did
these men in the Gospel narrative. We cannot put out our hands in any such
way as Thomas did and know by the feel. We must listen first to somebody
telling about Him.
We listen either with eyes on the Book, or ears open to some faithful
mutual friend of His and ours. What we hear either way is a creed,
somebody's belief about Jesus. So we come to Jesus first through a creed,
somebody's belief, somebody's telling: so we know there is a Jesus, and
are drawn to Himself. When we come to know Himself, always afterwards He
is more than anything anybody ever told us, and more than we can ever
The Eyes of the Heart.
Looking at Jesus--what does it mean practically? It means hearing about
Him first, then actually appealing to Him, accepting His word as personal
to one's self, putting Him to the test in life, trusting His death to
square up one's sin score, trusting His power to clean the heart and
sweeten the spirit, and stiffen the will. It means holding the whole life
up to His ideals. Aye, it means more yet; something on His side, an
answering look from Him. There comes a consciousness within of His love
and winsomeness. That answering look of His holds us forever after His
willing slaves, love's slaves. Paul speaks of the eyes of the heart. It is
with these eyes we look at Him, and receive His answering look.
There are different ways of looking at Jesus, degrees in looking. Our
experiences with Jesus affect the eyes of the heart. When this same John
as an old man was writing that first epistle, he seems to recall his
experience in looking that first day. He says "that which we have _seen_
with our eyes, that which we _beheld_." From seeing with the eyes he
had gone to earnest, thoughtful _gazing_, caught with the vision of what
he saw. That was John's own experience. It is everybody's experience that
gets a look at Jesus. When the first looking sees something that catches
fire within, then does the inner fire affect the eye and more is seen.
You have been in a strange city walking down the street, looking with
interest at what is there. But all at once you are caught by a sign that
contains a familiar name, and at once a whole flood of memories is
The little Jericho Jew peering down from the low out-reaching sycamore
branch was full of curiosity to see the Man that had changed his old
friend Levi Matthew so strangely. But that curiosity quickly changes into
something far deeper and more tender as Jesus comes to abide in his own
That lonely-lifed, sore-hearted woman on the Nain road looked with
startled wonder out of those wet eyes of hers as Jesus begins talking to
her dead son. What love and faith must have been in her looking as Jesus
with fine touch brings her boy by the hand over to her warm embrace again!
We are Changed.
Looking at Jesus _changes us._ Paul's famous bit in the second Corinthian
letter has a wondrous tingle of gladness in it. "We all with open face
beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are changed from glory to
glory." The change comes through our looking. The changing power comes
in through the eyes. It is the glory of the Lord that is seen. The
glorious Jesus looking in through our looking eyes changes us. It is
gradual. It is ever more, and yet more, till by and by His own image comes
out fully in our faces.
We become like those with whom we associate. A man's ideals mold him.
Living with Jesus makes us look like Himself. We are familiar with the
work that has been done in restoring old fine paintings. A painting by one
of the rare old master painters is found covered with the dust of decades.
Time has faded out much of the fine coloring and clearly marked outlines.
With great patience and skill it is worked over and over. And something of
the original beauty, coming to view again, fully repays the workman for
all his pains.
The original image in which we were made has been badly obscured and faded
out. But if we give our great Master a chance He will restore it through
our eyes. It will take much patience and a skill nothing less than divine.
But the original will surely come out more and more till we shall again be
like the original, for we shall _see_ Him as He is.
The old German artist Hoffmann is said to visit at intervals the royal
gallery in Dresden, where he lives, to touch up his paintings there. Even
so our Master, living in us, keeps touching us up that the full beauty of
His ideal may be brought out.
How often a girl growing up into the fullness of her mature young
womanhood calls out the remark, "You are growing more and more like your
mother." And the similar remark is heard of a young man developing the
traits and features of his father.
There is a law of unconscious assimilation. We become like those with whom
we go. Without being conscious of it we take on the characteristics of
those with whom we live. I remember one time my brother returned home for
a visit after a prolonged absence. As we were walking down the street
together he said to me, "You have been going with Denning a good deal"--a
mutual friend of ours. Surprised, I said, "How do you know I have?" He
said, "You walk just like him." What my brother had said was strictly
true, though he did not know it. Our friend had a very decided way of
walking. As a matter of fact, we had been walking home from the Young
Men's Christian Association three or four nights every week. And
unconsciously I had grown to imitate his way of walking.
That sentence of Paul's has also this meaning, "We all with open face
_reflecting_ as in a mirror the glory of the Lord are changed." We stand
between Him and those who don't know Him. We are the mirror catching the
rays of His face and sending them down to those around. And not only do
those around see the light--His light--in us, but we are being changed all
the while. For others' sake as well as our own the mirror should be kept
clean, and well polished so the reflection will be distinct and true.
The Outlook Changed.
Looking at Jesus _changes the world for us._ It is as though the light of
His eyes fills our eyes and we see things all around as He sees them. Have
you ever gone out, as a child, and looked intently at the sun, repressing
the flinching its strength caused and insisting on looking? You could do
it for a short time only. It made your eyes ache. But as you turned your
eyes away from its brilliance you found everything changed. You remember a
beautiful yellow glory-light was over everything, and every ugly jagged
thing was softened and beautified by that glow in your eyes. Looking at
the sun had changed the world for you for a little.
It is something like that on this higher plane, in this finer sense. That
must have been something of Paul's thought in explaining the glory of
Jesus that he saw on the Damascus road. "When I could not see for the
glory of that light." The old ideals were blurred. The old ambitions faded
away. The jagged, sharp lines of sacrifice and suffering involved in his
new life were not clearly seen. A halo had come over them.
I recall a bit of a poem I ran across in an old magazine somewhere. It was
one of those vagrant, orphan poems with fine family lineaments that find
their way unfathered into odd corners of papers. It told about a man
riding on horseback through a bit of timber land in one of the cotton
states of the South.
It was a bright October day, and he was riding along enjoying the air and
view, when all at once he came across a bit of a clearing in the trees,
and in the clearing an old cabin almost fallen to pieces, and in the
doorway of the cabin an old negress standing. Her back was bent nearly
double with the years of hard work, her face dried up and deeply bitten
with wrinkles, and her hair white. But her eyes were as bright as two
stars out of the dark blue, it said.
And the man called out cheerily, "Good-morning, auntie, living here all
alone?" And she looked up, with her eyes brighter yet with the thought in
her heart, and in a shrill keyed-up voice said, "Jes me 'n' Jesus, massa."
But he said a hush came over the whole place, there seemed a halo about
the old broken-down cabin, and he thought he could see Somebody standing
by her side looking over her shoulder at him, and His form was like that
of the Son of God.
How poor and limited and mean her world looked to him as he rode up. But
how quickly everything changed as he saw it through her seeing of it. With
the keen insight into spirit things so often found in such simplicity
among her race, she had gotten the whole simple philosophy of life. Her
world was changed and beautiful in the loneliness of the woods by reason
of her Master's presence.
This removes the commonplace at once clear out of one's life. There is no
drudgery nor humdrum nor hardship, because everything is for Jesus, and
seen through His eyes. Whatever comes in the pathway of his work is
gladdest joy, whether an obscure narrow round of home work or shop or
store, or leaving home for a strange land far across the sea with a
peculiarly uncongenial spirit atmosphere. Contact with Jesus, seeing Him,
changes all for us.
Talking with Jesus.
These two men in the story went from their first looking into closer
contact. They looked at Jesus. Then they talked with Jesus. It was at His
own request. He wanted them. He wanted their friendship and their help.
Having started, it was easy for them to go. Having seen, they naturally
wanted more. At least two hours they talked, maybe longer. Judging by what
they did as soon as they got away, it was a most wonderful talk for them.
This Jesus took them at once. His face, His presence, His talk, Himself
filled all their sky. Everything swung around into a new setting. He was
its center. All things began to adjust themselves for these men about
Jesus. He was irresistible to them. These two men went through some most
trying experiences as a result of the friendship formed that evening hour,
but these counted not in the scale with _Him_. They never got over the
talk with Him that twilight hour.
That two hours' talk lengthened out into many another during the years
immediately after. They got into the habit of referring everything to Him,
and of judging everything by what He would think. It was so clear to the
end of their lives. For a little over three years did they keep Him by
their side actually, physically. But the habit of keeping Him there was
fixed for all the longer after years. The looking at Jesus and talking
with Jesus ever went side by side clear to the end of the years.
It will be so. Getting a good look at this Master draws one off into the
quiet corner with the Book to listen and talk and learn more. And out of
this naturally grows (if one will give a little attention to good
gardening rules) the habit of talking with Him all the time. In the thick
of the crowd, in the solitude of one's duties, with hands full of work,
the heart talks with Him and listens, and sometimes the tongue talks out
too. Our common word for it is prayer. Prayer precedes true service, and
produces it, and sweetens it. Only the service that grows up naturally out
of this personal contact with Jesus counts and tells and weighs for the
Getting Somebody Else.
These two men went away from Jesus that evening only to come back with
some others. They went from talking with Him to talking with others for
Him. Their personal contact was the beginning of their service. This is
one of the famous personal work chapters. There are three "findeths" in
it. Andrew findeth his brother Peter. That was a great find. John in his
modesty doesn't speak of it, but in all likelihood he findeth James _his_
brother. Jesus findeth Philip and Philip in turn findeth Nathaniel, the
That word findeth is very suggestive, even to being picturesque. It tells
the absence of these other men. Their whereabouts might be guessed, but
were not known. There was in the searchers a purpose, and a warmth in the
heart under that purpose. As Andrew looked and listened he said to
himself, "Peter must hear this; Peter must see this Man." And perhaps he
asks to be excused and, reaching for his hat, hastens out to get his
brother and bring him back to the house. He wants more himself, but he'll
get it with Peter in too. And so it would be with John likely.
Peter had to be searched for. Most men do. He was probably absorbed with
all his impulsive intensity in some matter on hand. May be Andrew had to
pull quite a bit to get him started. But he got him. Andrew was a good
sticker: hard to shake him off. His is a fine name for a brotherhood of
personal workers. And when Peter once got started he never quit going. He
stumbled some, but he got up, and got up only to go on. Most men need some
one to get them started. There's need of more starters, more of us
starting people moving Jesus' way.
I think the memory of this evening's work with Peter must have come back
very vividly to Andrew one morning a few years afterwards. It's up on the
hills of Judea, in Jerusalem. There's a great crowd of people standing in
the streets, filling the space for a great distance. There are some
thousands of them. They are listening spellbound to a man talking. It is
Peter. And down there near by, maybe holding Peter's hat while he talks,
is Andrew. His eyes are glowing. And if you might listen to his heart
talking, I think you would hear it saying softly, "I'm so glad I brought
Peter that evening I met Jesus." Peter's talk that day swung three
thousand men and women over to Jesus. Somebody has said that if Peter were
their spiritual father, certainly Andrew was their spiritual grandfather.
And I think God reckons the thing that way, too.
There is a great deal of good talk these days about regenerating society.
It used to be that men talked about "reaching the masses." Now the other
putting of it is commoner. It is helpful talk whichever way it is put. The
Gospel of Jesus is to affect all society. It _has_ affected all society,
and is to more and more. But the thing to mark keenly is this, the key to
the mass is the man. The way to regenerate society is to start on the
The law of influence through personal contact is too tremendous to be
grasped. You influence one man and you have influenced a group of men, and
then a group around each man of the group, and so on endlessly.
Hand-picked fruit gets the first and best market. The keenest marksmen are
picked out for the sharpshooters' corps.
The True Source of Strong Service.
One morning with a friend I walked out of the city of Geneva to where the
waters of the lake flow with swift rush into the Rhone. And we were both
greatly interested in the strange sight which has impressed so many
travellers. There are two rivers whose waters come together here, the
Rhone and the Arve, the Arve flowing into the Rhone. The waters of the
Rhone are beautifully clear and sparkling. The waters of the Arve come
through a clayey soil and are muddy, gray, and dull. And for a long
distance the two waters are wholly distinct. Two rivers of water are in
one river-bed, on one side the sparkling blue Rhone water, on the other
the dull gray Arve water, and the line between the two sharply defined.
And so it continues for a long distance. Then gradually they blend and the
gray begins to tinge all through the blue.
I went to the guide-book and maps to find out something about this river
that kept on its way undefiled by its neighbor for so long. Its source is
in a glacier that is between ten thousand and eleven thousand feet high,
descending "from the gates of eternal night, at the foot of the pillar of
the sun." It is fed continually by the melting glacier which, in turn, is
being kept up by the snows and cold. Rising at this great height, ever
being renewed steadily by the glacier, it comes rushing down the swift
descent of the Swiss Alps through the lake of Geneva and on. There is the
secret of purity, side by side with its dirty neighbor.
Our lives must have their source high up in the mountains of God, fed by a
ceaseless supply. Only so can there be the purity, and the momentum that
shall keep us pure, and keep us _moving_ down in contact with men of the
earth. And we must keep closer to the source than is the Rhone at Geneva,
else the streams flowing alongside will unduly influence us. Constant
personal contact with Jesus is the beginning ever new of service.
The Triple Life: The Perspective of Service.
On An Errand for Jesus.
The Parting Message.
A Secret Life of Prayer.
An Open Life of Purity.
An Active Life of Service.
The Perspective of True Service.
A Long Time Coming.
The Triple Life: The Perspective of Service.
(Luke ix:1-6; x:1-3, 17; John xx:19-23; Matthew xxviii:18-20.)
On An Errand for Jesus.
You remember there were four times that Jesus picked out a group of men,
and sent them on a special errand. About the middle of the second year of
His public life, He chose out twelve men and commissioned them for a
special bit of work. Six months before the tragic end, He chose seventy
others and sent them out in twos into all the places He was planning to
visit Himself. It was a remarkable campaign for carrying the news which He
was preaching into all the villages of that whole country through which
His journey south lay.
Then the evening of that never-to-be-forgotten resurrection day, under
wholly changed conditions, He again commissions ten men of that first
twelve. Things had radically changed with Jesus. And there had been a bad
break in the loyalty of these men. Two of their number are absent. Judas
has gone to his own place, and Thomas was not there that evening. His
absence cost him a week of doubting and mental distress. Ten of the old
inner circle are commissioned anew. And then do you remember the last time
they were together? It was about six weeks later, on the rounded top of
the old Olives Mount, the eleven men with the Master. Four times He
commissioned a group of men for some service He wanted done.
There are two things in these four commissions that make them alike. The
same two things are in each. The first thing is this: they are bidden to
"go." That ringing word "go ye" is in, each time. "As the Father hath sent
Me even so send I you." It is a familiar word to every follower of Jesus
then, and now, and always. A true follower of His always is stirred by a
spirit of _"go."_ A going Christian is a growing Christian. A going church
has always been a growing church. Those ages when the church lost the
vision of her Master's face on Olives, and let other sounds crowd out of
her ears the sound of His voice, were stagnant ages. They are commonly
spoken of in history as the dark ages. "Go" is the ringing keynote of the
Christian life, whether in a man or in the church.
The second thing found always in each of these commissions is this: they
were qualified, or empowered to go. Whom God calls He always qualifies.
Where His voice comes His Spirit breathes. If there has come to you some
bit of a call to service, to teach a class, or write a special letter, or
speak a word, or take up something needing to be done. And you hesitate.
You think that you cannot. You are not fit, you think, not qualified. The
thing to do is to do it.
If the call is clear go ahead. Need is one of the strong calling voices of
God. It is always safe to respond. Put _out_ your foot in the answering
swing, even though you cannot see clearly the place to put it _down_. God
attends to that part. Power comes _as we go_.
The Parting Message.
Just now I want to talk with you a bit about the last one of these
commissions, the Olivet commission. I do not know just what day it was
given or at what hour. But I have thought it was in the twilight of a
Sabbath evening. There's a yellow glow of light filling all the western
sky running along the broken line of those hills yonder, and through the
trees, and in upon this group of men standing.
Here in full view lies little Bethany fragrant with memories of Jesus'
power. Over yonder, those tree tops down in a bit of valley with the
brook--that is _Gethsemane_. And farther over there is the fortress city
of _Jerusalem_. And just outside its wall is the bit of a knoll called
_Calvary_. Here under these trees every night that last week of the
tragedy Jesus had slept out in the open, with His seamless coat wrapped
about Him. This is the spot He chooses for the good-by word. It is full of
most precious, fragrant memories.
Here is the man who has been Simon, but out of whom a new man was coming
these days, Peter, the man of rock. And here are John and James, sons of
fire and of thunder, sons of their mother. And there, little Scotch
Andrew. At least our Scotch friends seem to have adopted him as their very
own. And close by his side is his friend with the Greek name, Philip. And
here the man to whom Jesus paid the great tribute of naming him the
And the others, not so well known to us, but very well known to Jesus, and
to be not a whit less faithful than their brothers these coming days. But
somehow as you look you are at once irresistibly drawn past these to
_Him_--the Man in the midst. The Man with the great face, torn with the
thorns, and cut with the thongs, but shining with a sweet, wondrous,
It is the last time they are together. He is going away; coming back soon,
they understand. They do not know just how soon. But meanwhile in His
absence they are to be as He Himself would be if He remained among men.
They are to stand for Him. And so with eyes fixed on His face they look,
and listen, and wonder a bit, just what the last word will be.
What would you expect it to be? It was the good-by word between men who
were lovers, dearest friends. The tenderest thing would be said and the
most important. The one going away would speak of that which lay closest
down in His own heart. And whatever He might say would sink deepest into
their hearts, and control their action in the after days.
He had been talking to them very insistently, about an hour before, down
in the city, about _waiting there_ until the Holy Spirit came upon them.
And that word has fastened itself into their minds with newly sharpened
hooks of steel points. Now He talks about their being His witnesses, here
at home among their own folks, and out among their half-breed Samaritan
neighbors, whom they didn't like, and then--with eyes looking yearningly
out and finger pointing steadily out--to the farthest reach of the planet.
And now, as He is about to go, this is the word that comes from those
"All power hath been given unto Me.
Therefore go ye,
And make disciples of all nations."
A Secret Life of Prayer.
There are four things in that good-by word. Three are directly spoken, and
one is not spoken, but directly implied. First is this, your chief work is
to win men. That is directly said. The second is implied--it is the
toughest task you ever undertook. That is implied in this that it will
take more power than they have. A power that only He has. A supernatural
power. And we all know how true that is. Of all luggage man is the hardest
to move. He _won't_ move unless he _will_. Every man of us that has ever
tried to change somebody's else purpose knows how impossible it is unless
by the inward pull. You simply _cannot_ without the man's consent. The
third thing is this: I have all the power needed. The fourth this: _You_
And the Master meant to tell them, and to tell us, this: that a man should
lead a triple life, three lives in one. We sometimes hear of a man leading
a double life in a bad sense. In a good sense, every one of us should be
living a triple life, three distinct lives in one. The first of these
three lives is this: _a secret life, lived with Jesus, hidden from the
eyes of men_. An inner life of closest contact with Him, that the outside
folks know nothing about.
Notice again the four statements in that good-by word. Your chief concern
is to win men. It is the toughest task you ever undertook: it will take
supernatural power. I have all the power you need. Instinctively you feel
as though the fourth thing should be, "I will go." That would seem to be
the logical conclusion. "No," Jesus says, "_you go_." Plainly if we are to
do something taking supernatural power, and we haven't any such power of
ourselves, there must be the closest kind of contact with the source of
power. The man who is to go must be in the most intimate contact with the
Man who has the powers needed in the going.
And this is simply a law of all life, given to us here by life's greatest
Philosopher. The seen depends upon the secret always. The outer keys upon
the inner. The life that men see depends wholly upon the life that only
the Master sees. David had power to slay the lion and bear in secret, away
from the gaze of men, before he had power to slay the giant before the
wondering eyes of two nations. The closet becomes the swivel of the
In crossing the ocean there are two great dangers to be dreaded and
guarded against, aside from the storms that may arise. The greater of
these is an abandoned ship. One that through some stress of storm has been
left by the sailors in the attempt to save their lives. It is most
dangerous because it sends no warning ahead of its presence. In crossing
the Atlantic by the more northern routes the other danger is from the
icebergs that may be met in the steamer's path. If a fog obscure the
lookout the boat is slowed down, and a man kept busy with line and
thermometer taking the temperature of the water. The iceberg is kindlier
than the derelict, in the chill it sends out. The presence of the danger
can so be detected, and measures taken to avoid it.
But the great danger here is not simply in the huge mountain of ice that
you see looming up against the sky, great as that is. It is in the unseen
ice. Hidden away below is a mountain of ice twice as large and heavy as
that seen above the water's surface. The danger lies in the terrific force
of a blow from this hidden pile that would crush the strongest steel
steamer, as I might crush an egg-shell in my fingers.
We all admire the beauty of the trees that rear their heads, and send out
their branches, and make the world so beautiful with their soft green
foliage. But have you thought of the twin tree, the unseen tree that
belongs to these we see? For every tree that grows up and out with its
beauty and fruit there is another. The twin tree goes down and out.
Sometimes, as far as this we see goes _up_, the other goes _down_; as far
as the branches go out so far do the underneath branches go out,
sometimes farther. This unseen tree is ever busy drawing moisture, and
food from the soil and sending it, ceaselessly sending it, up to the upper
tree. The beauty and fruitfulness above are because of this secret life of
I remember as a boy going to the bathroom in our home one day to draw some
water. But none came. There were a few drops, and some sputtering--there's
very apt to be sputtering when there is nothing else--but no flow of
water. And I wondered why. Soon I found that the main pipe in the street
was being fixed, and the water had been cut off at the curb. There was
water in the pipe clear from the curbstone up to the spigot, but I could
not get it because the reservoir connection under the ground had been
I have met some people since then that made me think of that. There is a
reservoir of water, clear and sweet, with which they have had connection,
and are supposed still to have. But when some thirsty body comes up for a
bit of refreshment, there's some sputtering, some noise, may be a few
stray drops--but no more. And folks seem thirstier because they were
expecting a cool, satisfying drink that never came.
I think I know why it is so. The secret connection with the reservoir has
been tampered with. There _must_ be the secret contact with Jesus
cultivated habitually if there is to be a sweet, strong outer life. And
not cultivated by hothouse methods. Such plants won't stand the chilly air
outside the glass-house. Cultivated by natural, simple contact with Jesus,
over His Word, habitually, until everything comes under the influence of
that secret life.
One day a man was standing on a busy downtown thoroughfare in Cleveland
waiting for a car. There was a thick, dirty wire hanging down from the
cross arm high up of the wire pole. He happened to stop there. And
absorbed in thought, he mechanically put out his hand and took hold of the
wire. Instantly a look of intense agony came into his face. His arm, and
whole body began twisting and writhing. Then he fell to the ground
lifeless. The dirty-looking wire had direct connections with the
power-house. It was throbbing with a strong current. It was a "live" wire.
Some men who have seemed quite unattractive in the light of some modern
standards have been found on touch to be charged with a life current of
tremendous power. And some others, outwardly more attractive, have been
found to be as powerless as a dead wire. And some there have been, and
are, very winsome and attractive in themselves, and charged with the life
current too. The great thing is the secret connections carefully
maintained with the source of power.
There must be the closest kind of touch with God if His plan through us
for a planet is to carry out. We do not run on the storage battery plan,
but on the trolley plan, or the third rail. There must be constant full
touch with the feed wire or rail. And that "must" should be spelled in
capitals, and printed in red, and triply underscored.
A man _must_ plan for the bit of quiet time daily, preferably in the early
morning, alone with Jesus; with the door shut, the Book open, the spirit
quiet, the mind alert, the knee bent, the will bent too. If it be
resolutely _planned_ for it can be gotten in every life. If not planned
for with a bit of red iron in the will, it will surely slip out. And the
man will surely slip down.
Here is found the spirit in which a man may live all the day long,
wherever his feet may tread, in the fierce competition of trade, or in the
deadly enervation of some society circles. Out of such a man shall
breathe, all unconsciously to himself, an atmosphere fragrant as a
mountain breeze over a field of wild roses. This is the first life Jesus
bids us live.
An Open Life of Purity.
The second life we are to live is the exact reverse of this. It is indeed
the outer side of this: _an open life of purity lived among men for
Jesus_. Note again the logic of that good-by word. Your chief business is
to be down there in the thick of the crowd, winning men out of the dust
and dirt up into a new life of purity. It is the hardest job any man ever
undertook. It is practically impossible unless you have a power quite more
than human. Jesus quietly says, "I have the power that will do it."
Again you feel that He must say next, "_I_ will go." The thing must be
done. It is the one thing worth while. It will require a power we haven't.
_He_ has it. You feel as though _He_ must do the going. "No," He says,
with great emphasis. "_You_ go. You be I; you live my life over again,
down there among men." The "Ye" and "Me" in that sentence are meant to be
He is asking us to live His life over again among men. No, it is more than
that. He is asking us to let Him live His life over again in each of us.
The Man with the power that men can't resist would reach out to them
_through us._ He would be touching them in us. Jesus said, "As the Father
hath sent Me, even so send I you." He said again, "He that hath seen Me
hath seen the Father." Jesus embodied the Father to men. He asks us to
take His place and embody Himself to men.
Paul understood this thoroughly. In writing to the friends throughout
Galatia, whom he had won up to Jesus, he says, "I have been crucified
with Christ." There is an old dead "I." "Nevertheless I live." There is a
new living "I." "Yet not I--the old I--but Christ liveth in me." _He_ was
the new I. There was a new personality within Paul. I never weary of
recalling what Martin Luther said about that verse in the comment he made
on Galatians. You remember he said, "If somebody should knock at my
heart's door, and ask who lives here, I must not say 'Martin Luther lives
here.' I would say 'Martin Luther--is--dead--Jesus--Christ--lives--here.'"
I wonder if any of us has ever been taken for Jesus. I wonder if anybody
has ever _mistaken_ any of us for Him. You remember, He used to move among
men after the resurrection, and while they would feel the gentle
winsomeness of His presence and talk, they did not recognize Him. Has
somebody run across you or me sometime, and been with us a little while,
and then gone away saying to himself, "I wonder if that was Jesus back
again in disguise. He seemed so much like what I think Jesus must have
Well, if it were so, of course we would not be conscious of it. A
Jesus-man is never absorbed in thinking about himself. He is taken up with
Jesus, and with folks. A man is always least conscious of the power of his
own presence and life. Everybody else knows more about it than he does.
Plainly this is the Master's plan for each of us. And more, it is the
result when He is allowed free sway.
The controlling principle of His life was to please His Father. The
pervading purpose and passion was to win men out and up. The
characteristics of His life were purity, unselfishness, sympathy, and
simplicity. We are to be as He. He was the Father to all the race of men.
Each of us is to be Jesus to his circle.
Please notice I'm not talking about lips just now but about lives. The
life is the indorsement of the lips. It makes the words of the lips more
than they sound or seem. Or, it makes them less, sometimes pitiably less,
little more than a discount clerk ever busily at work. The words ever go
to the level of the life, up or down. Water seeks its level persistently.
So do one's words, and they find it more quickly than the water, for they
go _through_ all obstructions. And the life is the leveler of the words,
up or down.
So far as this second life is concerned a man's lips might be sealed, and
his tongue dumb, but his life in its purity and simplicity, its
unselfishness and sympathetic warmness will ever be spelling out Jesus.
And He will be spelled out so big and plain that the man hurriedly
running, or lazily creeping, or half blind in a cloud of dust, will be
stopping and reading. If there were but more re-incarnations of Jesus how
folks would be coming a-running to Him.
Do you remember that prayer in blank verse of the old Scottish preacher
and poet and saint, Horatius Bonar? He said:
"Oh, turn me, mould me, mellow me for use.
Pervade my being with Thy vital force,
That this else inexpressive life of mine
May become eloquent and full of power,
Impregnated with life and strength divine.
Put the bright torch of heaven into my hand,
That I may carry it aloft
And win the eye of weary wanderers here below
To guide their feet into the paths of peace.
I cannot raise the dead,
Nor from this soil pluck precious dust,
Nor bid the sleeper wake,
Nor still the storm, nor bend the lightning back,
Nor muffle up the thunder,
Nor bid the chains fall from off creation's long enfettered limbs.
_But_ I can live a life that tells on other lives,
And makes this world less full of anguish and of pain;
A life that like the pebble dropped upon the sea
Sends its wide circles to a hundred shores.
May such a life be mine.
Creator of true life, Thyself the life Thou givest,
Give Thyself, that Thou mayst dwell in me, and I
An Active Life of Service.
The third life is _a life of active service, of aggressive earnestness in
winning men._ I say aggressive. That word does not mean noise and dust,
shuffling of feet, and bustling confusion. It means rather the steady,
steady movement of the sun which noiselessly, dustlessly, moves onward,
hour after hour, day in and day out, regardless of any storms, or
disturbances. It means the quiet, peaceful, but resistless uninterrupted
movement of the moon rising night after night, and going through its
circle of action. Earnestness means the burning of the inner spirit. Its
fires dim not, for they are fed continually from secret sources.
This third life is spoken of directly: "Go ye and make disciples." The
going is to be continued until folks farthest away have heard. Some people
are bounded by the horizon of the town where they live, some by the
particular church to which they belong, some the denomination, some the
state, or even the nation. Jesus fixes the horizon of His follower as that
of the world. Jesus was visionary. He talked about all nations, a race, a
All are to go. They are to go to all. Some may be made wholly free, by
arrangement with their fellow-followers, to give their full strength and
time to the direct going and telling. These are highly favored in
privilege. Some of these may go to deserted darkened places in the home
land. Some may go to the city slum, which in its dire need is of close kin
to the foreign-mission land. These are yet more highly favored in
Some may go to those far distant lands where Jesus is not known, where the
need of Him is so pathetically great. These are the most highly favored in
the privilege of service accorded them. Many others have been left free of
the necessity of earning bread and home and clothing and so have a rare
opportunity of devoting themselves to the going, as the Spirit of Jesus
guides. Many are given the talent to earn easily, and so, if they will,
may give much strength to service.
The great majority everywhere and always are absorbed for most of the
waking hours of the day in earning something to eat, and something to
wear, and somewhere to sleep. Yet where there is the warm touch with Jesus
there will come the yearning for purity, and the life of service. With
these as with all there may be the service, strong and sweetly fragrant.
There is always some bit of spare time, with planning, that can be used in
direct service in church, or school, or mission. And the secret life of
prayer will give a steadiness that will guard against the over-use of
There can be a personal going to some in words tactfully spoken. There is
the life of sweet purity and gentle patience always so winsome, that
speaks all the time in musical tones to one's circle. There is an
enormous, unconscious aggressiveness about such a life. Then there can be
the going through gold. And the entire planet can be brought under one's
thumb of influence through the strangely simple power of prayer.
I have been running across some new versions of this last word of Jesus. A
sort of re-revisions they are. I have not found them in the common print,
but printed in lives, the lives of men. The print is large, chiefly
capitals, easily read. These lives are so noisy as to quite shut out what
the lips may be saying. There are variations in these translations.
Sometime the message is made to read like this: "All power hath been given
unto Me, therefore go ye, and make--coins of gold--oh, belong to church of
course--that is proper and has many advantages--and give too. There are
advantages about that--give freely, or make it seem freely--give to
missions at home and abroad. That is regarded as a sure sign of a liberal
spirit. But be careful about the _proportion_ of your giving. For the real
thing that counts at the year's end is how much you have added to the
stock of dollars in your grasp. These other things are good, but--merely
incidental. This thing of getting gold is the main drive."
Please understand me, I never heard any of these folks talk in this blunt
way with their _tongues_. So far as I can hear, they are saying something
quite different. But what their tongues are saying is made indistinct and
blurred by some noise near by.
Other translations I have run across have this variation: "Make a place
for yourself, in your profession, in society. Make a comfortable
living;--with a wide margin of meaning to that word 'comfortable'--belong
to the church, become a pillar, or at least move in the pillar's circle,
give of course, even freely in appearance, but remember these are the dust
in the scale, the other is the thing that weighs. All of one's energies
must be centered on the main thing."
May I ask you to listen very quietly, while I repeat the Master's own
words over very softly and clearly, so that they may get into the inner
cockles of our hearts anew? "All power hath been given unto Me; therefore
go ye, and _make disciples of all nations_." These other translations are
wrong. They are misleading. _The one main thing is influencing men for
The Perspective of True Service.
It is not the only thing by any means. There is a multitude of things
perfectly proper and that must be done and well done. But through all
their doing is to run this one strong purpose. These other things are
details, important details, indispensably important, yet details. The
other is the one main thing toward which the doing of all the others is to
bend and blend.
Please mark keenly that there are three lives here; three in one. The
secret life of prayer, the open life of purity, the active life of service
Not one, nor the other, not any two, but all three, this is the true
ideal. This is the true rounded life. And note sharply that this gives the
true perspective of service. The service life grows up out of the other
two. Its roots lie down in prayer and purity. This explains why so much
service is fruitless. It isn't rooted. There is no rich subsoil.
It seems to be a part of the hurt of sin that men do not keep the
proportion of things balanced, and never have. In former days men shut
themselves up behind great walls that they might be pleasing to God. They
shut out the noise that they might have quiet to pray. They thought to
shut out the sin that they might be pure, forgetting that they carried it
in with them.
In our day things have swung clean over to the other extreme. Now all is
activity. The emphasis of the time is upon doing. There is a lot of
running around, and rushing around. There is a great deal of activity that
seems inseparable from dust. The wheels make such a lot of noise as they
go around. _Doing_ that does not root down in the secret touch with
Jesus, may be quite vigorous for a time, but soon leaves behind as its
only memory withered up branches. This is a _practical_ age, we are
constantly told. Things must be judged by the standard of usefulness. That
is surely true, and good, but there is very serious danger that the true
perspective of service be lost in the dust that is being raised.
The imprint of this disproportion or lack of proportion can even be found
in the theological teaching of long ago and now. At one time religion was
defined as having to do with a man's relation to God. That was emphasized
to the utter hiding away of all else. In our own day the swing is clear
over to the other side. Definitions of religion that make everything of
helping one's brother and fellow, are the popular thing. There seems to be
a sort of astigmatism that keeps us from seeing things straight. Though
always there have been those that saw straight and lived truly.
Mark keenly that true touch with God always brings the longing to be pure,
and the loving of one's fellow. The nearer one gets to God the nearer will
he find himself getting to men. Often we find ourselves getting new
wonderful glimpses of God as we are eagerly helping somebody. Up seems to
include out, as though the line that drew us up to God led through men.
Yet with that always goes the other fact that touch with God makes one
long to be alone with Him.
There are always the three turnings of a true life, upward, inward,
outward. Upward to God, inward to self, outward to the world. The more one
knows God the keener is the longing to get off with Himself alone, the
deeper is the yearning to be pure, and the stronger is the passion to help
others regardless of any sacrifice involved.
A Long Time Coming.
There is an old story that caught fire in my heart the first time it came
to me, and burns anew at each memory of it. It told of a time in the
southern part of our country when the sanitary regulations were not so
good as of late. A city was being scourged by a disease that seemed quite
beyond control. The city's carts were ever rolling over the cobble-stones,
helping carry away those whom the plague had slain.
Into one very poor home, a laboring man's home, the plague had come. And
the father and children had been carried out until on the day of this
story there remained but two, the mother and her baby boy of perhaps five
years. The boy crept up into his mother's lap, put his arms about her
neck, and with his baby eyes so close, said, "Mother, father's dead, and
brothers and sister are dead;--if _you_ die, what'll I do?"
The poor mother had thought of it, of course, What could she say? Quieting
her voice as much as possible, she said, "If I die, Jesus will come for
you." That was quite satisfactory to the boy. He had been taught about
Jesus, and felt quite safe with Him, and so went about his play on the
floor. And the boy's question proved only too prophetic. And quick work
was done by the dread disease. And soon she was being laid away by strange
It is not difficult to understand that in the sore distress of the time
the boy was forgotten. When night came, he crept into bed, but could not
sleep. Late in the night he got up, found his way out along the street,
down the road, in to where he had seen the men put her. And throwing
himself down on the freshly shoveled earth, sobbed and sobbed until nature
kindly stole consciousness away for a time.
Very early the next morning a gentleman coming down the road from some
errand of mercy, looked over the fence, and saw the little fellow lying
there. Quickly suspecting some sad story, he called him, "My boy, what are
you doing there?--My boy, wake up, what are you doing there all alone?"
The boy waked up, rubbed his baby eyes, and said, "Father's dead, and
brothers and sister's dead, and now--_mother's_--dead--too. And she said,
if she did die, Jesus would come for me. And He hasn't come. And I'm so
tired waiting." And the man swallowed something in his throat, and in a
voice not very clear, said, "Well, my boy, I've come for you." And the
little fellow waking up, with his baby eyes so big, said "I think you've
been a long time coming."
Whenever I read these last words of Jesus or think of them, there comes up
a vision that floods out every other thing. It is of Jesus Himself
standing on that hilltop. His face is all scarred and marred, thorn-torn
and thong-cut. But it is beautiful, passing all beauty of earth, with its
wondrous beauty light. Those great eyes are looking out so yearningly,
_out_ as though they were seeing men, the ones nearest and those farthest.
His arm is outstretched with the hand pointing out. And you cannot miss
the rough jagged hole in the palm. And He is saying, _"Go ye."_ The
attitude, the scars, the eyes looking, the hand pointing, the voice
speaking, all are saying so intently, _"Go ye."_
And as I follow the line of those eyes, and the hand, there comes up an
answering vision. A great sea of faces that no man ever yet has numbered,
with answering eyes and outstretching hands. From hoary old China, from
our blood-brothers in India, from Africa where sin's tar stick seems to
have blackened blackest, from Romanized South America, and the islands,
aye from the slums, and frontiers, and mountains in the homeland, and from
those near by, from over the alley next to your house maybe, they seem to
come. And they are rubbing their eyes, and speaking. With lives so
pitifully barren, with lips mutely eloquent, with the soreness of their
hunger, they are saying, "You're a long time coming."
Shall we go? Shall we _not_ go? But how shall we best go? By keeping in
such close touch with Jesus that the warm throbbing of His heart is ever
against our own. Then will come a new purity into our lives as we go out
irresistibly attracted by the attraction of Jesus toward our fellows. And
then too shall go out of ourselves and out of our lives and service, a new
supernatural power touching men. It is Jesus within reaching men through
Yokefellows: The Rhythm of Service.
The Master's Invitation.
Surrender a Law of Life,
In Step With Jesus.
The Scar-marks of Surrender.
Full Power Through Rhythm.
He Is Our Peace.
The Master's Touch.
Yokefellows: The Rhythm of Service.
(Matthew xi. 25-30; Luke x:1, 17, 21-24.)
The Master's Invitation.
It was about six months before the tragic end that Jesus sent out
thirty-five deputations of two each. He was beginning that slow memorable
journey south that ended finally at the cross. These men are sent ahead to
prepare the way. By and by they return and make a glad exultant report of
the good results attending their work. Even the demons had acknowledged
the power of Jesus' name on their lips.
As He was listening Jesus looked up, and said, "Father, I thank Thee." And
then, as though He could see those great crowds to whom they had been
ministering in His name, He said, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are
heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of
Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto your
souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
There are two invitations here, "come" and "take." There are two sorts of
people. Those who are tugging and straining at work, and carrying heavy
burdens, and then those who have received rest, and are now asked to go a
step farther. There are two kinds of rest, a given rest, and a found rest.
The given rest cannot be found. It comes as a sheer out gift, from Jesus'
own hand. The found rest cannot be given, may I say? It comes stealing its
gentle way in as one fits into Jesus' plan for his life.
Many folks have accepted the first of these invitations. They have "come"
to Jesus, and received sweet rest from His hand. But they have gone no
farther. At the close of that first invitation there is a punctuation
period, a full stop. Some of the old schoolbooks used to say that one
should stop at a period and count four. Well, a great many people have
followed that old rule here, and more than followed. They have stopped at
that period, and never gotten past it. I want just now to ask you to come
with me as we talk together a bit about this second invitation, "Take My
Jesus used several different words in tying people up to Himself. There is
a growth in them, as He draws us nearer and nearer. First always is the
invitation "Come unto Me." That means salvation, life. Then He says,
"Follow Me," "Come after Me." That means discipleship. "Learn of Me"
means training in discipleship. "Yoke up with Me" means closest
fellowship. "Abide in Me" leads one out into abundant life. "As the Father
hath sent Me, even so send I you," means living Jesus' life over again.
And then the last "Go ye" is the outer reach of all, service for a world.
Surrender a Law of Life.
Just now we want to talk together over this little three-worded sentence
from Jesus' lips, "Take My yoke." What does it mean? Well, that word yoke
is used in all literature outside of this book, as well as here, to mean
this: surrender by one and mastery by another one. Where two nations have
fought and the weaker has been forced to yield, it is quite commonly
spoken of as wearing the yoke of the stronger nation. The Romans required
their prisoners of war to pass under a yoke, sometimes a common cattle
yoke, sometimes an improvised yoke, to indicate their utter subjugation.
These Hebrews to whom Jesus is speaking are writhing with sore shoulders
under the galling yoke of the Romans. One can imagine an emphasis placed
on the "My." As though Jesus would say, "You have one yoke now; change
yokes. Take _My_ yoke."
There is too a higher, finer meaning to this surrender when by mutual
arrangement and free consent there is a yielding of one to another for a
purpose. And so what Jesus means here is simply this--_surrender_. Bend
your head down, bend down your neck, even though it's a bit stiff going
your own way, and fit it into this yoke of mine. Surrender to Me as your
And somebody says, "I don't like that. 'Surrender!' that sounds like
force. I thought salvation was _free_." Will you please remember that the
principle of surrender is a law of all life. It is the law of military
life, inside the army. Every man there has surrendered to the officers
above him. In some armies that surrender has amounted to absolute control
of a man's person and property by the head of the army. It is the law of
naval service. The moment a man steps on board a man-of-war to serve he
surrenders the control of his life and movements absolutely to the officer
It is the law in public, political life. A man entering the President's
cabinet, as a secretary of some department, surrenders any divergent views
he may have to those of his chief. With the largest freedom of thought
that must always be where there are strong men, yet there must of
necessity be the one dominant will if the administration is to be a
powerful one. It is the law of commercial life. The man entering the
employ of a bank, a manufacturing concern, a corporation of any sort, in
whatever capacity, enters to do the will of somebody else. Always there
must be the one dominant will if there is to be power and success.
And then may I hush my voice and speak of the more sacred things very
softly and remind you of this. Surrender is the law of the highest form of
life known to us men. I mean wedded life. Where the surrender is not by
one to the other, but by each to the other. Two wills, always two wills
where there is strong life, yet in effect but one. Two persons but only
And so you see, Jesus, the Master, the greatest of earth's teachers and
philosophers, is striking the keynote of life when here He asks us to
surrender freely and wholly to Himself as the autocrat of our lives. He
asks us to bend our strong wills to His, to yield our lives, our plans,
our ambitions, our friendships, our gold, absolutely to His control.
And if you still do not like the sound of that word surrender. It has a
harsh sound that grates upon your nerves. Will you please notice the first
word of that little sentence--"Take." Jesus does not say in sharp, hard
tones, "Come here; bend down; I'll _put_ this yoke on you." Never that. If
you will, of your own glad accord, freely, winsomely _take_ the yoke upon
you--that is what He asks. In military usage surrender is _forced_. Here
it must be _free_. Nothing else would be acceptable to Jesus.
When our commissioners went a few years ago to Paris to treat with the
Spaniards, the latter are said to have desired certain changes in the
language of the protocol. With the polished suavity for which they are
noted the Spaniards urged that there be made slight changes in the
_words_: no real change in the meaning, they said, simply in the verbiage.
And our Judge Day at the head of the American Commissioners, listened
politely and patiently until the plea was presented. And then he quietly
said, "The article will be signed _as it reads_." And the Spaniards
protested, with much courtesy. The change asked for was trivial, merely in
the language, not in the force of the words. And our men listened
patiently and courteously. Then Mr. Day is said to have locked his little
square jaw and replied very quietly, "The article will be signed as it
reads." And the article was so signed. That is military usage. The
surrender was forced. The strength of the American fleets, the prestige of
great victory were back of the quiet man's demand.
But that is not the law here. Jesus asks for only what we give freely and
spontaneously. He does not want anything except what is given with a
free, glad heart. This is to be a _voluntary_ surrender. Jesus is a
voluntary Saviour. He wants only voluntary followers. He would have us be
as Himself. The oneness of spirit leads the way into the intimacy of
closest friendship. And that is His thought for us.
Do you remember those fine lines, "The quality of mercy is not
_strained_"--if the thing be forced through a strainer, there is no mercy
there--"it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven upon the place
beneath." Only what the warm current of His love draws out does Jesus
desire from us. It is to be a _free_ surrender.
And if you still knit your mental brows, and shrug your shoulder. The
thing hasn't yet shaken off the harshness you have been clothing it with.
Please notice the second word of that sentence--"My." "Take _My_ Yoke."
May I say gently but frankly that I would not surrender the control of my
life to any of you who are listening so kindly. And I surely would not ask
that I should be the autocrat of any of your lives. But--when--_Jesus_
comes along. The Man with the marvelous face all torn and scarred, but
with that great, soft, shining light. I do not know just how all of you
feel. I can guess how some of you feel. But I know one man who cannot
respond too quickly and eagerly. The only thing to do is to make the will
as strong as it can be made, and then to use all of its strength in
surrendering eagerly to this matchless Man Jesus. Doubtless many of you
know fully that same eagerness, and maybe more.
I remember a simple story that twined its clinging tendril lingers about
my heart. It was of a woman whose long years had ripened her hair, and
sapped her strength. She was a true saint in her long life of devotion to
God. She knew the Bible by heart, and would repeat long passages from
memory. But as the years came the strength went, and with it the memory
gradually went too, to her grief. She seemed to have lost almost wholly
the power to recall at will what had been stored away.
But one precious bit still stayed. She would sit by the big sunny window
of the sitting room in her home, repeating over that one bit, as though
chewing a delicious titbit, "I know whom I have believed and am persuaded
that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that
day." By and by part of that seemed to slip its hold, and she would
quietly be repeating, "that which I have committed to Him."
The last few weeks as the ripened old saint hovered about the border land
between this and the spirit world her feebleness increased. Her loved
ones would notice her lips moving. And thinking she might be needing some
creature comfort they would go over and bend down to listen for her
request. And time and again they found the old saint repeating over to
herself one word, over and over again, the same one word,
"Him--_Him_--Him." She had list the whole Bible but one word. But she had
the whole Bible in that one word. Did she not? This is a surrender to
_Him_, the Man of the Book. The Man of all life.
They tell me that on a farm the yoke means service. Cattle are yoked to
serve, and to serve better, and to serve more easily. This is a surrender
for service, not for idleness. In military usage surrender often means
being kept in enforced idleness and under close guard. But this is not
like that. It is all up on a much higher plane. Jesus has every man's
life planned. It always awes me to recall that simple tremendous fact.
With loving strong thoughtfulness He has thought into each of our lives,
and planned it out, in whole, and in detail. He comes to a man and
says, "_I know_ you. I have been _thinking_ about you." Then very
softly--"I--_love_--you. I _need_ you, for a plan of Mine. _Please_ let
Me have the control of your life and all your power, for My plan." It is a
surrender for service.
It is _yoked_ service. There are two bows or loops to a yoke. A yoke in
action has both sides occupied, and as surely as I bow down My head and
slip it into the bow on one side--I know there is _Somebody else_ on the
other side. It is yoked living now, yoked fellowship, yoked service. It is
not working _for_ God now. It is working _with_ Him. Jesus never sends
anybody ahead alone. He treads down the pathway through every thicket,
pushes aside the thorn-bushes, and clears the way, and then says with that
taking way of His, "Come along with Me. Let's go together, you and I."
A man got up in a meeting to speak. It was down in Rhode Island, out a bit
from Providence. He was a farmer, an old man. He had become a Christian
late in life, and this evening was telling about his start. He had been a
rough, bad man. He said that when he became a Christian even the cat knew
that some change had taken place. That caught my ear. It had a genuine
ring. It seemed prophetic of the better day coming for all the lower
animal creation. So I listened.
He said that the next morning after the change of purpose he was going
down to the village a little distance from his farm. He swung along the
road, happy in heart, singing softly to himself, and thinking about the
Saviour. All at once he could feel the fumes coming out of a saloon ahead.
He couldn't see the place yet, but his keen trained nose felt it. The
odors came out strong, and gripped him.
He said he was frightened, and wondered how he would get by. He had never
gone by before, he said; always gone in; but he couldn't go in now. But
what to do, that was the rub. Then he smiled, and said, "I remembered, and
I said, 'Jesus, you'll have to come along and help me get by, I never can
by myself.'" And then in his simple, illiterate way he said, "_and He
come_--and _we_ went by, and we've been going by ever since."
Ah, the old Rhode Island farmer had found the whole simple philosophy of
the true life. Our Yokefellow is always there alongside. Every temptation
that comes to us He has felt the sharp edge of, and can overcome. Every
problem, every difficulty, every opportunity He knows, and is right there,
swinging in rhythmic step alongside. It's yoked living and yoked service.
In Step with Jesus.
Then please mark keenly that this surrender is for _surrendered_ service.
No free-lancing here. No guerrilla warfare, no bushwhacking. There seems
to be quite a lot of that, in this army. Some earnest folks are very busy
"helping God out," regardless of the general movement of the whole army.
And a great help they are too--they _think_. It would be difficult to see
how God would ever get along without them--they _seem_ to think. Poor
folks, they have gotten so covered with the dust made by their own feet
that they've completely lost track of things. There is a Lord to this
harvest. There is a great Commander-in-chief to this campaign. He has the
whole campaign for a _world_ carefully planned out. And each man's part in
it is planned too. He knows best what needs to be done. He sees keenly the
strategic points, and the emergencies. If only He could but depend on our
ears being trained to know His voice, and our wills trained to simple,
full obedience, how much difference it would make to Him. Simple, full
strong obedience seems to take the keenest intelligence, the strongest
will, and the most thorough discipline.
"Just to ask Him what to do,
All the day.
And to make you quick and true
This surrender is for glad, obedient surrendered service.
And note too that it is for _training_ in service. They tell me that
where cattle are yoked for work it is usual to put a young restive beast
with an old, steady-going animal. The old worker sets the pace, and pulls
evenly, steadily ahead, and by and by the young undisciplined beast
gradually comes to learn the pace. That seems to fit in here with graphic
realness. So many of us seem to be full of an undisciplined unseasoned
strength. There are apt to be some hard drives ahead, and then pulling
back with a sudden jerk, and side lunges this way and that. There is
splendid strength, and eager willingness, but not much is accomplished for
lack of the steady, steady going regardless of rocks or ruts.
Jesus says, "Yoke up with Me. Let's pull together, you and I." And if we
will pull steadily along, content to be by His side, and to be hearing His
quiet voice, and _always to keep His pace_, step by step with Him, without
regard to seeing results, all will be well, and by and by the best results
and the largest will be found to have come. And remember that as on the
farm, so here, the yoke is always carefully adjusted so that the young
learner may have the easier pulling.
But it is well to put in this bit of a caution. If a man put his head into
the yoke, and then _pull back_--well, there'll be a man with a badly
chafed, sore neck in that neighborhood, and oil will be in demand. The
one safe rule is swinging straight ahead, steady, steady, without even
stopping to decide if the plow has cut properly, or if it is worth while.
The Scar-marks of Surrender.
Then Jesus adds this: "Learn of Me." I used to wonder just what that
means. But I think I know a part of its meaning now. You remember the
Hebrews had a scheme of qualified slavery. A man might sell his service
for six years but at the end of that time he was scot-free. On the New
Year's morning of the seventh year he was given his full liberty, and
given some grain and oil to begin life with anew.
But if on that morning he found himself reluctant to leave, all his ties
binding him to his master's home, this was the custom among them. He would
say to his master, "I don't want to leave you. This is home to me. I love
you and the mistress. I love the place. All my ties and affections are
here. I want to stay with you always." His master would say, "Do you mean
this?" "Yes," the man would reply, "I want to belong to you forever."
Then his master would call in the leading men of the village or
neighborhood to witness the occurrence. And he would take his servant out
to the door of the home, and standing him up against the door-jamb would
pierce the lobe of his ear through with an awl. I suppose like a
shoemaker's awl. Then the man became not his slave, but his bond-slave,
forever. It was a personal surrender of himself to his master; it was
voluntary; it was for love's sake; it was for service; it was after a
trial; it was for life.
Now that was what Jesus did. If you will turn to that Fortieth Psalm,
from which we read, you will find words that are plainly prophetic of
Jesus, and afterwards quoted as referring to Him. "Mine ears hast Thou
opened, or digged or pierced for me." And in the fiftieth chapter of
Isaiah, revised version, are these words likewise prophetic of Jesus.
"The Lord God hath _opened_ mine ear, and _I was not rebellious, neither
turned away backward._ I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to
them that plucked off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and
And the truth is this. May the Spirit of God burn it deep into our hearts.
_Jesus was a surrendered Man._ Stop a bit and think into what that means.
Jesus is the giant Man of the human race, thought of just now as a man,
though He was so much more, too. In His wisdom as a teacher, His calm
poised judgment, the purity of His life, the tremendous power of His
personality in swaying man, He clear overtops the whole race of men. Now
that Master Man, that giant of the race, was a surrendered Man. For
instance run through John's Gospel, and pick out the negatives on His
lips, the "nots." Not His own will, nor His own words, nor His own
teaching, nor His own works. Jesus came to earth to do Somebody's else
will. With all His giant powers He was utterly absorbed in doing what some
One else wished done. And now this giant Man, this surrendered Man, says,
"You do as I have done. Learn of Me: I am wholly given up to doing My
Father's will. You be wholly surrendered to Me, and so together we will
carry out the Father's will."
Some one of a practical turn says, "That sounds very nice, but is it not a
bit fanciful? The lobe of Jesus' ear was not pierced through, was it?" No.
You are right. The scar-mark of Jesus' surrender was not in His ear, as
with the old Hebrew slave. You are quite right. It was in His cheek, and
brow, on His back, in His side and hands and feet. The scar-marks of His
surrender were--are--all over His face and form. Everybody who surrenders
bears some scar of it because of sin, his own or somebody's else.
Referring to the suffering endured in service Paul tenderly reckons it as
a mark of Jesus' ownership--"I bear the scars, the _stigmata_, of the Lord
Jesus." Even of the Master Himself is this so.
And that scarred Jesus whose body told and tells of His surrender to His
Father comes to us. And with those hands eagerly outstretched, and eyes
beaming with the earnestness of His great passion for men, He says, "Yoke
up with Me, please. Let Me have the control of all your splendid powers,
in carrying out our Father's will for a world."
Full Power through Rhythm.
Then Jesus, with a sweep, gathers up all the results in a single sentence,
"Ye shall find rest unto your souls." Some one may be thinking, "I do not
feel the need of rest or peace so much. I am hungry for power." Will you
please notice that Jesus is going to the very root of the thing here.
There must be peace before there can be power. _You_ shall find peace.
_Others_ shall find power. You will be conscious of the sweet sense of
peace within. Others will be conscious of the fragrant power breathing out
of your life, and service, and your very person.
These things, peace and power, are the same. They are different movements
of the same river of God. The presence of God in fine harmony with you,
that it is that brings the sweet peace. And that too it is that brings the
gracious power into the life. The inward flow of the river is peace. The
outward flow of the same stream is power. There cannot be power save as
there is peace. There is nothing that hinders and holds back power as does
friction. That is true in mechanics: a bit of friction grit between the
wheels will check the full working of the machinery. A small nut fallen
down out of place will completely stop the machine and bring all of its
power to a standstill.
This is _heart_ rest. The heart is the center, the citadel of the life.
When the heart rests all is at rest. If the citadel can be captured the
outworks are included. It is a _found_ rest. It comes quietly stealing its
soft way in as you go about your regular round of life. Just where you
are, in the thick of the old circumstances and conditions, there comes
breathing gently into your very being the great fragrant peace of God. You
find it coming in. There is all the zest of finding.
It is rest _in service_. To many folks those two words "yoke" and "rest"
have seemed to jar, as though they did not get along well together. But
they do. The jarring is not in them but in our misunderstanding of them. A
yoke, we have thought, means work. Rest means quitting work; no more need
of work. But that is a bit of the hurt of sin that gets so many things
wrong end to.
"Rest is not quitting
The busy career;
Rest is the fitting
Of self to its sphere."
True rest is in the unhurried rhythm of action. Have you thought of when
your heart rests? It does not stop, of course, while life lasts. But it
rests. It rests between beats. A beat and a rest. A throb of power and a
moment of perfect rest. A mighty motion that sends the warm red life
through all the intricate machinery of the body; then quiet composed rest.
The secret of the immeasurable power of this organ we call the heart lies
just here. There is enough power in a normal human heart to batter down
Bunker Hill Monument if it could be centered upon it. The secret of that
power is in the rhythm of action that combines motion with rest. We call
rhythm of color, beauty. Rhythm of sound is music. Rhythm of action is
I have often stood as a boy on the streets of old Philadelphia, and
watched a gang of foreign laborers at work. As a rule they could speak
only the language of their own fatherland. There would be a gang-boss to
direct their movements. Perhaps it was a huge stone to be moved, or a
piece of structural iron, or a heavy rail to be torn up. The ends of their
crowbars were fitted under the thing to be moved. Then they waited a
moment for the gang-boss to give the word. He would say, "heave ho!"
Then all together they would sing "heave ho," and push. And a "heave ho,"
and push; a "heave ho," and a push. They made perfect music. There was
always a small crowd gathered, watching and enjoying the simple music.
Their work was easier because done rhythmically. This, of course, is the
simple philosophy that provides music for soldiers on march. The men can
walk much longer, and farther, with less fatigue if they go to the sound
The story is told of the contracts for some bridge-building in the Soudan
being carried off by American bidders. Their competitors in the bidding
specified a year's time or so, for the work. The Americans agreed to do it
in three months. They were awarded the contract, and to the others'
surprise had the work completed within the specified time.
One of the contractors who had bid for the job on the basis of a year's
time said afterwards to the successful contractor, "I wish, if you
wouldn't mind doing so, you would tell me how you ever got that work done
in so short a time with those undisciplined Soudanese natives for
workmen. I have had them on other contracts and I know I couldn't have
done it. How did you ever do it?"
And the American, whose blood was British a generation or two back, and
farther back yet Teutonic, smiled as he quietly said, "We had a band of
native musicians playing the liveliest music they knew within earshot of
every gang of laborers, while our gang-bosses kept them steadily at work."
Rhythm is the secret of power. Full rhythm is possible only where there is
full obedience to nature. The man in full sweet harmony with God in all of
his life knows the stilling ecstasy of peace, and the marvelous outgoings
of real power. You shall find within your heart the great stilling calm of
God, as steadying as the rock of ages, as exhilarating as the subtle
fragrance of flowers, and as restful as a mother's bosom to her babe.
He is Our Peace.
But there is something here finer yet by far than this. Everything God
provides for us is personal. There is always the personal touch and
presence. Do you remember that during the earlier days of the recent war
with Spain this occurrence frequently took place? In the Caribbean waters
a Spanish merchantman would be overtaken by an American warship. A few
shots were sent over the bows of the merchantman with a demand for
surrender. And then the Spanish flag was seen to drop from the
merchantman's masthead in token of surrender.
Then this was the method of procedure. A prize crew, consisting of an
officer with a few ensigns, was lowered from the American boat, pulled
across, and taken aboard the captured boat. The moment the prize crew
stepped aboard they were masters of the boat in their government's name.
Their presence signified the surrender of the foreigner, and the forced
peace now between the two boats.
On a much higher plane this is what takes place with us. There has been
flying at my masthead a flag with a big I upon it. As quickly as I drop it
in token of my surrender to Somebody else, a prize crew is sent aboard to
take possession, and assume control. Who is the prize crew? The Holy
Spirit, whom Jesus the Master sends to represent Himself. He steps aboard
He paces the deck as the ship's Master. His presence is peace. "He is our
peace." "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, _peace_." And while He
occupies the captain's quarters, with full cheery obedience on board,
there is ever the fine aroma of peace everywhere, and the fullness of
The Master's Touch.
One morning a number of years ago in London a group of people had gathered
in a small auction shop for an advertised sale of fine old antiques and
curios. The auctioneer brought out an old blackened, dirty-looking violin.
He said, "Ladies and gentlemen, here is a remarkable old instrument I have
the great privilege of offering to you. It is a genuine Cremona, made by
the famous Antonius Stradivarius himself. It is very rare, and worth its
weight in gold. What am I bid?" The people present looked at it
critically. And some doubted the accuracy of the auctioneer's statements.
They saw that it did not have the Stradivarius name cut in. And he
explained that some of the earliest ones made did not have the name. And
that some that had the name cut in were not genuine. But he could assure
them that this was genuine. Still the buyers doubted and criticised, as
buyers have always done. Five guineas in gold were bid, but no more. The
auctioneer perspired and pleaded. "It was ridiculous to think of selling
such a rare violin for such a small sum," he said. But the bidding seemed
hopelessly stuck there.
Meanwhile a man had entered the shop from the street. He was very tall and
very slender, with very black hair, middle-aged, wearing a velvet coat. He
walked up to the counter with a peculiar side-wise step, and without
noticing anybody in the shop picked up the violin, and was at once
absorbed in it. He dusted it tenderly with his handkerchief, changed the
tension of the strings, and held it up to his ear lingeringly as though
hearing something. Then putting the end of it up in position he reached
for the bow, while the murmur ran through the little audience, "Paganini."
The bow seemed hardly to have touched the strings when such a soft
exquisite note came out filling the shop, and holding the people
spellbound. And as he played the listeners laughed for very delight, and
then wept for the fullness of their emotion. The men's hats were off, and
they all stood in rapt reverence, as though in a place of worship. He
played upon their emotions as he played upon the old soil-begrimed violin.
By and by he stopped. And as they were released from the spell of the
music the people began clamoring for the violin. "Fifty guineas," "sixty,"
"seventy," "eighty," they bid in hot haste. And at last it was knocked
down to the famous player himself for one hundred guineas in gold, and
that evening he held a vast audience of thousands breathless under the
spell of the music he drew from the old, dirty, blackened, despised
It was despised till the master-player took possession. Its worth was not
known. The master's touch revealed the rare value, and brought out the
hidden harmonies. He gave the doubted little instrument its true place of
high honor before the multitude. May I say softly, some of us have been
despising the worth of the man within. We have been bidding five guineas
when the real value is immeasurably above that _because of the Maker_. Do
not let us be underbidding God's workmanship.
The violin needed dusting, and readjustment of its strings before the
music came. Shall we not each of us yield this rarest instrument, his own
personality, to the Master's hand? There will be some changes needed, no
doubt, as the Master-player takes hold. And then will go singing out of
our persons and our lives, the rarest music of God, that shall enthrall
and bring all within earshot to the Master-musician.
A Passion for Winning Men: The Motive-power of Service.
A Day off.
Moved with Compassion.
Counting on Us.
The Secret of Winsomeness.
"As the Stars."
The Finest Wisdom.
A Blessed Library Corner.
"Two Missing"--"Go Ye."
A Passion for Winning Men: The Motive-power of Service.
A Day off.
One morning toward the end, in the midst of His busiest campaigning, Jesus
was very tired. It is one of the touches of His humanness. So He said to
His disciples, "Let us take a day _off_." And they could see the sense of
it. They were tired too. So they got a boat, and boarded her, and set
sail, and headed out across the lake. And meanwhile a crowd of people had
come down to the beach to be talked to, and healed, and helped in various
And you can just see the look of disappointment in their faces as they
say, "Why, He's going away." And for a few moments they stand there
utterly dejected. Then somebody--for a long while I have thought it was a
woman--somebody with eyes keenly watching the direction of the boat, said,
"I believe He's going so and so"--naming a place across the lake--"let's
run around the head of the lake, and meet Him when He gets out."
And the crowd was taken with that. And they ran--literally _ran_--around
the head of the lake. And as they went they spread the word, "The Master's
going so and so. Come along with us." And the people came eagerly out of
the villages and cross-roads. And the crowd thickened and the longer way
around in distance proved the shorter way there in time. For by and by
when Peter ran the nose of the boat into the sand on the other side, and
the Master got out for _a day off_, there were five thousand men, maybe
ten thousand people waiting to receive Him.
Do you think that Peter scrooged down his eyebrows, and in a jerky voice
said, "They might have given Him _one_ day to Himself. Can't they see He's
tired?" Do you think that likely John chimed in, with that fire in his
voice which the after years mellowed and sweetened but never lost,--"Yes,
how inconsiderate a crowd is!" _Do_ you think so? _I_ do. Because they
were so much like us. But _He_--the most tired of them all--"_was moved
with compassion_," and spent the whole day in teaching, and talking
personally, and healing. And then when they had gone He went off to the
mountain for the quiet time at night He could not get in the daytime.
Moved with Compassion.
There is a great word used of Jesus, and by Him, nine times in these
brief records, the word _compassion_. The sight of a leprous man, or of a
demon-distressed man, _moved_ Him. The great multitudes huddling together
after Him, so pathetically, like leaderless sheep, eager, hungry, tired,
always stirred Him to the depths. The lone woman, bleeding her heart out
through her eyes, as she followed the body of her boy out--He couldn't
stand that at all.
And when He was so moved, He always did something. He clean forgot His own
bodily needs so absorbed did He become in the folks around Him. The
healing touch was quickly given, the demonized man released from his sore
bonds, the disciples organized for a wider movement to help, the bread
multiplied so the crowds could find something comforting between their
The sight of suffering always stirred Him. The presence of a crowd seemed
always to touch and arouse Him peculiarly. He never learned that sort of
city culture that can look unmoved upon suffering or upon a leaderless,
helpless crowd. That word compassion, used of Him, is both deep and
tender in its meaning. The word, actually used under our English means to
have the bowels or heart, the seat of emotion, greatly stirred.
The kindred word, sympathy, means to have the heart yearning, literally to
be suffering the same distress, to be so moved by somebody's pain or
suffering that you are suffering within yourself the same pain too. Our
plain English word, fellow-feeling, is the same in its force. Seeing the
suffering of some one else so moves you that the same suffering is going
on inside you as you see in them. This is the great word used so often of
Jesus, and by Him.
There never lived a man who had such a passion for men as Jesus. He lived
to win them out of their distressed, sinful, needy lives up to a new
level. He _died_ to win them. His last act was dying to win men. His last
word was, "Go ye and win men." And His first act when He got back home,
all scarred and marred by His contact with earth, was to send down the
same Spirit as swayed Him those human years to live in us that we might
have the same passion for winning men as He. Aye, and the same exquisite
tact in doing it as He had.
I said the last act was dying to win men. And you remember that even in
the act of dying, He forgot the keen pain of body, and the far keener pain
of spirit, to turn His head as far as He could turn it, and speak the
word to the fellow by His side that meant the difference of _a world_ to
him. Surely it was the ruling passion with Him to win men, strong in
death, aye, strongest in death, and finding its strongest expression in
Counting on Us.
Somebody has supposed the scene that he thinks may have taken place after
Jesus went back. The last the earth sees of Him is the cloud--not a rain
cloud, a _glory_ cloud--that sweeps down and conceals Him from view. And
the earth has not seen Him since. Though the old Book does say that some
day He's coming back in just the same way as He went away, and some of us
are strongly inclined to think it will be as the Book says in that regard.
But--have you ever tried to think of what took place on the other side of
that cloud? He has been gone down there on the earth thirty-odd years.
It's a long time. And they're fairly hungry in their eyes for a look again
at that blessed old face. And I have imagined them crowding down to where
they may get the first glimpse of His face again. And, do you know, lately
I have been wondering, with the softening of awe creeping into the
thought, whether--the Father--did not come the very first of them all
and--touch His lips up to where--the _scars_ were in Jesus' brow and
cheeks--yes, His hands--and His feet, too. Tell me, you fathers here
listening, would you not have done something like that with _your_ boy,
under such circumstances?
You mothers, wouldn't you have been doing something like that with your
boy? And all the fatherhood of earth is named after the fatherhood of
heaven, we're told. And with God fatherhood means motherhood too, you
know. I do not _know_ if it were so. But I think it's likely. It would be
just like God.
But this friend I speak of has supposed that, after the first flush of
feeling has spent itself--the way _we_ speak of such things done here, the
Master is walking down the golden street one day, arm in arm with Gabriel,
talking intently, earnestly. Gabriel is saying,
"Master, you died for the whole world down there, did you not?"
"You must have suffered much," with an earnest look into that great face
with its unremovable marks.
"Yes," again comes the answer in a wondrous voice, very quiet, but
strangely full of deepest feeling.
"And do they all know about it?"
"Oh, no! Only a few in Palestine know about it so far."
"Well, Master, what's your plan? What have you done about telling the
world that you died for, that you _have_ died for them? What's your plan?"
"Well," the Master is supposed to answer, "I asked Peter, and James and
John, and little Scotch Andrew, and some more of them down there just to
make it the business of their lives to tell others, and the others are to
tell others, and the others others, and yet others, and still others,
until the last man in the farthest circle has heard the story and has felt
the thrilling and the thralling power of it."
And Gabriel knows us folk down here pretty well. He has had more than one
contact with the earth. He knows the kind of stuff in us. And he is
supposed to answer, with a sort of hesitating reluctance, as though he
could see difficulties in the working of the plan, "Yes--but--suppose
Peter fails. Suppose after a while John simply _does not_ tell others.
Suppose their descendants, their successors away off in the first edge of
the twentieth century, get _so busy about things_--some of them proper
enough, some may be not quite so proper--that _they do not_ tell
And his eyes are big with the intenseness of his thought, for he is
thinking of--the _suffering,_ and he is thinking too of the difference to
the man who hasn't been told--"what then?"
And back comes that quiet wondrous voice of Jesus, "Gabriel, _I haven't
made any other plans--I'm counting on them_."
The Secret of Winsomeness.
That's a bit of this friend's imagination, it's true. But--it's the whole
Gospel story, through and through. Jesus has made that plan. He has not
made any other plan. He's counting on us, each of us, each in his own
circle, in his own way, as comes best, most natural to him tactfully,
quietly, earnestly--simply that, but all of that. And--if--we
fail--Him--let me be saying it very softly so the seriousness of it may
get into the inner cockles of our hearts--if we _fail Him_, just that far
we make _Jesus' dying a failure_ so far as concerns those whom we touch.
Yes, I know that sounds very serious. I'd rather not be saying it. I'm
_sure_, by the Book, it is so. And so, do you see the genius--may I use
that word very reverently of Him who was a man and far more than man--the
genius of His plan? He sent down the same Spirit that swayed Him those
human years to live in us, and control us, that we might have the same
fine passion for men as He, and the same exquisite tact in winning them as
It must be a _passion_; a fire burning with the steady flame of anthracite
fed by a constant stream of oil. If it be less we will be swept off our
feet by the tides all around, or sucked under by their swift current. And
many a splendid man to-day is being swept off his feet and sucked under by
the tides and currents of life because no such passion as this is mooring
and steadying and driving his whole life.
It must be a passion for _winning_ men; not driving nor dragging,
_drawing_. Not argument nor coercion but warm, winsome wooing. Today the
sun up yonder is drawing up toward itself thousands of tons' weight of
water. Nobody sees it going, except perhaps in very small part. There's no
noise or dust. But the water rises up irresistibly toward the sun because
of the winning power in the sun for the water. It must be something like
that in this higher sphere. A winsomeness in us that will win men to us
and through us to the Master.
"Oh! well," some one says, "if you put the thing that way you'll have to
count me out. I'm not winsome that way." Well, maybe you need not have
bothered to say it. We could easily know that without your saying it. We
are not winsome this way, any of us, of ourselves. But when we allow this
Jesus Spirit to take possession of us He imparts His winsomeness. For the
real secret of a transfigured life is a _transmitted_ life. Somebody else
living in us, with a capital S for that Somebody, looking out of our
eyes, giving His beauty to our faces, and His winningness to our
"As the Stars."
The language used in the Scriptures for this sort of thing is full of
intense interest. Some time ago I was reading in the old prophecy of
Daniel. I was not thinking of this matter of winning men but simply trying
to get a fresh grasp of that wonderfully fascinating old bit of prophecy.
And all at once I came across that gem in the last chapter. I knew it was
there. You know it is there. Yet it came to me with all the freshness of a
new delightful surprise. "They that are wise shall shine with the
brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as
the stars forever and ever."
Four times in those last two chapters of Daniel it refers to those that
are "wise"; literally, those that are _teachers_. Those who have
themselves learned the truth and are patiently, faithfully, winsomely
telling and teaching others. The word used for influencing the others is
full of practical picturesque meaning. "They that _turn_ many." As if a
man were going the wrong way on a dangerous road. And _I know_ it's the
wrong way. There's a sharp precipice ahead. But he is going steadily on,
head down, all absorbed, not noticing where the road leads.
I might go up to him, and strike him sharply on the shoulder to get his
attention, and say, "See here, you're going the wrong way; can't you see
the danger ahead there? Come this way," with a vigorous pull. I have
sometimes seen that done, in just that way. And if the man is an American,
or an Englishman, or a German,--we're all very much alike,--he will say
coldly, "Excuse me. I think I can take care of myself. Thank you. I'll
look out for this individual."
Or, I might slip gently up to the man, and get my arm in his, and begin to
turn, very gently at first, and turn, and turn, and then turn some more,
and then farther around still, and walk him off the other way. You will
have to get _close_ to a man to do that. Some folks never do. And you'll
have to be at least half-way decent in your life to get close. Some folks
never can. And you will need to be warm enough all the time inside, to
melt through the icy cloak of indifference beneath which his heart may be
wrapped up. But I can tell you this: the old world where you and I live is
fairly hungry at its heart, with an eating hunger for turners of that
And the promise of that old prophetic bit is this: "They shall _shine_."
You know everybody wants to shine. It is right to be ambitious, with a
right ambition. But if any of you are ambitious to shine in some other sky
than this, in your profession, in social life or in some firmament lower
than this, may I gently make this suggestion to you? Do your best shining
_now_. Get on the brightest shining surface possible now. For this is your
shining time. This is the sky-time for that sort of thing. It won't last
long, I must tell you frankly. And at the end a bitter biting at your
I am fond of watching a display of fireworks on a Fourth of July night.
Perhaps the night is clear, the sky full of stars, bright and sparkling. A
sky rocket is sent off. It goes up with a rush and a noise. There is a
dash of many colored beautiful fire-stars. And a murmur of admiration from
the crowd. For a few moments you can see nothing as you look up but this
handful of fire-stars. The clear quiet stars beyond are eclipsed for a
narrow circle of space, and for a few moments of time.
It doesn't last long. A small fraction of a minute at the most. Then it's
all over. And all that is left is a charred stick that sticks in the mud,
nobody knows where, nor cares. But look up yonder, the stars you could not
see a moment ago for these momentary ones are shining more brightly than
ever by contrast,
"... And singing as they shine.
The hand that made us is divine."
You shine in the lower skies if you will. And of course you will if you
will. You will do as you will to do. But, at the end--a charred stick, a
bad taste in your mouth, a sharp tugging at your heart. And the story's
told. The last chapter's ended. The book is shut. But they whose one
absorbing ambition it is to turn others to righteousness may not shine
much here in earth's skies. And they may a bit, and it recks precious
little either way. But they _shall_ shine as the stars, as bright and as
It does not mean Atlantic coast stars. It means desert stars, Babylonian
stars, where one can see so many more than here. They shake their wondrous
fire-light down into your face, and fairly dazzle your eyes. You "shall
shine as the stars," as bright and as long.
The Finest Wisdom.
James, the head of the Jerusalem Church, closes up his letter to the
dispersed Jews with this same word as Daniel uses. He would have all to
whom he is writing understand that he that _turns_ another from the wrong
way will save a soul from death and hide away out of sight and reach a
mass of sin. The old world needs more saving societies and saving
individuals of this sort.
We have gotten great skill in saving dollars. Men give their whole
strength and time to that. There is something much higher, infinitely
higher, saving souls, rescuing lives, treasuring up precious men and
women. These people, James says, are famous for their use of the fine
cloak of charity. They make the best use of it in hiding away beyond any
chance of being found a great mass of ugly, crooked, poisonous sins.
The man with the reputation of being the wisest man gives a special
definition of wisdom. The old version runs, "he that winneth souls is
wise." This is a great statement from Solomon's pen. He had searched
into all the avenues of men's pursuits. He was a great experimenter.
Everything was put to a personal test. He amassed wealth beyond all
others. He delved into the fascinations of intellectual delights, of deep
intricate philosophies and problems.
He knew the subtle appeal to strong men that there is in deftly handling
and controlling men, personally and in large numbers. He had tasted the
rich wines of pleasure as had few. This is his conclusion: the wise man is
he that gives his strength with all of its fine-grained cunning to wooing
men back, through the old Eden gate, up to the tree of life.