Part 2 out of 3
This is the finest fruitage any life can yield. This will be to the bearer
of it a tree of life giving twelve crops of fruits, a crop of every month,
a perennial, alike in heat and frost, in storm and drought, and with a
peculiar healing quality in its green leaves for all men.
The revised version gives a fine turn to this old bit, exactly reversing
the first statement. "He that is wise winneth souls." The old philosopher
says that here is the real test of wisdom. He that is a wise man gives the
cream of his thought and wisdom to personal influence with men. He thinks
the thing best worth while is drawing a man through the inner reach upon
his thinking and affections and will away from the impure and ignoble and
deceptive up into touch with his first Friend.
And he finds too that nothing he has ever undertaken calls for a finer
play of all his powers at their best. All the diplomacy and fineness and
tact and keen management at his command will be called upon. He must be a
wise man to do such work. It is no fool's errand this. It demands the best
in the best.
There is no body of men more keen or skilled in the handling and
influencing of men, than the politicians. And I use the word in its fine
meaning, as well as in its cheaper meanings. As democracy has won its way
increasingly among the governments of earth these politicians have
increased in number and in influence. Great measures of government have
depended on their skill in manipulating men. Rarest subtlety and
adroitness and rugged honesty have blended in the strongest of these
The fishing simile so commonly used in the winning of men over to one's
side is a peculiarly attractive, a matchless simile. And all of this
handling of men has often been for personal ends, often for wholly selfish
ends, often for strong national ends. Almost never has it been for the
benefit of the man being won, save at times very remotely.
But Jesus would have us become skilled diplomats in winning men for their
own sakes. Getting them to climb the hills for the sake of the air and
view they will get, and enjoy. We are to win strong men full of life and
vigor and manly force up into touch with their Friend, Himself.
There is too a most attractive winsome phrase on the Master's lips at the
close of that fishing story in Luke's fifth chapter, "From henceforth
thou shall _catch_ men" is the reading. But the revised margin gives this
added bit of color: "Thou shalt take men alive." They should get, not dead
fish, but living men. Men full of vigor and life--thou shalt have power
to sway these and induce them up to the highlands of a new life.
There are three simple essentials here for the man who would be following
his Master fully. The first is that a man shall surrender himself wholly
to Jesus as a Master. That so Jesus may have the full control of all.
Maybe some one thinks, "There is that strong word surrender again. Cannot
I help a man be better without going so far as that word seems to imply?"
Will you kindly notice that the Spirit of Jesus _fills_ the surrendered
man? And it is only as that Spirit does fill and sway that there can be
any such passion for men as Jesus had, and, too, the fine tact that He
always used. This is the first simple indispensable essential.
The second is this: a bit of quiet time alone with Jesus daily over His
Word. The door should be shut. Outside things shut outside. And one's self
shut in alone with the Master. This is not a good thing--merely. I am not
recommending it to you. I am saying very much more. It is an _essential_
thing with every one who would follow the Master simply and fully. It is
time spent in coaling up, taking out the dead ashes, and readjusting the
drafts, so the fires will be kept burning steadily and clearly. This is
the second great essential.
The third essential is this: a purpose, deep-seated, rock-rooted,
underlying every other purpose, taking precedence of every other, of
trying to win others, one by one, bit by bit, over to knowing Jesus
personally. I say "trying." I like that word. There may be some blunders,
some bad steps, some untactful work. But these will not turn one aside
from this purpose but simply make him more determined to become skilled in
this finest art.
I mean something like this. Here is a young woman moving in a social
circle, just as bright and winsome as God meant every young woman to be.
And as she moves about, she is thinking--no, it is thinking itself out,
underneath in her subtle sub-consciousness,--"How can I drop the word
here, and touch there, and leave the light impress here, that shall count
with these lives for my Master?"
Here is a man transacting business with another. And even while he is
dealing with figures, and contract terms, he is thinking,--no, again,--it
is so deeply rooted in that the thought, like the fine trendils of a
plant, is ever weaving itself intangibly but surely into the web of his
passing mental operations, "How can I tactfully leave the impress here,
perhaps speak the direct word, that shall be a doorway for Jesus into
A Blessed Library Corner.
I think I might tell you best just what I mean by a bit from a real life.
The bit that has been such a real inspiration to myself. It is about a
friend of mine, a business man, with large responsible interests, keen and
shrewd in his business dealings, a very earnest Christian man, with a
delightful, winning personality, and I am grateful to say who was a warm
friend of mine. He is in the presence of his Master now. He was a man much
my senior in years, who helped me very greatly. Whenever we chanced to
meet in our travels I would drop my affairs as far as I could to spend all
the time possible with him, both for the delight of his presence, and for
the practical help he always was. The last time we were ever together was
in Columbus, Ohio. We met there to attend an anniversary meeting of the
Young Men's Christian Association, in Dr. Gladden's Church, on the Capitol
Square. And Monday morning before taking our trains away in different
directions we went for a drive, to get the air, and talk a bit. I made the
suggestion of driving, for I knew I would get something from him. And I
was right. I did get something that I never forgot, and never shall.
As we were driving, and talking, by and by, in a little lull of the talk,
he said very quietly, "Gordon, do you know what I have been doing lately?"
And I said, "No." "Well," he said, "it's been the delight of my life," and
I could see the gleam of light in his eyes. And I said, "Tell me what it
is that has been such a pleasure to you." And he said, "Well, I will."
Then he went on in a very taking way he had to tell this simple story. And
he was speaking as to a friend, for he was very modest, and would not have
spoken of the thing; except to _help_; that would always bring anything he
He said when he was at home--he travelled much--he would think about the
young men whom he knew who were not Christians. Splendid men, some of
them; full of power; clubmen, some of them. But who did not know Jesus
personally. And he would think, "Now there's such a man. I wonder what's
his easy side of approach." And he would think about him, and pray some
about him. And then make an opportunity to ask him up to his home for
dinner some evening. His position in the city would make any young man
feel honored with such an invitation.
He said to me, "We have a pleasant time at the dinner table with the
family, and afterwards, a bit of music and so on. Then," with a quiet
smile he said, "I ask him into my library corner, my little study den,
and by and by we come to close quarters. I tell him what I'm thinking
about. I tell him what a Friend Jesus is. And how it helps to have Him in
all of one's life as a Friend and Master. Then I ask him softly if he
won't let Jesus be his Friend."
He said, "I try to be as tactful as though I were selling a contract of
cars. Though there's a fine reverence here that never gets into business
talk. And then if it seems good, without causing him any embarrassment, we
have a bit of prayer together. Not always, but often." And he said to me,
with a tender eagerness in his voice, "Gordon, it's been the _delight_ of
my life to have man after man accept Jesus in my library corner."
And I looked at him. We were driving along the busiest block of the
busiest street in Columbus. The Capitol building on this side. And the old
Neil Hotel on this. And all around us were the electrics, and wagons and
carriages; so much noise and dust. And there that man sat by my side so
quiet, with his eyes dancing as they looked off at something I could not
see. And if ever Moses' face shined or Stephen's, his did that morning.
I was caught as I looked. That was the _delight_ of his life. Not his
money, nor his business, nor his social relations, though he took keen
interest in all of these, but this. And the sound of his voice, and the
sight of his face that morning, seemed to kindle the fires in my heart
that I might, in my own way, as came best to me, be doing something of
that same sort. That is what I mean by a deep-seated purpose, under every
other, to try to win men.
I was telling this story one night to some people in his state, not
thinking that I was within maybe two hundred miles of his home. And as the
audience was dismissed I saw a man coming up the aisle toward the pulpit,
apparently to meet me. So I went down his way. He looked like a business
fellow, with a clean-cut way about him, and a strong manly face. Before we
met I noticed something glistening in his eye, and yet a smile across his
And he _gripped_ my hand. I can feel that grip now. And he half-blurted
out, "_I'm_ one of those fellows! And there are a lot of us that are
thanking God with full hearts for that man's library room." And the grip
of that hand seemed to make the fires within burn just a bit stiffer.
In an after conversation this friend told me how he had wanted to be a
Christian, but didn't seem to know just how. And nobody had ever spoken to
him about it, he said, though so often he had wished somebody would. There
are a great many just like him in that.
"Two Missing"--"Go Ye."
Same years ago I was a guest at a small wedding dinner party in New York
City. A Scotch-Irish gentleman, well known in that city, an old friend,
spoke across the table to me. He said he had heard recently a story of the
Scottish hills that he wanted to tell. And we all listened as he told this
simple tale. I have heard it since from other lips, variously told. But
good gold shines better by the friction of use. And I want to tell it to
you as my old friend from the Scotch end of Ireland told it that evening.
It was of a shepherd in the Scottish hills who had brought his sheep back
to the fold for the night, and as he was arranging matters for the night
he was surprised to find that two of the sheep were missing. He looked
again. Yes, two were missing. And he knew which two. These shepherds are
keen to know their sheep. He was much surprised, and went to the out-house
of his dwelling to call his collie.
There she lay after the day's work suckling her own little ones. He called
her. She looked up at him. He said, "Two are missing"--holding up two
fingers--"Away by, Collie, and get them." Without moving she looked up
into his face, as though she would say, "You wouldn't send me out again
to-night?--it's been a long day--I'm so tired--not again to-night." So her
eyes seemed to say. And again as many a time doubtless, "Away by, and get
the sheep," he said. And out she went.
About midnight a scratching at the door aroused him. He found one of the
sheep back. He cared for it. A bit of warm food, and the like. Then out
again to the out-house. There the dog lay with her little ones. Again
he called her. She looked up. "Get the other sheep," he said. I do not
know if you men listening are as fond of a good collie as I am. Their
eyes seem human to me, almost, sometimes. And hers seemed so as she
looked up and seemed to be saying out of their great depths--"Not
_again_--to-night?--haven't I been faithful?--I'm so tired--not again!"
And again as I suppose many a time before, "Away by, and get the sheep."
And out she went. About two or three, again the scratching. And he found
the last sheep back; badly torn; been down some ravine or gully. And the
dog was plainly played. And yet she seemed to give a bit of a wag to her
tired tail as though she would say, "There it is--I've done as you bade
And he cared for its needs, and then before lying down again to his own
rest, thought he would go and praise the dog for her faithful work. You
know how sensitive collies are to praise or criticism. He went out and
stooped over with a pat and a kindly word, and was startled to find that
the life-tether had slipped its hold. She lay there lifeless, with her
little ones tugging at her body.
That was only a dog. We are men. Shall I apologize for using a _dog_ for
an illustration? No. I will not. One of God's creatures, having a part in
His redemption. That was to save sheep. You and I are sent, not to save
sheep, but to save _men_. And how much then is a _man_ better than a
sheep, or anything else!
And our Master stands here to-day. Would that you and I might see His face
with the thorn marks of His trip to this earth. He points out with His
hand. And you can't miss a peculiar hole in its palm. He says, "There are
_two missing_--aye, more than two--that you know--that you touch--that you
can touch--that I died for--go _ye_."
Shall we go? For Jesus' sake? Yes, for men's sake; splendid men, befooled
about Jesus, who can get Him only through us in touch with Him--for men's
sake, in Jesus' great Name.
Deep-Sea Fishing: The Ambition of Service.
A Water Haul.
Living up in the Spirit Realm.
Saved to Serve.
Ambition in Service.
Use What You Have.
Expectancy in Service.
Jesus Went into the Deeps.
Deep-Sea Fishing: The Ambition of Service.
A Water Haul.
Jesus was very fond of the outdoors. The Gospels have a woodsy smell. He
taught in the synagogues, but He seemed to prefer the open air. He would
go out on a country road, or down by the beach of the Galilean lake, and
the people would eagerly gather around Him, and He would talk to them. One
morning He had gone down to the lake shore. The people crowded in about
Him and He commenced as usual to talk to them.
But so eager were they not to miss a word that they pressed in about Him
very close. He was standing with His back to the water likely, and the
people seemed likely to crowd Him over into the water. So He looked around
for something to do. He was ever practical to the point of being
matter-of-fact. A practical idealist was Jesus, _the_ practical Idealist.
Peter was down there, just a short distance off, with his partners and
crew in their fishing boats, cleaning up after the night's haul. Lifting
His voice a little, Jesus called out, "Peter, will you pull around here,
And Peter did. And Jesus, stepping into the boat, sat down, and went on
talking to the people. Interruptions never seemed to disturb Him. He
seemed to regard them in the light of possible index fingers pointing out
the next thing to be done. Every missionary, foreign and home, has to get
practised in just that, while holding steady to his underlying purpose.
When He had finished talking, He turned to Peter and said quietly, "Launch
out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught." And Peter smiled
at the very idea, as he said, "Master, we've been out the whole night, and
haven't caught a thing, nothing but a water haul, but"--with a thoughtful
earnestness taking the place of the critical smile--"if you say so, of
course we will." And the Master said so. And now they can't handle the
I want to bring to you anew this old word of command from Jesus' lips:
"Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught." These
men in the story had failed. They had gone out the evening before
intending and expecting to bring home a fine haul of fish for the
Capernaum or the Bethsaida market. They came back with nothing for the
night's work but tired muscles and torn nets. This message is for men who
have failed, or who have seemed to fail. There is no failure to an earnest
man. A man cannot fail without his own consent. Every seeming failure is
the seed of a coming success to earnest men.
If any of us have seemed to fail, our boots have lead in them, and our
hearts are heavy too, for lack of success--this message is for us, "Launch
out, and let down." Failure is very apt to breed discouragement. Your
clothing seems damp and heavy with the dew of a fruitless night.
Oftentimes the best thing for that is action. Mix yourself with the action
of boats and nets and men. That's the Master's word here.
Living up in the Spirit Realm.
There are three facts that group about the message of Jesus in this story.
And those same three facts need to group themselves in bold outline about
our using of it, too. The first is this: there was _contact with Jesus as
a Master_. That must come in, and come in strong, before there can be any
right using of this word of command.
There needs to be the first contact when a man turns over the control of
his life to Jesus as Master. There needs to be close contact that the
Master's plan of service may be clearly seen and faithfully started upon.
There must be continual contact that so His mastery may control and guide
at every step.
The second fact is this: obedience to the Master's word. Obedience, mind
you, whether the thing you are told to do seems a likely thing to do or
not. Here with the fishermen there were some things that pulled the other
way. They had been out all night and failed. The very sense of failure
strong within them was against obedience. Discouraged men seldom succeed
at anything. And there was a very unlikely chance ahead. The time for
fishing with them was in the night. Failure behind, and a poor chance
ahead! Yet they obeyed.
If Peter had acted the way some modern folks do he would have said
something like this: "You'll excuse me, Master, for saying it; but--this
is no time to fish in these waters. Pardon me, sir, I have no doubt you
know about carpentering. But _I'm a fisherman_. When it comes to yokes and
plows I'll gladly yield to you. But fishing--you see, I've been fishing
ever since I was a boy. Maybe up around Nazareth, in the brooks and ponds
up there, you can catch something in daylight, but not down here."
I have heard many people talking that way. But Peter didn't. Aren't you
glad he didn't? He stumbled often. He talked foolishly to Jesus more than
once, but not this time. He obeyed. It was against his habit, against his
ideas of what was best, but the message was clear and he obeyed it. Happy
is the man who listens to the inner Voice, learns keenly how to hear
distinctly and accurately, and obeys. Faith is never contrary to reason,
but it is frequently _higher up_. The spirit realm is the highest.
A man should reach up _through_ his bodily life, _through_ a keen, strong
intellectual perception and grasp, up into the spirit realm and abide
there. Many a man of splendid ability and earnestness never shakes off his
intellectual scaffolding in the upward building. It remains to hamper and
mar. Through a mastered body, and a disciplined mind, up to the spirit
level is the full swing. Obedience to the clearly discerned voice of
command from the Master is the one pathway of full power.
The third fact was sure to follow these two. It came last. There were
unexpectedly large results. There always will be where the first two facts
are faithfully gotten in.
Saved to Serve.
There is a growth in this message of Jesus. There are four steps up and
out. First comes the plain call to _service: "Launch out_." This is the
ringing service call. It is a familiar word to a follower of Jesus. He was
always saying, "Go ye." To every man He said first of all, "Come." Then,
as quickly as a man came, the word was changed to "go."
I like greatly the motto of the Salvation Army. It must have been born for
those workers in the warm heart of the mother of the Army, Catharine
Booth. That mother explains much of the marvelous power of that
organization. Their motto is, "_Saved to Serve_." Some seem to put the
period in after the first word. That's bad punctuation and worse
Christianity. We are saved to be savers. There is needed the divine Savior
and the human saver. Only he who has been saved can help save somebody
else. The tingle of experience in the blood attracts men.
The Master says, "Launch out." Get down into the thick of the fight. One
should not unwisely wear out his strength. But on the other hand, it's
better to wear out than to rust out. You'll last longer, and any loss of
strength is to be preferred to the loss through yellow, eating rust. A
minister noted for his striking way of putting truth was preaching upon
the words that were spoken of Paul and his companions: "These that have
turned the world upside down are come hither also." He said there were
three points to his sermon: first, the world was wrong side up; second, it
had to be gotten right side up; third, _we're the fellows to do it_. That
is the first note of this message, _we_ are the fellows to do it.
Ambition in Service.
The second step in this ringing call to service is this: _ambition_ in
service. "Launch out _into the deep_." The shore waters are largely
over-fished. Out in the deeps are fish that have never had smell or sight
of bait or net. Here, near shore, the lines get badly tangled sometimes,
and committees have to be appointed to try to untangle the lines and
sweeten up the fishermen.
And the fish get very particular about the sort and shape of the bait.
Some men have taken to fishing wholly with pickles, but with very
unsatisfactory results. The fish nibble, but are seldom landed apparently.
And just a little bit out are fish that never have gotten a suggestion of
a good bite.
There are deeps all around. One might fairly give an inward personal turn
to the word. There are _personal deeps_ that have not yet been sounded.
There are untouched deeps in prayer, in Bible study, and in the winning of
others. There are deeps in acquaintance with Jesus, in purity of life, in
sacrifice and in giving whose bottom no greasy lead has yet touched. "Out
into the deep," comes that quiet intense inner voice of Jesus spoken into
one's innermost heart.
There are the great _deeps in service_ waiting our coming. Roundabout
every church is a fringe of deep, sometimes a deep fringe and broad, of
those practically untouched by the warm message of Jesus; and around every
Christian Association of men and of women. In the heart and on the edges
of every village and town and city unfathomed deeps lie; deeps in a man's
own state, deeps in our land, great untouched deeps in the world.
Wherever there is a man who has not felt the warm side of the story of
Jesus' dying there is a deep. Wherever a group of such can be found is a
deep increased in depth by the number in the group. Wherever the great
crowds are gathered together to whom no word at all has come, neither by
personal touch nor printed page nor any other wise, there is the deepest
deep. With a deep glow in His eyes as He speaks the word, and the
tenderness and softness of deep emotion, and the earnestness of one who
has Himself been in the deep Jesus says anew to us to-day, "out into the
We are to be ambitious in service. Jesus was ambitious. He reached out for
all, those nearest, those farthest. He talked of all nations, of a world.
His follower must have a long reach to keep up. That word ambition has
been much abused. It has been used much in connection with selfish
self-seeking, until that meaning has become almost its whole meaning in
the thinking of many people. But with the purpose dominant in Jesus we can
properly use it in its old literal meaning. Originally it simply meant
going around, being used in the sense of going out among people soliciting
their favor or their votes.
It has the fine vitality of that word "go" in it. That for which a man is
ambitious decides the quality of the word. A pure, holy purpose makes the
intense reaching for it pure and holy too. An intense reaching out to the
farthest reach of the Master's word, that finds expression in the dominant
spirit of the life, in the service, in the giving, the sacrificing, the
praying--this is the true ambition.
Paul uses three times a word that has the force of our word ambition.
The American Revision uses ambition in the margin for it. In advising the
group of followers in Thessalonica he says, "_Study_ to be quiet." The
practical force of the phrase there is this: be ambitious to be
unambitious in the world's abused meaning of ambitious. In writing the
second time to the friends at Corinth where his motives had been much
criticised he said, "I make it my aim (or ambition) to be well-pleasing
And later, in writing to the Christians at Rome, whom he had never seen,
he said that he had made it his aim or had been ambitious to preach the
Gospel where nobody had yet gone. The literal meaning of the word he uses
is something like this, striving from a love of honor. And we may find a
fine meaning in that which was doubtless used otherwise.
It was a matter of honor with Paul to do as he was doing. And he would
have the honor of having fully carried out his Master's wish. He coveted
earnestly the honor of being always pleasing to his Master both in life
and in the sort and reach of his service. Here are Paul's three ambitions:
to be wholly free of the fires of worldly ambitions; to be well-pleasing
to Jesus, his Lord; to reach out beyond, where nobody had yet gone with
the story of Jesus' dying and living again.
Paul was obeying Jesus. Jesus said to those fishermen on Galilee's waters,
"Launch out into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught." Paul
said, "I have steadily made it the one thing I drove hard at in service,
to get out beyond all other lines and nets to where nobody has yet gone."
Use What You Have.
The third step in this service-call is this: _practicality in service_:
"Let down your nets." I can imagine Peter saying, "Master, if we had known
your plans for this morning, I would have sent up to Tyre for the newest
patented nets, or down to Cairo. These nets of ours have been patched and
patched. They are so old." The Master says, "Let down _your_ nets."
There is a very common delusion that holds us back from doing something
because we are not skilled in doing it. "Let the pastor speak to that
young man; I can't do it very well." "I can't teach very well; let some
one else take that class." The Master says, "Use what you have." Do your
best. Your best may not be _the_ best, but if it be your best, it will be
God-blest, and always bring a harvest.
Use what you have. Do not despise the stuff God put into you. Train and
discipline it the best you can, and use it. And in using it you will be
training it. The best training is in _use_. Brains and pains and prayer
are an irresistible trinity. When the gray matter and the finger tips and
the knees get into a combination great results always come.
The old Hebrew farmer Shamgar had only a long ox-goad with which to prod
his beasts in the field. The traditional enemy, the Philistine, comes up
over the hill. Shamgar's neighbors have taken to their heels. But Shamgar
is made of different stuff. He asks a man hurrying by, "How many do you
think there are?" And the man calls out, "About six hundred, I should
Shamgar sets his jaws together hard, gets a fresh grip on his ox-goad,
digs his heels into the ground for a good hold, and mutters to himself, "I
guess they are about four hundred short." And he smites, left and right,
up and down, hip and thigh, with his strange weapon. And a great victory
comes to the nation under its new leader.
David had only a leather sling, home-made likely, and a few smooth stones
out of the running brook. He had skill in slinging stones, a keen trained
eye, a steady nerve, a practiced arm, and well-knit muscles. But what were
these against a giant almost twice his height and years, and armed to the
teeth? Yet the ruddy-faced stripling had something better yet along with
his sling and stones and skill. He had a simple trust in God. He had a hot
protest in his heart against the slandering of God's people by this
heathen giant. He _combined_ all he had, sling, stones, skill, and faith,
and the laughing, sneering giant is soon under his feet, and feeling the
edge of his own sword. "Let down your nets." Use what you have.
There was a woman living down by the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea a
good while ago. Her heart had been touched by God, and ever after beat
warm for others. But what could _she_ do? She couldn't make speeches, nor
write papers for the missionary society, nor preside over its meetings.
She seemed to have one special gift. She could sew. She could do plain
sewing and overcast, cross-stitch and hem-stitch. I suppose she knew the
herring-bone-stitch and feather-stitch, and other sorts too.
And so she just busied herself finding out poor folks who needed clothing,
some women too hard-worked to care for their children's clothing. And she
sewed for them. She was a seamstress for Jesus' sake to all the needy
folks she could find. I expect she stuck pretty closely to the plain
stitching, though likely as not she would put in some of the fancy too to
please the people she was winning to her Master.
And she sewed the story of Jesus, and the heart of Jesus, into coats and
skirts and such. All through Joppa her message went into homes not
otherwise open perhaps. And the women read the story of her heart in the
stitches and they found Jesus through her needle. She used what she had.
And the women of the church have rightly honored her name in their
But mark keenly this: while using to the full, and faithfully, just what
you have, there must needs be utter dependence upon God. Not what you
have, nor what you can do, but Somebody _in_ what you have, and _through_
what you do. Notice, "Their nets were _breaking_." They were to use their
nets, but the power was somewhere else. As we are made up, there
frequently needs to be a breaking before the glory of God is revealed. It
need not be so, necessarily.
Yet as a matter of fact most people have to stub their toes and then go
stumbling down with a clash, measuring their length on the earth, and
getting some scars that stay before they can be mightily used. So many
strong wills are strong enough to be stubborn, but not strong enough to
yield. Gideon's pitchers had to be broken before the lights flashed out
and brought panic to the enemy.
It was when the alabaster box was broken that its fine fragrance filled
the house, and spread out into all the world. Somebody prayed, "O Lord,
take me, and break me, and make me." That is the usual order as a matter
of fact. Yet if the strength of stubbornness that must be broken down to
change its direction, were but swung God's way at once--But most folks
that have been greatly used have some of this sort of scars. Utter
dependence upon God's strength in doing God's service is the lesson of the
Expectancy in Service.
The climax of this message of Jesus is in its end: "Let down your nets
_for a draught_." There is to be _expectancy in service_. Ideas of
draughts changed that day. "Peter, what would you call a good draught?"
"Well," the old fisherman says, as he sits stitching up the holes in his
nets, "after last night I think if we got a boat half full it wouldn't be
a bad haul." "Andrew, what's a draught?" And Andrew says, "I think after
this water haul we've had, a haul of holes, Peter hits it pretty close."
"Master, how much is _a draught_?" And His answer comes back over the
water, "Twice as much as you are able to take care of, and then more."
They filled that boat, sent for another, filled that, and then didn't land
all they had caught.
How much do you reckon a draught in your life, in your church, in your
mission, your field, _how much_ are you _saying_?--"Master, what is your
reckoning of a draught here in this man's life, out here in this field of
service?" And from this Galilean story there comes back anew to our hearts
the Master's reply, "Twice as much as you have planned for, and then
Expectancy is the eye of faith. Faith always has a watch-tower. When
Elijah went to the tiptop of Carmel to pray, he was careful to send his
servant to watch the sea. Prayer is faith looking up. Expectancy is faith
Jesus Went into the Deeps.
And so to every one of us to-day comes afresh that ringing command,
"Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a draught."
"'Launch out into the deep;'
The awful depth of a world's despair;
Hearts that are breaking and eyes that weep;
Sorrow and ruin and death are there.
And the sea is wide;
And its pitiless tide
Bears on its bosom away.
Beauty and youth,
In relentless ruth,
To its dark abyss for aye.
But the Master's voice comes over the sea,
'Let down your nets for a draught for Me.'
And He stands in our midst,
On our wreck-strewn strand.
And sweet and loving is His command.
His loving word is to each, to all.
And wherever that loving word is heard,
There hang the nets of the royal Word.
Trust to the nets, and not to your skill;
Trust to the royal Master's will.
Let down the nets this day, this hour;
For the word of a king is a word of power,
And the King's own word comes over the sea,
Let down your nets for a draught for Me.'"
There is a last word that comes up insisting to be said. It is this: Jesus
went down into the deeps for us. Deeper deeps than we know or ever shall
He sounded with the line of His own life on our behalf. He got badly
scarred that night of darkness. It is this scarred Jesus who earnestly
asks us to come along after Him so far as we can. His voice with a
tenderness of love wrought into it on the cross says to us, "Launch out
into the deep, and let down your nets for a draught."
Money: The Golden Channel of Service.
Touching a Limitless Circle.
Peculiar Effects of Money.
Jesus' Law for the Use of Money.
The Fragrance of the Life in the Gift.
Sacrifice Hallows and Increases the Gift.
A Living Sacrifice.
Money: The Golden Channel of Service.
Touching a Limitless Circle.
There is an inky shadow over the home of God. There is a sharp pain
tugging at the heart of God. It's a family matter; a family disgrace. One
of God's family has gone off from the home circle and made a bad mess of
things. Such an affair is always a source of great grief, especially where
the family is an old one, with fine blood. And here the family is of the
oldest, and the blood the best. The Father feels the sharp edge of the
knife of disgrace very keenly. The hearth fire of God is lonely for the
one gone away.
All of that Father's great love and rare wisdom have centered and blended
on a plan for winning the estranged member of His family back home, of his
own free glad accord. The other members of His family have gazed with
awe-touched faces upon the marvels of that plan. Its tenderness, its
depth, its wondrous love-wisdom have excited their deepest admiration
while they watch breathlessly to see the outcome.
That prodigal is our own splendid planet. Some of us down here have gladly
welcomed the Father's plan and the Father's Son. His Son is His plan. But
most of us don't seem to understand the Father. And that is hard on Him.
And the greater number of us, by far the greater number, haven't even
heard of the Father's plan or of His Son, and have lost the memory of His
loving voice calling. He is always calling. And everyone hears that
calling voice. But very many do not recognize it as the Father's.
In great tenderness the Father's plan for winning all includes the help of
those already won. Through His Son first, and then through His sons,
newborn, reborn, He is reaching out His warm, eager hand to all. He
breathed His own Spirit upon His Son. He breathes that same Spirit upon
each of us who will, that so we may, each of us, touch all the others with
the touch of God.
Five great touches of God there are, each charged with a mighty current of
power. The fragrant life-touch, the musical voice-touch, the warm
service-touch, the potent golden-touch, the secret, subtle prayer-touch.
The first three of these are limited to a narrow circle, the circle of the
immediate personality. The last two are limitless. They are like our own
spirits. They reach directly, resistlessly, clear out through the personal
circle as far as the spirit reaches, even around the whole circle of the
Just now for a little while we want to talk together about one of these,
the potent yellow golden-touch. The word service has been thought of quite
commonly as referring to certain restricted things that one may do for
another. It has a broader meaning too. Whatever we do to help another is
service. Not merely the direct activities, but praying and giving are
service of most potent influence. Money supplies a channel through which
one may reach most intimately to others, near by and around the world. It
is the golden channel of service.
Peculiar Effects of Money.
Money is queer stuff. The opposites meet in it so strikingly. It may be
the most cruel, exacting tyrant. It may be the most faithful, intelligent
servant. If it come into a man's life unaccompanied by a high, controlling
motive power, it has most peculiar effects upon him. It often wrinkles up
his face, and ties hard knots in the wrinkled lines. It can dwarf a warm
hand into a cold, hard, muscle-bound fist. It drains the warm blood from
the heart, and dries all the sweet, fragrant dew out of the spirit. The
hand suffers much. It is often stricken with a sort of palsy while in the
pocket, and cannot be withdrawn. Sometimes there is a violent cramp, or a
sort of pen paralysis that prevents the signing of the name--to certain
sorts of checks.
But if, on the other hand, it come into a man's possession accompanied by
a pure unselfish motive that _controls_, it comes the nearest to
omnipotence of anything we handle. Gold of itself seems to have the
puckering quality of a green persimmon. The green fruit will contract the
mouth to its smallest proportions. And unmellowed gold acts in the same
way upon the mouth of the pocket.
This is true of all gold and of all pockets. There are no exceptions. The
only possible way of effecting a change is to let a stronger power come in
and counteract the contracting power. Gold has the greatest contracting
power of any earthly substance. Its only sufficient counteractant is God.
God has the greatest expanding power known to angels or men. Gold
contracts. God expands. If God be the dominating motive power in a man's
life, then does gold come the nearest to omnipotence of any tangible
thing. It takes on the quality of Him who breathes upon it.
Jesus' Law for the Use of Money.
Jesus gives us the simple law for the right use of money. It is in that
sixteenth chapter of Luke. He is talking about the dishonest overseer of a
wealthy man's estate. His dishonest practices have been discovered, and he
is required to make a final settlement preliminary to his being
discharged. He has evidently been living extravagantly, for the loss of
position threatens him with beggary. Distressed to know what to do he hits
upon a farther extension of his dishonest practices, and uses the position
he is about to lose to buy up friends for his coming days of want.
As he tells the story Jesus adds this comment: "for the sons of this world
are for their own generation wiser than the sons of light." Practically
they go on the supposition that the present generation is the only one.
For the short space of years making up their own generation they are wiser
than the sons of light. But for the long space of all coming generations
they are the rankest fools. That is included by contrast in Jesus' words.
The man who in his use of money thinks only or chiefly of the years making
up his own present life is--a fool. The man who takes into his reckoning
not only the present generation, but all coming generations, in disposing
of his money is the shrewd financier.
Then occurs the sentence that contains a wonderfully simple statement
for the keen, wise use of gold. The old version runs like this: "Make to
yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness that when ye fail they
may receive you into everlasting habitations." The revised version, both
English and American, reads this way: "Make to yourselves friends by means
of the mammon of unrighteousness that when _it_ shall fail they may
receive you into the eternal tabernacles."
I have ventured to make a rather free translation that I feel sure is true
to the words here in their connection and that gives in simple English
just what Jesus means. "Make to yourselves friends by means of money,
which the unrighteous world reckons riches, that when it fails they may
receive you," and so on. Money is not riches. The world commonly has been
befooled into thinking that it is. Perhaps we have not all quite escaped
that delusion. And money is not unrighteous. It is neither righteous, nor
unrighteous. It gets its moral quality from the man owning it for the time
being. It is as he is. It takes on the color of its ownership.
Make to yourselves friends by means of the money that comes into your
control that when it fails they may receive you. That is to say, exchange
your money into the kind of coin that is current in the kingdom of God.
Exchange your gold into _lives_. That is the sort of coin current in the
homeland. This yellow stuff we call riches they use for paving stones up
in the homeland. Would that we might get it under our feet down here,
instead of being ruled by it.
The current coin of heaven is lives of men. And that too will be reckoned
the precious metal when the Kingdom of God comes to the earth. Exchange
your money into _men_; purified, uplifted, redeemed men. Buy letters of
credit that will be good in the homeland, and in the coming Kingdom days
on the earth, if you would be wealthy.
"That when it fails," Jesus says with fine discernment. Money will fail.
There is an end to the power of gold in itself. Money will be bankrupt
some day. It has enormous buying power now. Some day its buying power will
be all gone. Then it will take the place of cobble-stones. Yet it would
seem to be a failure there unless some new hardening process had been
found for it. Better use it while it has power of purchase. Better not be
caught with much of the yellow stuff sticking to you when the true values
are being settled. It'll all be dead loss then; dead stock, not worth the
space it occupies.
You remember the very old story of the wealthy man who died. And in a
group of people talking together somebody asked the usual question, "How
much did he _leave_?" And a wise man in the company replied tersely,
"Every cent; didn't take a copper along." That story is apt to provoke a
smile. But, do you know, it is sadder than it is witty. The man had gained
great wealth. He must have been endowed with some force and talent to do
that. His whole life and strength and talent had been devoted to making
money and hoarding it. That money was the whole output of the man's life.
Then he died and the whole output of his life was left behind. He passed
out of this life stripped to the skin. Into the other world, where wealth
is reckoned otherwise than in gold, he entered a sheer pauper. The
purchasing power of his wealth stopped at the line of departure out of
this world. _It failed_.
Exchange your gold into men. Buy up some of the kind of coin they use in
the homeland, so that you may have some wealth when you get there. Suppose
you should be over on the continent of Europe, shopping in Berlin. You buy
some goods in a store and lay down upon the counter a twenty-dollar gold
piece in payment. The salesman would say, "What sort of money is this?"
and you would likely say, "That is good American gold, sir." And he would
probably reply, "I have no doubt that is true, and that it is good money.
But it is not the sort we receive here. You will have to go to the bankers
and get it changed into German marks and then I'll be pleased to complete
this sale." And so you would be obliged to do if you had not thought to
provide yourself with German money.
There are some people that will have an experience like that after a
while, I'm thinking. Some one thinks that that is not a very likely
illustration. A man going to Europe would provide himself with proper
money to use. Maybe it is not a very good illustration for _Europe_. But
how about some other strange lands to which folks go? There seem to be
several people who expect to go to a strange country, and yet do not
provide any of its recognized coinage before going.
Here is a man who gets through his life down on the earth, and goes out
into the other life. Judging by the whole tenor of his life he will
attempt to take some of his belongings with him. Indeed so much are these
belongings a part of his very life that they seem inseparable from him.
Here he comes up to the gateway of the upper world. He is lugging along a
farm or two, some town lots, and houses, and a lot of beautifully engraved
paper, bank stock and railroad bonds and other bonds. They are absorbing
him completely as he puffs slowly along.
And as he gets up to the gateway, the gateman will say, "What's all that
stuff?" "_Stuff!_" he will say, astonished; "this is the most precious
wealth of earth, sir. I have spent my whole life, the cream of my strength
in accumulating this." "Oh, well," the reply will be, "I have no doubt
that is so. I am not disputing your word at all. But that sort of thing
does not pass current up in this land. That has to be exchanged at the
bankers' offices for the sort of coinage we use here."
The man looks a little relieved at this last remark. The other talk has
sounded strange, and given him a queer misgiving in his heart, as he
listened. But "banker" and "exchange"--that sounds familiar. The ground
feels a bit steadier. He picks up new spirit. "Where are the bankers'
offices, please?" he asks eagerly. "They are all down on the earth," comes
the quiet answer. "You must do your exchanging before you get as far up as
this. That stuff is all dead loss now. You can't take it back to the
bankers' now, and it is of no value here. Just leave it over on that dump
heap there outside the gate, and come in yourself." And the man comes in
with a strangely stripped and bare feeling.
What we get and keep for the sake of having, we lose, for we leave it
behind. What we give away freely for _Jesus'_ sake, for men's sake, we
will find by and by we have kept, for we have sent it ahead in a changed
There will be a strange readjustment of values on the other side. Some
men of splendid strength have spent it in accumulating earth's wealth.
They give, even freely it seems to be, in very large amounts. Yet be it
keenly marked the sum given by these men always bears a small proportion
to what is kept.
Others there are of equally splendid strength, and fine powers, who have
been spending that strength in influencing men. Their passion seems to
have been for _men_, for men's _selves_, for men's _lives_. The great bulk
of their strength and time has been deliberately given to this. And some
that have not understood have thought such conduct strange, a sort of fad
with these men. But when values are readjusted by the standards of the
final clearing house, some who have been very wealthy down here will be
reckoned among the very poor. And some who have been reckoned poor will be
found to be the shrewdest of investors. They will be the millionaires of
the Kingdom time and in the homeland. I do not mean _dollar_-millionaires,
but _life-millionaires._ The standard of wealth in the homeland is
_lives_, not dollars.
And some too there will be, and not few in numbers, who have given of
their strength in business pursuits to the making of money, as the Spirit
has guided them, or to whom it has been left in trust by others, and who
have been steadily investing the wealth that has come in the _lives of
men_. Some folks ought to be getting better acquainted at the foreign
exchange desk in the banks where this sort of business is done.
There are a good many banks that make a specialty of this sort of foreign
exchange. The great Church Boards, the International Committee of the
Young Men's Christian Associations, the American Committee of the Young
Women's Christian Associations, the individual churches and associations,
and the Bible Societies are a few of the better known of the banks having
a large exchange business of this sort.
Their methods of business have been very thoroughly systematized for the
convenience of investors. In almost every pew of a church may be found
little deposit envelopes, mediums of exchange. There are weekly
opportunities for making deposits. And the handling of the money has been
so thoroughly systematized, too, that, as a rule, a very small proportion
is taken up in keeping the banks running, the great bulk passing directly
out to the designated place of use.
Jesus says that our money in its new form will be waiting our arrival on
the other side. The men and women into whose lives we have been
exchanging it will be eagerly looking for us as the ship pulls into port.
When you get through with your life down here--it will be a long life, I
hope--you will go up and into the homeland. And--I suppose--at the first
you will have eyes and heart for nobody but _Jesus_. My mother used to say
to me, "I have thought that I would like to have a talk with Moses, and
with Elijah, and with John and Paul, but"--with the quick tears of deepest
emotion filling her dark eyes--"I have never been able in my thinking of
it, _to get past Jesus yet_." Even so it will be, no doubt, with all of
But this word of Jesus' own suggests that as you go in you will find some
one coming eagerly up with outstretched hands and such a glad face to meet
you. And he will say, "Oh! I have been looking forward so eagerly to
meeting you; welcome." And you will say, "Well, this is very kind of you.
But, pardon me, I can't just recall your face. Where was it I knew you? in
And he will say, with a flush of earnest feeling, "Oh, no! I never saw New
York. And I never saw you before. My home was over in the heart of China.
Our lives were very miserable there. There was a great tugging at my heart
that nothing seemed ever to ease. But one day a stranger came into our
village, with some little books, and as we gathered about him he talked
to us about _Jesus_, and you can never know how that story of Jesus came
to me, and how much it meant. My whole life was changed, and my home and
our village were changed. And since coming up here I have learned that it
was _through you_ that that man came, and I want to thank you. Next to
Jesus I think you're the best friend I have."
And you will be thinking, "I'm so glad I gave that money. I had to pinch
quite a bit, but that's nothing compared to the joy of this." And as that
is flashing swiftly through your thought, here is somebody else eagerly
pressing up, with the same word of welcome, and a face with such a glad
light the sight of which is alone quite enough to even up any sacrifice.
And you will say maybe, "And where did I meet you? are you from China,
No, this one is from a western frontier settlement where the home
missionary had gone, and now this one elbowing by her with the same
lightened face is from the mountain section of the South. And so they come
eagerly up from many places where you have never been in person but where
you have gone potentially through your money. That is what Jesus means.
Make to yourselves friends by means of money which the unrighteous world
reckons riches, that when it fails they may welcome you eagerly into the
homeland. Exchange your gold into lives.
There is a divine alchemy whereby money may be transmuted into redeemed,
purified, uplifted lives. There is another alchemy whereby men, made of
finest gold in the image of God, may be transmuted into the basest metals.
When Moses coming down from the presence of God saw the shocking sight of
the people worshiping a calf made of gold, he reproached Aaron for
permitting it. Do you remember Aaron's answer? He had the gift of speech,
you remember, an easy, smooth way of explaining things. Yet in the light
of the recited facts the answer seems rather lame. It needs a crutch to
steady it up. He said, that he had put in the gold and--"_there came out
A great many men might fairly make use of Aaron's explanation. They have
put into the crucible of life their gold, themselves, God's finest gold
intrusted to their hands. And under their manipulation what has come out
is as a vealy, callow calf, a bull calf at that too, scrub stock, fit only
for the ax.
There is the other, the divine alchemy whereby a man may put in the gold
intrusted to his handling and there shall come out _lives_, sweet, strong,
fragrant lives, made anew in the image of their Maker.
The Fragrance of the Life in the Gift.
It is a part of the peculiar potent value of money that there can be a
practical transfer of personality through its use. For instance I have a
friend whose heart burned to go to a foreign mission field for service
there. But the physician said it would not be wise for her to go. Yielding
to his expert judgment, she still yearned to be of service there. In the
providence of God she became intrusted with large wealth. And so she
arranged to have a man go in her stead to China, she caring for all the
expense involved, while he was so left wholly free for the service.
Tell me, was that not a practical transfer of her personality to the point
of service where he is engaged? Then she arranged for another, and
another, and yet others. It is not only a transfer of personality in
practical results, but a duplication of personality, and a triplication,
and more. For she is busy in her home circle, while her representatives
are busy elsewhere through the influence of her action.
A young woman, graduate of a western college, developed much talent in
speaking to other young women of the Christian life. Her public service
was much blessed in the lives of large numbers of women. She had no
wealth, but was dependent upon her efforts for a livelihood. Another young
woman, in the East, came under the warm spell of her personality and
speech. And her life was blessedly revolutionized by that spell. Her own
heart burned to be doing something of the sort for her sisters out over
But she seemed not to have gifts of that kind. Yet she had been intrusted
with large means. And so she said to her new friend whom God had so
graciously blessed to her own life, "Let us be partners together. I will
so gladly give what I have, that you may be wholly free to give to others
what you have brought to me." And so it was arranged. And the one woman
gives of the gold of her inheritance while the other gives her life and
her special gift. The one in her home pays and prays. The other goes
constantly here and there, and lives are ever transformed through the
Spirit of God resting upon her.
Is not that a practical transfer of personality? and duplication of
personality, too? Is not this young woman whose own actual personality
remains, in the gracious providence of God, in her home, is she not going
potentially about from place to place winning her sisters up to the
highlands of the best living? It surely is so.
And these two are but illustrations of the many who have come to
understand Jesus' law for the right use of money. And there are to be many
more as the days go by, doing just that sort of thing. And let those of us
who have not been intrusted either with the large amount of money, or
with the large power to earn, remember that the _amount_ involved does not
affect the law of results. All who have felt the blessed contagion of the
Master's example will give freely of what is in store, whether much or
Those whose giving is in smaller amounts by our bulky way of reckoning
values, may still be making that same blessed transfer and doubling their
own capacity for service through the agency of their gold. For the gold
given represents the life that gives. And the gift takes on the quality
and power and fragrance of the life that gives it. I have sometimes
thought that there seems to be a peculiar potency in the smaller gifts,
that represent as they so often do the greatest, most devoted sacrifice.
Could we trace the intricate crossings of the lines of influence in the
web of life, we would be awed many times at the potency of the giving that
is small in amount but tinted red with the life-blood of sacrifice.
It should be remembered that through this strange stuff called money there
is a double transfer of personality going on all the time. Men are
constantly transferring themselves into gold, in a perfectly proper way. A
man gives his labor, and at the end of a specified period he gets a
certain amount of money. That money represents himself. It is himself for
that length of time. That is the first transfer of manhood in money. It is
going on all the time. It is necessarily so, for so we get our food, and
clothing, and home.
Then there is the re-transfer of this money into some other form. As we
choose to use this money, so we are re-transferring ourselves into what
forms we will. The money is the transition state of ourselves. We pass
through it out into the exchange of life. We reveal ourselves in the way
we pass it out. In no way does a man reveal the true inner self more. And
if perchance we let it, or some of it, lie and gather rust, there we are,
some part of us being covered with rust.
Sacrifice Hallows and Increases the Gift.
But there is more yet to be said here. The great blending of the spirit
forces with gold comes out wondrously in this: that _sacrifice hallows
what it touches_. And under its hallowing touch values increase by long
leaps and big bounds. Here is a fine opportunity for those who would
increase the value of gifts that seem small in amount. Without stopping
now for the philosophy of it, this is the tremendous fact.
Perhaps the annual foreign missionary offering is being taken up in your
church. The pastor has preached a special sermon, and it has caught fire
within you. You find yourself thinking as he preaches, and during the
prayer following, "I believe I can easily make it fifty dollars this year.
I gave thirty-five last time." You want to be careful _not_ to make it
fifty dollars, because you can do that _easily_. If you are shrewd to have
your money count the most, you will pinch a bit somewhere and make it
sixty-two fifty. For the extra amount that you pinch to give will hallow
the original sum and increase its practical value enormously. Sacrifice
hallows what it touches, and the hallowing touch acts in geometrical
proportion upon the value of the gift.
Better turn your gown, and readjust your hat, for the sacrifice involved
will give a new beauty to the spirit looking out through your face. And
real folks will not be able to get past the beauty of face to the
incidentals of your apparel. Wear your derby another season, and get your
shoes half-soled, and some deft mending done. Let that extra horse go to
other buyers, and the automobile be picked up by somebody who has not yet
mined any of the fine gold of sacrifice. The coming rainy day will never
be able to use up all that some folks are salting down for it.
And yet some folks, many folks, should be spending more on their bodies
and giving less. The giving should never intrench upon the strength of
one's personality. That is a treasure to be sacredly guarded. All the
power of one's life, in serving, in giving, in praying, in speaking, and
in personal contact, the power of all roots down in the personality. The
safe rule, and the only safe rule, is to decide such questions with the
knee-joint bent, and the door shut, and the spirit willing. A strong will
played upon by the Holy Spirit, mellowed by emotions that have been moved
by the need, and held steady by a disciplined judgment must attend to
loosening the purse-strings.
But the one fact being emphasized here just now is that the element of
sacrifice must be in the giving if it is to be effective. Sacrifice was
the dominant factor in _God's_ giving of His Son, real sacrifice. It was
dominant in _Jesus'_ giving of His own self and His life, keen cutting
sacrifice. Who will follow in _their_ train? Whoever will, will be getting
a post-graduate course in financiering and in multiplying of values. He
will be astonished at the results working out, and most astonished at the
Keeping out of circulation more than one's wants, properly adjusted, call
for is poor financiering. For that which is held back is not earning
anything. All beyond one's needs should be out in circulation for the
Master in His campaign for a world. Yet nowhere is there finer chance or
greater need for the play of keen judgment than in deciding that question
of need. Mistakes are made on both sides. It looks very much as though the
most serious mistakes are being made on the side of too little sacrifice
or none. Yet clearly some serious mistakes are made on the other side
too. But no one may criticise another. Each must decide for himself. In
the judgment of charity we are to presume that each is doing what he
thinks right and best. We are, none of us, the keeper of our brother's
A Living Sacrifice.
There is a simple story told that contains its truth in its very
naturalness and simplicity. It reveals a bit of the real life ever going
on all around us unnoticed. A minister in a certain small town in an
eastern state received from the home mission board of his church a letter
asking for a special offering for a needy field in the West. With the
letter was literature setting forth the need. The call appealed to him and
with good heart he prepared a special sermon, calling the attention of his
people to the great need.
Sabbath morning came and he preached the sermon. But somehow it did not
just seem to hook in. That banker down there on the left looked listless,
and yawned a couple of times behind his hand. And the merchant over on the
right, who could give freely, examined his watch secretly more than once.
And so it was with a little tinge of discouragement insistently creeping
into his spirit that he finished, and sat down. And he remained with head
bowed in prayer that the results might prove better than seemed likely,
while the church officers passed down the aisles with the collection
Meanwhile something unseen by human eye was going on in the very last pew.
Back there, sitting alone, was a little girl of a poor family. She had met
with a misfortune which left her crippled. And her whole life seemed so
dark and hopeless. But some kind friends in the church, pitying her
condition, had made up a small fund and bought her a pair of crutches. And
these had seemed to transform her completely. She went about her rounds
always as cheery and bright as a bit of sunshine.
She had listened to the sermon, and her heart had been strangely warmed by
the preacher's story of need. And as he was finishing she was thinking,
"How I wish I might give something. But I haven't anything to give, not
even a copper left." And a very soft voice within seemed to say very
softly, but very distinctly, "There are your crutches." "Oh," she gasped
to herself as though it took away her very breath, "my crutches? I
couldn't give my _crutches_; they're my _life_." And that strangely clear
voice went on, so quietly, "Yes--you _could_--and then some one would know
of Jesus--if you did--and that would mean so much to them--He's meant so
much to you--give your crutches." And her breath seemed to fail her at the
thought. And so the little woman had her fight all unseen and unknown by
those in the church. And by and by the victory came. And she sat with a
beautiful light in her tearful eyes, and a smile coming to her lips,
waiting for the plate to get to her pew.
And the man with the plate came down the aisle to the end. It seemed
hardly worth while reaching it into the last pew. Just little Maggie
sitting there alone, with her one foot dangling above the floor. But with
fine courtesy he stopped and passed the plate in. And Maggie in her
childlike simplicity lifted her crutches, and tried rather awkwardly to
put them on the collection plate. Quick as a flash the man caught her
thought, and with a queer lump in his throat reached out and steadied her
strange gift on the plate.
And then he turned back and walked slowly up the aisle toward the pulpit,
carrying the plate in one hand and steadying the crutches on it with the
other. And people commenced to look. And eyes quickly dimmed. Everybody
knew the crutches. _Maggie_--giving her _crutches_! And the banker over
here blew his nose suddenly and reached for his pencil, and the merchant
reached out to stop the man returning up his aisle.
As the pastor stood with his eyesight not very clear to receive the
morning's offering, he said, "Surely our little crippled friend is giving
us a wonderful example." Then the plates were called back toward the
pews. And somebody paid fifty dollars for the crutches, and sent them back
to that end pew. When the offering was counted up it contained several
hundred dollars. And the little girl, crippled in body but not in any
other way, hobbled out of church the happiest little woman in the world.
She had recognized and obeyed the inner voice. That was the simple
explanation of her giving. And her gift, small in itself, _touched with
sacrifice_, became worth several hundred dollars in its earning power. And
the original investment was returned for its usual service. And her gift
has been increasing in its earning power as its recital has reached other
hearts, and the end is not yet. I do not know just where Maggie is now.
But I do know that she will be a greatly surprised woman some day when she
finds out what God has done with her sacrifice-hallowed gift. She
recognized and obeyed the inner Voice. That is the one law of giving, as
of all living.
Worry: A Hindrance to Service.
A Fence of Trust.
A Lord of the Harvest.
Do Your Best--Leave the Rest.
Anxious for Nothing.
Thankful for Anything.
Prayerful about Everything.
A Steamer Chair for His Friend.
He Has You on His Heart.
Paul's Prison Psalm.
He Touched Her Hand.
Worry: A Hindrance to Service.
(Psalm xxxvii:1-11; Matthew vi:19-34, Philippians iv:6-7. American
There is nothing commoner than worry. Everybody seems to worry. Men worry.
Women worry. It is commonly supposed that women worry more than men. I
doubt it. After watching both pretty closely under all sorts of
circumstances I doubt it. Yet if it be true that woman does worry the
more, I think it is because, being more sensitively organized, she is more
keenly alive to the issues involved and to the responsibilities of life.
Poor people worry. Those with enough money to be easy worry. And those
with the largest wealth seem to worry too. Busy folks worry. And so do the
idle. The cultured and scholarly touch elbows with the ignorant here.
Americans are supposed to be specialists in worrying. The name
Americanitis has been given to a certain run-down condition of the nerves.
Well, we may possibly have set the pace, and may be making new records.
But certainly there are plenty of pushing followers. Our Canadian
neighbors seem not to be wholly strangers to worry. Nor our British and
Dutch forbears. The European continentals, and those of the East nearer
and farther off seem to be good or bad at worrying. It is a characteristic
of the race everywhere, the difference being merely in the degree. It
seems inbred in man.
There are two "don't-worry" chapters in this old Bible, one in the Old
Testament and one in the New. In the Old Testament is the Thirty-seventh
Psalm with its oft-repeated "fret not." The word under that English phrase
"fret not" is significant. It is so blunt as to sound almost like a bit of
American slang. Literally it means "don't get hot." The New Testament has
the sixth chapter of Matthew with Jesus' own words. One should be careful
here to note the better reading of the revision. The old version says
"take no thought," and that has been misunderstood by many who have not
thought about its meaning. The newer translations are truer to the meaning
on Jesus' lips. Do not take _anxious_ thought, "be not anxious." But apart
from these two chapters there is a phrase running through these pages
clear through the whole Book, a phrase shot through, piercing everywhere,
even as the glorious sunlight pierces through the thick cloud and fog. I
mean the phrase "fear not." All worry roots down its tenacious tendrils
A Fence of Trust.
It will help to understand just what worry is. It is always an advantage
to get an enemy clearly defined and keep it so, so you can hit it harder,
and make every blow tell on a vital part of its anatomy.
Worry is not concern, but distress of mind. Some one said to me at the
close of a talk on worry, "some folks ought to worry more." Of course he
meant that some people should bear their share of the responsibilities of
life, instead of selfishly and lazily shirking them. There is a proper
concern about matters for which we are responsible. A man never makes a
good speech unless there is a feeling of concern, of apprehension lest
there be failure in that for which he is pleading. A strong sensitive
spirit feels the responsibility and does the best to meet it. Worry is
mental distress. It is sinking under the sense of responsibility. It is
_yielding_ to the fear that there may be failure, instead of gripping the
lines and whip and determining to ride down the chance of its coming.
Sometimes worry is carrying to-morrow's load with to-day's strength;
carrying two days in one. It is moving into to-morrow ahead of time.
There is just one day in the calendar of action; that's to-day. Planning
should include a wide swing of days; wise planning must. But action
belongs to one day only, to-day.
"Build a little fence of trust
Fill the space with living work
And therein stay;
Look not through the sheltering bars
God will help thee bear what comes
Of joy or sorrow."
"Live for to-day, to-morrow's sun
To-morrow's cares will bring to light,
Go like the infant to thy sleep
And heaven thy morn shall bless."
A Lord of the Harvest.
Sometimes worry is carrying a load that one should not carry at all. I
think it was Lyman Beecher who said that he got along very comfortably
after he gave up running the universe. Some good earnest people are
greatly concerned about the way things in the world are going, I'm obliged
to confess to some pretty serious blunders there. It seemed to me that
there was so much to be done, so many people needing help, so much of
wrong and sin to fight that I must be ever pushing and never sleeping. I
had to sleep of course; but all my burden, which meant the burden of the
world's need as I saw it, was lugged faithfully to bed every night. There
was a lot of pillow-planning. But I found that the wrinkles grew thick,
and the physical strength gave out, and yet at the end of vigorous
campaigning there _seemed_ about as much left to do as ever.
Then one day my tired eyes lit upon that wondrous phrase, "the lord of the
harvest." It caught fire in my heart at once. "Oh! there is a _Lord_ of
the harvest," I said to myself. I had been forgetting that. He is a Lord,
a masterful one. He has the whole campaign mapped out, and each one's part
in helping mapped out too. And I let the responsibility of the campaign
lie over where it belonged. When night time came I went to bed to sleep.
My pillow was this, "There is a _Lord_ of the harvest."
My keynote came to be _obedience_ to Him. That meant keen ears to hear,
keen judgment to understand, keeping quiet so the sound of His voice would
always be distinctly heard. It meant trusting Him when things didn't seem
to go with a swing. It meant sweet sleep at night, and new strength at the
day's beginning. It did not mean any less work. It did seem to mean less
friction, less dust. Aye, it meant better work, for there was a swing to
it, and a joyous abandon in it, and a rhythm of music with it. And the
undercurrent of thought came to be like this: There is a _Lord_ to the
harvest. He is taking care of things. My part is full, faithful,
intelligent obedience to Him. He is a Master, a masterful One. He is
organizing victory. And the fine tingle of victory was ever in the air.
Do Your Best--Leave the Rest.
I knew a mother one of whose sons was not a Christian man, and not of good
habits. She was a devoted true Christian woman, bearing her part in life's
service with fine faith and a keen sweet spirit. The children were all
Christians but this one, her first-born, the beginning of her strength.
The thought of him troubled her much. She prayed fervently, and used her
best endeavor, and the years grew on without change. And her face showed
the burden upon her fine spirit. We would talk together about her son, and
pray together, but her brow remained clouded.
Then I marked a change. The lines of tension in her face relaxed. A new
quiet light came into her eye. There seemed a gentle intangible, but very
sure, peace breathing about her. And I knew there was no change in him. So
one day in conversation I ventured to ask about the change. And I shall
always remember the gentle voice and the quiet strength with which she
said, "I have given him over to my Father. And I know He will not fail
me. I am still praying, of course, as ever, and I am _trusting_ for him."
She had been carrying a load that she should not have been carrying. And
now while the mother-heart was still concerned as much as ever, the sense
of assured victory brought the change in her spirit.
Sometimes worry is fretting over past mistakes; it is chafing about what
we do not understand, or about plans of _ours_ that have failed. A good
deal of worry comes from pride and over-sensitiveness. The roots here, it
will be noticed, of all alike are down in our own failures, our own
selves. And there would be cause for more worry if we had only ourselves.
But we have _a Father_.
A very great deal of worry is wholly due to physical causes. Overworked
nerves always see things distorted. Huge phantom shapes loom up before us.
Overwork always makes a sensitive spirit worry, and worry usually makes us
overwork until we drop from exhaustion. When the cause is here, there are
some simple _human_ helps. Some--a good bit--of _God's_ fresh air will
work wonders. Even good people seem unchangeably opposed to _God's_ air,
and insist on breathing old, worn-out, used-up second-hand air. God would
be greatly glorified if housekeepers and church sextons were given a
practical course in the use of fresh air, God's air. With that should be
simple food, and simple dress, and abundant sleep, and simple standards of
Worry is utterly _useless_. It never serves a good purpose. It brings no
good results. "Which of you can by being anxious add a single span to the
measure of his life?" Jesus asks in that sixth of Matthew. But much more
can be said. _It brings bad results_. The revision brings out the clear,
simple meaning of the Thirty-seventh Psalm, eighth verse. The old version
seems a bit puzzling, "Fret not thyself in anywise to do evil." The
revision reads, "Fret not thyself, it tendeth only to evil doing." The
results of worrying are always bad. The judgment is impaired. One cannot
think so clearly nor see so clearly. The temper is ruffled. The door is
quickly opened to worse things.
It is _sinful_ to worry. For the Master repeatedly commands us, "Be _not_
anxious." It helps to get a habit labeled correctly. Here to tack on
"sinful" in block letters, black ink, white paper, so as to get greatest
contrast is a decided help. And worrying is a reproach upon Jesus. Let the
Gentiles, the outsiders, the people who have not taken Jesus into their
lives, let them worry if they _will_. But _we_ must not. For we have
_Jesus_. Let these who leave Him out grow crow-toes, and deeply-bitten
wrinkles, and turkey-foot markings. Without Him how can they help
themselves? But we folk who have _Jesus_ should have smoothly rounded
faces, the lines all filled up and ironed out. It reproaches Jesus before
folks for us to be as they are in this regard.
Out of the midst of a great pressure of work, with a body tired out, Dr.
Charles F. Deems, the busy pastor of The Church of The Strangers in New
York City, wrote these lines years ago:
"The world is wide,
In time and tide,
And God is quick;
Then _do not hurry_.
"That man is blest,
Who _does his best_,
And _leaves_ the rest;
Then _do not worry_."
A man should do his _best_. There should be no _shirking_. Yet I need
hardly say that here, because shirking people, lazy people do not worry.
They haven't enough snap about them to worry. But it steadies one to put
the thing just as Dr. Deems put it. "_Do your best, and_, then _leave_ all
the rest to God." And when sleep time comes, sleep.
Anxious for Nothing.
Likely as not some one will say, "We knew all that before. But how are we
going to quit worrying? That's what we need to be told." Well, I can tell
you. Sometimes a man speaks cautiously, but here one can speak with great
positiveness. There are three simple rules how not to worry. They are
infallible. I heard of a society whose purpose it was to cure worry. There
were _thirty-seven_ rules, I think. It would worry some of us a good bit
to memorize any such length of instruction as that. The remedy seems to be
on a high shelf. And in standing up on a chair and reaching there is some
danger that the chair may tip over and the last state not be an
improvement on the first.
But here are three very simple rules, easy to follow, and they will never
fail. They are not my rules, that is, not of my making, or I might not be
speaking so positively. They are given by the blessed Holy Spirit, through
our dear old friend Paul. In Philippians, chapter four, verses six and
seven, are the words that contain the rules: "In nothing be anxious; but
in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your
requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all
understanding, shall guard your hearts and your thoughts in Christ Jesus."
The first rule is this, _anxious for nothing._ In other words, _don't_
worry. Deliberately refuse to think about annoying things. Set yourself
against being disturbed by disturbing things. Say to yourself, it is
useless, it has bad results, it is sinful, it is reproaching my Master, I
_won't._ That is the first simple rule.
Thankful for Anything.
The second helps to carry out the first. It is this, _thankful for
anything._ Thanksgiving and praise are always associated with singing.
When you feel the worry mood creeping on--it is a mood that attacks
you--when it comes sing something, especially something with Jesus' name
in it. These temptations to worry are from the Evil One. He can come in
only through an _open_ door. Remember that. Yet the open doors seem
plenty. Even when we trustingly and resolutely keep every door of evil
shut the circle in which we move will open doors upon us. Singing
something with Jesus' name in it sends him or any of his brood off
quickly. They hate that Name of their Conqueror. They get away from the
sound of it as fast as they can.
A friend was calling upon another and began pouring out a stream of
personal woes. This had gone wrong, and this, and this other would go
wrong. Everything was wrong. And her friend, who knew her quite well, had
her get a pencil and paper and asked her if possibly there was _one_ thing
for which she could be thankful. Reluctantly from her lips came the
mention of some particular thing for which she felt indeed grateful. Then
a second was gradually recalled, and then more. And as the train of
thought grew on her she suddenly asked, "Why was I so despondent when I
came in? Everything seems so changed."
It's a fine thing to go about one's work singing some hymn with praise in
it, and with Jesus' name in it. And if singing may not always be allowable
under all circumstances, you can _hum_ a tune. And that brings up to the
memory the words connected with it. I know of a woman who was much given
to worrying. She made it a rule to sing the long-meter doxology whenever
things seemed not right. Ofttimes she could hardly get her lips shaped up
to begin the first words. But she would persist. And by the time the
fourth line came it was ringing out and her atmosphere had changed without
This was David's rule. He said: "Thy statutes have been my songs in the
house of my pilgrimage." He is not speaking of the time when he was
acknowledged king over both Judah and all Israel, when the fortress of
Jerusalem was his own capital. No, he is talking of the earlier days of
his _pilgrimage_. When he was being hunted over the Judean fastnesses by
King Saul. When with his band of faithful men he was ever fleeing for his
life. He slept in caves and dens or out in the open, and always with one
eye open. There he used to sing God's praises. A messenger would come
breathlessly in some morning with the news that Saul was just over yonder
ravine with a thousand men. And as David planned what best to do, and
arranged his men, he would be singing.
Maybe he would sing that Twenty-third Psalm:
"For Thou art with me; and Thy rod
And staff me comfort still."
Or, maybe sometimes,
"To Thee I lift my soul;
O Lord, I trust in Thee:
My God, let me not be ashamed
Nor foes triumph o'er me."
Or, likely, he often sang:
"The Lord's my light and saving health;
Who shall make me dismayed?
My life's strength is the Lord; of whom
Then shall I be afraid?"
Or if perhaps Ezra wrote this psalm it takes one back to his weary,
dangerous journey over from Babylon to Jerusalem and the very difficult
work he was undertaking in Jerusalem in reorganizing the life of the
people again. He used to sing on the way, and through all his
It is a great rule.
"When the day is gloomy
Sing some happy song;
Meet the world's repining
With a courage strong."
Some one asked me if whistling would do. She was a busy housewife and said
that was her rule. I have gone to singing myself. But maybe whistling is
just as good. I'm inclined to favor giving it a place within the range of
There's a bit of deep, simple philosophy here. Music is divine. There is
no music in the headquarters of the enemy. He has used it a great deal on
the earth. That's a bit of his cunning. But he always has to steal it from
God's sphere, and work it over to suit his own crafty purposes. Music,
singing, is an open doorway for the Spirit of God to come in, and come in
anew and move freely. Its sweet harmonies found their birth in the
presence of God where sweetest harmonies reign. Lovers of music should be
lovers of God, for He is the one great Master-musician.
When Elisha was asked to prophesy victory for Israel over the enemy at one
time, he refused. He was not in harmony with this king nor his associates.
His spirit refused to respond to their request. But at their urgent
request he yielded, and called for a musician. And as the strains of music
fell upon his ear and entered into his spirit he felt the divine presence
and influence anew. We should use the musician more in our days of
battle. And God has wonderfully provided every one of us with a music-box
of sweet melodies. If we would only open the lid, and let frequent use
wear off the rust, and sing His praise more. In music God speaks to us
anew with great power. This is the second rule, _thankful for anything_.
Prayerful about Everything.
The third rule helps to make both first and second effective. These three
are closely interwoven. They always work together. Each suggests the other
two. They are an interwoven trinity. The third is this, _prayerful about
everything_. There are some unusually fine bits from the old Book to help
here. Referring to the discipline which God's love makes Him use, David
says: "For His anger is but for a moment: His _favor_ is for _a lifetime_.
Weeping _may_ come in to lodge at even, but joy cometh in the
morning." There _may_ be weeping. There _shall_ be joy. Weeping won't
There's a morning coming, always a morning coming, with the sunshine and
the chorus of the birds. Love's discipling touch that seems at the moment
like anger is only for a moment. (The printer wanted to change that word
discipling to disciplining; but God's tenderness comes to us anew when we
realize that _disciplining_ with its sharp edge means the same as
_discipling_ with its softer warmer touch.) The loving favor is for
always, a lifetime of eternal life.
Again David says, "Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and He shall _sustain_
thee." The margin explains that the thing that weighs as a burden is
something God has given us. He has sent it or allowed it to come. He has
strong purpose in all He does. Here the promise is not that the burden
will be removed, but that He will pick up both you and your burden into
His arms and carry both. Many a man has praised God for the burden that
made him know the tender touch of strong arms.
The same thing is repeated in the Sixty-eighth Psalm with tender
variations. "Blessed be the Lord who day by day beareth our burden."
Probably Peter knew a good bit about this subject. His temperament was of
the impulsive sort that knows quick squalls at sea. But he had learned how
to ride through them undisturbed to the calmer waters. He says, "Casting
all your anxiety upon Him because He careth for you." The force of the
French version is said to be "_unloading_ your anxiety upon Him." Back the
cart up, tilt it over, let down the tail-board, let it all slip out over
upon Him. The literal reading of that last half is, "_He has you on His
"Is not this enough alone
For the gladness of the day?"
But many of us have an inner feeling that some matters are too small, too
trivial to take to God. We will take the great things, the serious things
to Him and find the help needed. But it seems childish almost to be
bothering the great God about trifling details, we are apt to think. We
are even annoyed with ourselves to think that we have allowed such petty
things to make us lose our balance and control. We want to underscore and
italicize this fact: _if a thing is big enough to concern you, it is not
too small for Him "because He has you on His heart_." For _your_ sake He
is eager to help in anything, however small in itself it may seem.
Indeed it is the little things that fret and tease and nag so. The big
things are more easily handled. But the little insectivorous details that
will not down! Have you ever had this experience? You have retired on a
hot summer night, tired and heavy with sleep. You are almost off when a
mosquito that in some inexplicable way has eluded all screens and nettings
comes singing its way about your face. It is just one. It seems so small.
If it were only big enough to hit, something worthy of one's strength. But
the mean little nagging specimen seems to elude every effort of yours.
Maybe you take calm, deliberate measures to end its existence, but
meanwhile you are thoroughly aroused and lose quite a bit of the sleep you
Just such a mosquito warfare do the little cares make upon one's strength,
frittering it away. It cannot be too insistently repeated that whatever is
big enough to cause me any thought is not too small for my God. He is
concerned because I am concerned.
A Steamer Chair for His Friend.
It helps immensely here to recall the necessary qualities of a great
executive, one who is concerned about the conduct of large affairs. There
are two great qualities absolutely needful in any one occupying such a
position. There must be the ability to grasp the whole scheme involved,
and to keep one's finger upon every detail, as well. God is a great
executive, _the_ great executive of the universe. He planned the vast
scheme of worlds making up the universe, and every detail. The whole
universe in its immensity, and the intricacy of its movements, is kept in
motion by Him. And every detail down to the smallest, the falling of one
of the smallest birds, is ever under His thoughtful eye and touch. And He
is our God. He has each of us on His heart.
We may learn of God by looking at man, made in His image. A story is told
of a merchant well known on both sides of the water, illustrating this.
His business interests are very extensive, with great stores in three of
the world's great cities. He has displayed great genius for controlling
the details of his vast enterprise. It is said that at one time when his
business was developing its greatness, this was his habit. He would come
to a clerk's desk unexpectedly and, sitting down quietly, note the
transactions that came along. Here was a sales slip; three yards of
calico, seven cents per yard, twenty-one cents; a bolt of tape, three
cents, total twenty-four cents; cash fifty cents, twenty-six cents change.
He would very quietly note the calculations, and call attention to any
He might stay there a half-hour. Then he was away again. It was never
known when he might come, nor where. He was always marked for his genial
courtesy toward all his employees. That was his habit for years, I am
told. His talent for details amounts to positive genius. And with this
goes the ability to originate and build up and keep ever growing his vast
business operations. And this man is but one of a very large class in our
day of specialized organization. This faculty of controlling both the
whole, and each detail, is a bit of the image of God in these men. Only
man is ever less than God. The best organization slips sometimes,
somewhere. But God never fails. Each of us is personal to Him. He can
think of each as though there were no other needing His thought, and He
A little incident is told of George Mueller of Bristol, England. He is the
man who taught the whole world anew how to trust God. Poor in his own
holdings, he expended millions of dollars in caring for orphans,
supporting missionaries, and distributing printed truth. He never asked
any man for money nor made any needs known. He trusted God for all and for
each. The two thousand and more orphans, and the cutting of his quill pen
were alike subjects of prayer with him.
At one time, in the course of his missionary travels around the world, he
was embarking on an ocean voyage. He was an old man at the time, and
accompanied by a young man who attended to the details of travel. After
they had boarded the steamer his companion came up hurriedly to say that
the steamer chair for Mr. Mueller's use was not on board and he could not
get any trace of it. It would of course be a very necessary convenience
for the steamer trip. Mr. Mueller inquired if the proper notice had been
sent to have it on board. Yes, all had been done that should have been
done. And now the time was very short.
Mr. Mueller breathed a quiet prayer, and then said to his companion not to
be disturbed, that he felt sure it would be on hand in time. The attendant
went off again to see what could be done, came back evidently annoyed at
the possibility of his elder distinguished companion being inconvenienced.
But Mr. Mueller quieted him with the assurance that the chair would come.
They stood at the side rail above, overlooking the dock.
At the very last moment, just as the hawsers were about to be thrown off,
and the gang plank pulled away, a truck of luggage was hurriedly run on
board, and on top of the pile the friends watching above could plainly see
a steamer chair with G. M. marked on it. Mr. Mueller, standing in his group
of friends, looked up past them and quietly said, "Father, I thank Thee."
Was God in that simple occurrence? He surely was. He was concerned that
His faithful friend should have the chair for his bodily comfort. Man's
arrangements seemed in danger of slipping. His overruling touch was put in
for His friend's sake. A chair wasn't too small for God because it was for
His friend, Mr. Mueller.
He Has You on His Heart.
I got a similar story from Dr. James H. Brookes of St. Louis, a number of
years ago while in his home over night. It was about J. Hudson Taylor,
founder of the China Inland Mission, who had learned through many years of
trusting how faithful God is. Mr. Taylor had been speaking in Dr. Brookes'
church, and was to go to a town in southern Illinois to speak at the
Sabbath services. Saturday morning they went down to the railroad station
to get the train, and stepped into the station just as the train was
pulling out at the other end. There was no possible chance of catching it.
It seemed all the more exasperating that they could see the train moving
away out of reach.
Dr. Brookes of course felt much chagrined. Mr. Taylor being a stranger in
the country, and the guest of Dr. Brookes, had trusted his arrangements.
Inquiries were quickly made about other trains. But there would not be
another train out that way until night. And as they were questioning and
talking the station-master said, "There's that train over there; it runs
into Illinois and crosses another road down to where you want to go. They
are supposed to make connections, but they never do." Dr. Brookes said he
went off to make further inquiries, and coming back in a few moments was
surprised to find Mr. Taylor standing on the rear platform of the train
that never made the connection.
He said, "Why, Mr. Taylor, that won't make the connection." And Mr.
Taylor smiled and in his very quiet way said, "Good-bye, Doctor, my Father
runneth the trains." That seemed to sound well for a sermon. But to Dr.
Brookes' misgivings there came again the quiet "Good-bye, Doctor, my
Father runneth the trains." After starting Mr. Taylor explained the
situation to the conductor, the importance of his engagement, and of
making the desired connection, hoping the trainman might be of some
service. The man hoped he would get the train, but said it was very
doubtful as they rarely did. Mr. Taylor thanked him, and sat quietly
Was the connection made? As Mr. Taylor's train pulled in the other was
standing at the station. The conductor said, "Well, there it is, but I
didn't expect it." There was quite enough time to get across the platform
without hurrying and into the other train when it moved off. Was God in
that? I have no difficulty at all in understanding that He was. What
concerned His friend, in a strange land, on an errand for Himself surely
concerned Him. What concerns any trusting child of His concerns Him, for
He has us on His heart.
I recall a personal experience in Boston one summer day. It was a very hot
day. I was to meet my mother and sister in the North Union station, where
we were to take a train out. I had their tickets. I reached the station
from my errands, hot and tired and with my head aching, ideal conditions
for worry. As I stepped into the station I realized at once that our
appointment to meet was not very definite. For the large station was
crowded. There was not much time before our train would go. And I
commenced to be agitated, which is a gentler way of saying worried. What
_would_ I do? It would be extremely inconvenient, especially for my
mother, to miss the train. And the time was short, and--and--.
You see I was not a _graduate_ in this don't-worry school. I'm not yet;
still studying; expect to enter for post work when I do graduate. The
school is still open; open to all; instruction given _individually_ only;
the Teacher has had long _experience_ Himself on the earth, in the thick
Well, I said as I stood a moment in the thick crowd, "Master, you know
where they are. Please take me to them. Maybe I should have been more
careful about the appointment, but I was tired at the start. Please--thank
you." And in less time than it takes to tell you I met them right in the
thick of the great crowd. And I felt sure that Peter got his putting of it
straight when he said of the Master, "_He has you on His heart_."
Paul's Prison Psalm.
Did Paul follow his own rules? The best answer to that is this little
four-chaptered epistle where the rules are found. Philippians is a prison
psalm. The clanking of chains resounds throughout its brief pages. At one
end is Philippi; at the other Rome. Here is the Philippian end. In the
inner dungeon of a prison, dark, dirty, damp, is a man, Paul. His back is
bleeding and sore from the whipping-post. His feet are fast in the stocks.
His position is about as cramped and painful as it can be. It is midnight.
Paul would be asleep for weariness and exhaustion, but the position and
the pain hinder.
Does no temptation come to him? He had been following a _vision_ in coming
over to Philippi. This is a great ending to the vision he's been having.
Did no such temptation come? Very likely it did. But Paul is an old
campaigner. He knows best what to do. He begins singing. His music is
pitched in the major too. Most likely he is singing one of the old Hebrew
psalms that he knew by heart. It was a psalm of praise. That is one end of
At the other end Paul is a prisoner at Rome. As he sits dictating his
letter, if he gets tired and would swing one limb over the other for a
change, a heavy chain at his ankle reminds him of his bonds. As he reaches
for a quill to put a loving touch to the end of the parchment, again the
forged steel pulls at his wrist. That is the setting of Philippians, the
prison psalm. What is its key word? Is it patience? That would seem
appropriate. Is it long-suffering? More appropriate yet. Some of us know
about short-suffering, but we are apt to be a bit short on long-suffering.
The keyword is _joy_, with its variations of rejoice, and rejoicing.
And notice what joy is. It is the cataract in the stream of life. Peace is
the gentle even flowing of the river. Joy is where the waters go bubbling,
leaping with ecstatic bound, and forever after, as they go on, making the
channel deeper for the quiet flow of peace. Paul had put his no-worry
rules through the crucible of experience. He follows the Master in that.
These three rules really mean living ever in that Master's presence. When
we realize that He is ever alongside then it will be easier to be
Anxious for nothing,
Thankful for anything,
Prayerful about everything.
He Touched Her Hand.
One morning on waking, a woman charged with the care of a home began
thinking of the day's simple duties. And as she thought they seemed to
magnify and pile up. There was her little daughter to get off to school
with her luncheon. Some of the church ladies were coming that morning for
a society meeting, and she had been planning a dainty luncheon for them.
The maid in the kitchen was not exactly ideal--yet. And as she thought
into the day her head began aching.
After breakfast, as her husband was leaving for the day's business, he
took her hand and kissed her good-bye. "Why," he said, "my dear, your hand
is feverish. I'm afraid you've been doing too much. Better just take a day
off." And he was gone. And she said to herself, "A day off! The idea! Just
like a _man_ to think that I could take a day off." But she had been
making a habit of getting a little time for reading and prayer after
breakfast. Pity she had not put it in earlier, at the day's very start.
Yet maybe she could not. Sometimes it is not possible. Yet _most times_ it
is possible, by planning.
Now she slipped to her room and, sitting down quietly, turned to the
chapter in her regular place of reading. It was the eighth of Matthew. As
she read she came to the words, "And _He touched her hand_, and the _fever
left her_; and she arose and ministered unto Him." And she knelt and
breathed out the soft prayer for a touch of the Master's hand upon her
own. And it came as she remained there a few moments. And then with much
quieter spirit she went on into the day.
The luncheon for the church ladies was not quite so elaborate as she had
planned. There came to her an impulse to tell her morning's experience.
She shrank from doing it. It seemed a sacred thing. They might not
understand. But the impulse remained and she obeyed it, and quietly told
them. And as they listened there seemed to come a touch of the Spirit's
presence upon them all. And so the day was a blessed one. Its close found
her husband back again. And as he greeted her he said quietly, "My dear,
you did as I said, didn't you? The fever's gone."
Gideon's Band: Sifted for Service.
God Wants the Best.
God's Use of Weak Things.
Call for Volunteers.
A Willing People.
God Still Sifting.
Gideon's Band: Sifted for Service.
(1 Corinthians i:18-31; Judges vi and vii.)
God Wants the Best.
Salvation is for all. Service is for those chosen for it. All _may_ serve.
That all do not is simply because service requires qualities which all do
not have. Yet, again, all may have them who will, for the required
qualities are _heart qualities_. And every one of us can cultivate the
heart qualities. There is special service, chiefly of leadership,
requiring brain qualities as well as heart. But the Master attends to the
choosing of men for such service.
And where His spirit has touched human hearts there will be a glad doing
of just what service He appoints. It will be an honor to do just what He
asks because He asks. What it may happen to be will be a small matter in
itself. It is for Him, at His desire, and that is full enough to bring out
the best we have.
Our old Tarsus and Antioch friend and leader has written a special word
about this matter of being chosen for service. It is in his first letter
to the recently organized church at Corinth. It is really his second
letter, for he seems to have written one before it that has not been
preserved. There were some very serious matters in this new church
requiring strong treatment by its much-loved founder. Among them was one
There were some who had gifts in service that seemed more attractive and
desirable than others had, it might be said more showy. And their
brethren, not free from the old worldly spirit, were envious and jealous.
And these who had such gifts were not free from a boasting spirit.
Factions or parties had arisen as a result. It was the bad world spirit of
competition and rivalry in among Christ's followers where it should never
come, yet where it still does come. In writing this letter Paul throughout
blends great plainness and common sense with great tenderness.