Part 3 out of 4
Stanley went. It took two years' time to get ready. It required a
specially planned campaign and thorough preparation. The planning was
done, and the world was thrilled when the bold missionary leader was
Our Master has sent a message to His Church. It is written down in a Book,
and is being repeated by wireless messages constantly. He says, "Find my
world, and bring it back; never mind about the expense of money and lives.
Find my world and win it back." And the Church has the winning power to
Each One of Us
Our Drawing Power.
Sowing Ourselves in Life's Soil.
Our Need of a World to Win.
Living Broad Lives in Narrow Alleys.
Giving God Free Use of Ourselves.
Growing Bigger for Service's Sake.
Each One of Us
Our Drawing Power.
The greatest human winning force is a man swayed in every bit of his being
by the Spirit of Jesus. Man himself is the most attractive thing on God's
earth. He has the greatest drawing power.
He is attractive to God. He drew out of the creative power of God this
world of beauty and splendor. He drew Jesus down from the throne of God to
the earth, to poverty and hard labor, to the limitations of human life, to
misunderstandings and suffering and pain and death. These were gladly
yielded to because it was all for man. How the crowds used to draw Jesus!
He would give His strength out to them without stint, until those closest
to Him, not understanding, sought to interfere for the sake of his
One man was a sufficient magnet to draw him away from His rest, and to
draw out of Him the best of love and strength He had. Nicodemus' earnest
presence wooed out of His busy life a whole evening, and drew out the
matchless words that the world has been feeding upon ever since. The woman
of little half-breed Sychar, though an outcast, drew from Him the touch of
power that transformed her life and her village.
Man is attractive to his fellows. There is no power so attractive to a
man as another man. The phenomenal growth of modern cities is one of the
evidences of this. Everywhere men acknowledge the attractiveness that
their fellows have for them. Every friendship, every leadership, every
family circle, and gathering of men for whatever purpose tells of the
winning power that man has for his fellows. It is modified by all sorts of
surrounding conditions, and exists in many different degrees. The great
leader and the great orator have it in unusual measure. Every man has some
of it. Each man is a magnetic north pole. Every man of his spirit-current
is drawn toward him with a steady pull.
Man can win man. That fact at once brings out strikingly his winning
power. For the hardest thing in all this world to win is a man. Of all
luggage man is the hardest to move. He won't move unless he will move.
Only as the string is tied inside to his will can he be persuaded to move.
The heart may help open the door into the will. Most often that is the way
to get in. Sometimes intelligence, the reasoning powers, open the way in,
but rarely; often these two, the heart and the reason, combined. But even
then they go tandem, with the heart in the lead; only man can get that
door open, and tie the tether to the other man's will, and draw him out,
whither he will. He can do it. And only he can. Man yields to the drawing
power of his fellow.
With the deepest reverence be it said that when God would redeem a world
He sent a Man. Aye, He came as a man. And, while Jesus was so much more
than man, we must always insistently remind ourselves that He was truly
and fully a man. He was as really human in every bit of His make-up and
life as though only human. Because of man's power to win his fellow, Jesus
came to the man-level, as a Man, that so He might win men.
Sowing Ourselves in Life's Soil.
Man is winsome, wherever found, just as he is. He may be shackled and
slimed over with sin, as he plainly is. He may have lost much of his
winsomeness, as probably he has, through deeply rooted prejudice and
superstitions, and endless limitations of surroundings and education, but
he still remains a powerful magnet to his fellow.
But he is most winning in his winningness as he returns to the original as
God planned him. His native winning power comes out fully only as sin is
taken out of him, washed out, and burned out; the desire for it removed,
and the hurt of sin upon his bodily and mental powers overcome. Jesus is
the sort of human that God planned. And only as He is allowed to come into
a man's life, and treat the sin trouble at the core, and rule from within,
can man come to his own in his rare winsomeness.
Only won men can win men, of course. Only the man who has felt the power
of Jesus can tell some one else of that marvellous power. Nobody else
wants to. Nobody else can. For nobody else knows that power. But that man
must. There is something inside that compels him to. The man who realizes
most keenly that he has been saved will be the most intent on getting
others saved, too. The passion for Jesus becomes a passion for telling
others about Jesus.
Jerry McCauley must spend out his life in Water Street because he had been
gripped by the Man who spent out His life for him. The passion is
irresistible. Splendid young Hugh Beaver must win the Pennsylvania
students to Jesus because Jesus had become the magnet of his own life.
Livingstone must plunge into the depths of the African wilds, and Duff
into India's heat, and Hudson Taylor into China's inner provinces because
of the Jesus-passion that gripped them.
Now the thing to mark very keenly is this: that God's chief reliance in
His passionate outreach for His world is men. He is counting on you and
me. The power that actually wins men is the power of God. Only He can so
play upon human wills and hearts as to induce them gladly to open to Him.
That is true. But it is as true that only through the winsome power of
men can He use His winning power fully.
I am not going to take up just now why this is so, though that is full of
helpful suggestion. But simply to have you mark that straight through this
old Book, and through church history, and in actual experience this has
been His way of reaching men. God's pathway to one human heart is through
another human heart.
When men have failed Him God's plan has failed. His sovereignty doesn't
mean that His plan doesn't fail. It means here that with endless patience
He clings to the failed plan until He can get the man through whom it can
be carried out. But meanwhile there has been serious delay and sad
suffering for man.
There is a most striking sentence spoken by Jesus in explaining the
parable of the tares, in Matthew, Chapter thirteen. He said, "The good
seed are the sons of the kingdom." We think of the truth, the Gospel
message, as the good seed that we are to sow, and so it is. But there's a
far better seed. It is men, saved men. We are to sow our saved selves, our
lives, in the soil of men's lives. Our presence among men was meant to be
God's greatest sowing of the seed of life. Upon that seed He sends the dew
and rain and sunlight of His Spirit. And through that sort of sowing He
wins His greatest harvests.
Our Need of a World to Win.
Now I want to turn aside here a bit, and say this: we men need a world to
win. The world needs winning. There's no doubt of that. And just as really
we men need a world to win. We need the impetus and stimulus, the grip and
the swing of having a world to win. The Master's command fits with great
exactness into the need of our lives.
Every man needs a great purpose to grip his life. So he is anchored and
held steady against the world's tidal movements. If he isn't tied to some
great gripping purpose the wash of the sea will send him adrift, or the
fierce undertow will suck him under. And many are adrift. And many are in
the deadly suction of the undertow.
Jesus' command provides the great purpose that every man needs to hold him
steady and to bring out, and bring out best, all the splendid powers with
which we are endowed. When we are not gripped by the great purpose planned
for us we swing off into smaller, meaner purposes.
I mean, of course, those of us who are awake. Many people are habitual
somnambulists. All their walking and moving about is done in a state of
sleep. Some men never wake up. They go through the motions of life so far
as they must. The mechanism of habit keeps certain motions going, but the
real man within is asleep or dozing, with occasional spells of being
But men who are awake, and doing something, find a vent for their energy
on some lower level. The God-given energy will move out and stir itself to
action. But, having somehow missed the real purpose planned for them, they
allow the lower purposes to grip them. They organize great affairs, or
less great, industrial, intellectual, political, fraternal, social, and
spend their energy on these. It is the response they make to the call of
their natures for some great gripping purpose. But it looks very much like
another case of meeting a request for bread with cold hard stones.
These things in themselves are right, of course; so far as they are
right. They belong in the scheme of life. They should be given full place
in one's life. But that place is always a distinctly secondary place. They
belong in as number two.
A Christian business man gives most of the day and year to his business,
and gives of the best of his thought and strength to it. But if he have
gotten his bearings straight, his business is not in first place. It is
made to serve something higher. It earns the gold with which to finance
the great purpose of Jesus' life, and of his own life, namely, the purpose
of winning men, and of winning a whole world of them. How it would sweeten
business and fraternal and social contacts and friendships, if the salt of
this great purpose seasoned them!
Living Broad Lives in Narrow Alleys.
We need the bigness of this great purpose. So many lives are dwarfed by
their very littlenesses. We are bothered with being short-sighted. The
eyeglasses of the Master's purpose for us would wondrously widen out our
scope of vision. And through the new eyes would come broader, farther,
clearer views, and changed action. The littleness of our ideas would be
amusing if it were not so distressing.
I recall one day riding on a Fort-Wayne train through Indiana. I chanced
to overhear a bit of conversation. Two men, chance acquaintances, were
talking. One of them had his home in Elkhart. The other asked him where
Elkhart is. By the side of the Elkhart man there sat a little sweet-faced
boy. Instantly, as the question was asked, he looked up with surprised
eyes, and said, "Don't you know where Elkhart is? Why, Elkhart is down
where I live."
The amusing childish words seemed to have a familiar sound. I seem to have
run across a few people whose idea of God's world is about on the level of
the small boy's. The world is where they live. The rest is a hazy, vague
something, or--nothing. It exists for them, if it exists at all in their
"Living for self, for self alone, for self and none beside;
Just as if Jesus had never lived, as if Jesus had never died."
It would be pitiable and pathetic enough if only these people themselves
were concerned in their poor, stunted, narrow-alley living. But it is more
than that; it is tragic, because of the multitude of brothers, here and
abroad, sorely needing the help that was meant to go out to them through
Then most men live narrow lives so far as the daily round is concerned.
The home, or shop, or store, or office is their daily horizon, with
practically the same round of duties day after day, year in and year out.
The very narrowness of the round tends to make narrow people. They get
into as much of a rut in their thinking as their daily action is apt to
become. Their work runs in fixed grooves that are apt to become fixed
ruts. And this makes ruts in their thinking. Their souls seem to grow
small by the very smallness and sameness of the daily tread. That is the
life of the great crowd of men all over the world.
It's an immense relief to see something big Big things always attract. Is
it partly because our daily round is so narrow and small? Jesus plans a
bigness that shall refresh us constantly. We have hearts big enough to
hold a world, and brains able to plan for a planet, even while our feet
tread the same old shut-in path.
A young man may be going a commonplace, treadmill sort of grind, in a
small corner of some great manufacturing concern, and be at the same time
carrying on a bigger enterprise than the president of his concern. For he
may be planning and praying for a world, and actually lifting it up in the
arms of his strong purpose toward the level of God.
The shipping clerk may be hammering in barrel-heads all day long, but each
blow may help emphasize the prayer of his heart for China, or India, or
his Sunday-school class.
"Forenoon, afternoon, and night,
Forenoon, afternoon, and night,
Forenoon, afternoon, and what? no more?
The empty song repeats itself. Yea, that is life.
Make this forenoon sublime, this afternoon a psalm,
This night a prayer, and time is conquered, and thy
crown is won."
The Master's gracious plan is that we shall have the refreshment of doing
big things. We are made for big things. They help us grow into the big
size that belongs to us. World-winning is a great boon to the crowd
compelled by the habit of life to tread a narrow path.
Giving God Free Use of Ourselves.
Now the great question every earnest man asks himself is, How can I be of
most use to God and my fellows? I want to suggest three things that have
helped me in answering that question. It may be that they will help you,
too, in getting your answer to it.
First of all is this: that we let God have the free use of us. Whatever I
am, whatever gifts and opportunities I have--these I will turn over to
God, that He may have the fullest and freest use of them. God asks from
each of us a consecrated personality. And "consecrated" simply means
that I give God the use of myself, and that He makes use of what I have
given to Him. That's the double meaning of the word in the Bible.
My personality, that is, what I am in myself, is the chief thing I have in
life. It is through this personality, which men recognize as I, that the
Spirit of God works in His reaching out for others. My personality is the
make-up of all that I am. My presence is that subtle something that
combines all that I am. It clings to me wherever I go. Men know it by my
name. Out through it goes the power of the man within.
The body, the glance of the eye, the quality and intonation of the voice,
the way the body is carried, and the something more than these that
unites them into one--these go to make up the presence, the outer shell of
the personality. All the power within makes itself felt through this. A
man's mere presence is an immeasurable influence.
There is a subtle, intangible, but very real spirit influence breathing
out of every man's presence. It is proportioned entirely to the strength
of the man living within. With some it is very attractive. Sometimes it is
positively repulsive. It is the expression of the man within. The presence
becomes the mould of the spirit within, large or small, noble or mean,
coarse or fine, as he makes it. The strength of a man's will or its
weakness; the purity of his heart or its lack of purity; the ideals of his
life, high or low; the keenness or slowness of his thinking--all these
express themselves in his presence.
We know the difference between a man of strong presence and one whose
presence is weak; though very few of us are skilled in reading, except in
a very small way, the character it reveals; through our presence each of
us is constantly influencing those with whom we come in contact. Now this
is the chief thing we have for our winning work. This is the thing that
Jesus uses. It is this that the Spirit of God takes possession of, if He
may, and that He uses in His outreach to others. We win most and best
through what we are.
Now, of course, I do not mean that we are to be thinking of it that way
all the time. The thinking that you have a winsome presence would itself
rob you of the most winsome part of it. Winsomeness of presence is
greatest and sweetest when we are wholly unconscious that there is such a
thing about us. As we are absorbed in Jesus, and in our fellows, the
winsomeness that is native to us shines out most attractively. It has been
covered up and hidden away a good bit by sin. Some men seem to have none.
Some have a great deal, in spite of their ignoring of God.
But as He is allowed to play upon us, as we seek to let His Spirit rule
our conduct and control our powers, the original God-image comes out. This
is a return to natural conditions as planned by God. What has been lost
through sin is restored and grown bigger and richer by the Spirit's
presence. I can give God the full use of this precious gift of
Growing Bigger for Service's Sake.
There's a second thing to do. This consecrated personality can be made a
developed personality. We don't start into life full size. We have to
grow. The greatest task of life, as well as one of the sweetest, is in
growing fine in grain, and big in size, and skilled in action. The highest
achievement of life and the rarest to find is self-mastery, that is, all
that one is in himself grown big and fine-grained, skilfully used and held
steadily to its true use. All other achievements are through this one.
The stronger I can make my body the more I can give God to use. The more
thoroughly I can understand the great, simple laws of my body, and the
more I can get into the habit of obeying them, the more can God use me in
His plans. Such common things as eating and drinking, breathing and
exercising, sleeping and resting and dress, may not be called common any
more, if through thoughtfulness here you and I can be of greater use to
our Master and our fellows.
The keener and clearer and stronger we can make our thinking, by dint of
self-discipline, the greater power have we with other men. The purer the
heart, the loftier the practical ideals that control the personal habits,
the greater is the winning power at command.
We may not be conscious of the difference. We will not be thinking of
that. But the increased power of attraction is there, and is breathing out
of one's presence, and is distinctly felt by others. And, more, it is
making a distinct mark upon others, more than they know. We must set
ourselves to growing bigger and better for service's sake.
The third thing is a world-wide vision. That is to say, our thinking and
planning and praying and giving shall be on a world scale. There is
nothing remarkable about this. The strangely remarkable thing is that
there is so little of it. Man was made on the world size. It is natural
to us to grasp the world in our thinking and action. This other thing of
living on a smaller scale is the cramping effect of sin. We were, made
big. We are big. We need a big world. We enjoy bigness. We get this from
God. We are truest to ourselves as we live on the world plan. The world
was given us originally to subdue, and now to win.
This does not mean to neglect anything or anybody nearby. It's a bit of
the cramping of sin that anybody thinks so. The man who spreads a map of
the world beside his open Bible in the morning or evening prayer-hour is
likely to have a warm hand for the fellow next him. We are made that way,
to grasp the globe, and each thing close at hand that needs our care.
That's a bit of the image of God in us. As we allow Him sway, the original
power is restored to us.
One result of this will be that many of us will go in person to some
far-away part of the great world-field. That's a serious thing to do,
requiring some special qualification of body and of training. For the task
out there is a great one. There are trying conditions to be met. The very
best is called for.
If a man may go in person to the foreign field he is greatly favored. Let
nothing hold him back. It is a privilege to serve anywhere. But the
highest privilege of service is out there. Many cannot go; and many may
not go. Some are plainly bidden to stay. The home administration of the
missionary enterprise requires strong men at home.
A second result will be that wherever we are, will be a mission-field to
us. We are, where we are, to give, not to get. Whether in far-off China
or maybe in some disillusioned commonplace home town, we will be winning
men to Jesus all the time by direct touch. The mastering thought will be
to let the wondrous Spirit reach out through us, freely and fully,
unhindered by anything in us, and so touch every one whom we touch.
In any circle, business or social, our hearts will be saying, "I am among
you as he that serveth." Consciously, by direct word, by indirect touch,
with love's rare diplomacy we will win men. Unconsciously, by our
presence, we will as really be winning them.
No one has an imagination vivid enough, or words graphic enough, to tell
the power of that direct human touch. All life is athrill with its magic.
Even when it becomes less direct, a bit removed from the personal, its
power is indescribably great.
John Eliot's work among the Massachusetts Indians kindled David Brainerd.
Brainerd's flame touched Jonathan Edwards. Edwards' pamphlet on
"Extraordinary Prayer for a Revival of Religion and the Advancement of
Christ's Kingdom on Earth" suggested to William Carey the plan of an
organized society. Fire spreads. Where the touch of God comes the fire of
God goes out through that human touch.
A third result will be this: we will be reaching out and winning men in
all the rest of the world by our spirit-touch. You may be in some
African fastness or in the midst of China's age-old civilization or just
here at home, but you can be exerting a tremendous spirit-power that can
be felt out to the ends of the earth.
It will all be in the Name of Jesus. It will be in the power of the Holy
Spirit. Only in that Name and through the Spirit can such winning
influence be exerted at all. So a man can have spirit-touch with the man
by his side. And just as truly he can have spirit-touch with men at the
farthest reach of the earth.
There is a spirit influence going out from each of us in addition to that
which goes through the direct personal touch. It is not a conscious
influence. That is, we are not concsious that it is being exerted. It goes
out from us as we pray. It goes out of us as our thought is centered on
those far-away parts and peoples. Its strength will depend on the strength
of one's personality.
We are familiar with the fact that a man of strong personality has a
greater influence upon his fellows whom he touches directly than a weaker
man has. It is just the same with regard to one's spirit-touch. The
stronger and keener and purer I may become, the more I know of the
self-mastery which comes through Jesus-mastery, the greater force can I
exert as a winner of men, both by direct touch and by spirit-touch.
Will you kindly come up nearer in spirit, as we close our talk together,
and let me ask softly: Have we given the free use of ourselves to the
Master? Are we growing ourselves into bigger-sized, finer-grained,
better-controlled men and women daily? For the Master is depending on us.
He is counting much on having the use of us. He can reach out to the very
ends of the earth through each one of us. May we not fail Jesus!
Jesus Draws Men.
Jesus Draws Out the Best.
Many Doors, but One Purpose.
Make It a Story.
How Peter Told Paul.
"A More Excellent Way."
Jesus Draws Men.
The great heart-magnet is God. No one is so winsomely attractive as He.
His winning power is beyond any other. Man is winsome. But it is because
God made him winsome, and re-makes him yet more winsome. He gave him a bit
of His own self. That's the secret of all our human winsomeness.
Now Jesus is God to us. We know God only as we know Jesus. Jesus is the
heart of God beating in time and tune with human hearts. Nobody is so
winsome as Jesus. All the native winsomeness of man and all the divine
winsomeness of God combine and blend in Him. He has always drawn men to
Himself. And He still does, and always will.
He drew men of all classes when He was down here. The reverent
star-students of far-away Babylon were drawn to His birth by a compelling
they could not resist. He drew the thoughtful, scholarly men of His own
nation, such as Nicodemus of the inner, highest circle. And He drew
military officials of high rank and wealth in the service of imperial
Rome. By the same power the half-breed, despised Samaritans and the
earnest seekers after truth from cultured Greece were drawn to Him.
The plain farmer people of Galilee, and the hardy fisherfolk, and
hard-handed laboring-men came as eagerly to him. He drew the pure, fine
grained, gentle Mary of Bethany, with her unusual keenness of spirit
insight; and drew as well the unnamed outcast woman, steeped in sin, who
was forgiven much, and who loved much, and so gave much.
Practical hard-headed men of sharp bargains and shrewd trading, like
Matthew, felt His pull upon their hearts equally with men of pure heart
and lofty ideals like Nathanael. By special effort, for a special purpose
He drew high-bred, high-strung, scholarly, intense Paul, out of his mad
enmity into a lifelong devotion.
The crowds came until His daily routine and ministering help were
repeatedly and seriously interrupted. And strong men sought Him alone to
lay bare the longings and questionings of their hearts. His Roman judge
felt the strange winsomeness of His presence and speech, though lacking in
the courage to follow his convictions regarding Him. And the Roman officer
in charge of His execution was forced to admit the power of His presence.
All the world gathered about His cross. Representatives from all parts, in
large numbers, were at the Jerusalem feast; and on that morning, by common
consent, they were drawn out to the place where He hung.
He even drew the arch-tempter. He came with his subtlest temptations, and
bitterest enmity, and most malignant cunning. Could there be greater
evidence, by contrast, of the drawing power of His purity and goodness and
steadfast devotion to His mission?
Jesus Draws Out the Best.
And Jesus had the power to draw out of men the best there was in them.
Possibilities, traits, and powers that neither they nor their friends
supposed they had came out into strong life under the spell of His touch.
There seemed to be something in Him that drew the same sort of thing out
Out of Simon, the hot-headed, impulsive fisherman, He drew the steady man
of rock. Out of fiery John, the son of thunder, He drew the man of tender,
strong love. And out of quiet, retiring Andrew He drew a man with a
reputation for bringing others to Jesus.
He drew out of the Sychar outcast a sense of her sin, and then a winner of
souls; and out of that other woman of open sin, a longing for purity that
paved the way to all else that came. Under His compelling touch there came
out of the blind-born man a willingness to sacrifice all for such a
Master; and out of James, the other son of thunder, a courage to endure
suffering that men had not known he had.
That was when He was down here, a man. And ever since that fleecy cloud
received Him out of sight He has been drawing men of all the world. And
time would as utterly fail me, as it did the writer of the Hebrews, if I
tried to tell of the men He has drawn. Men of every rank, high and low, in
every nation, savage and civilized, in every generation of all these
centuries have felt the thrill of His power. And they have followed Him at
the cost of all that men hold most dear.
And He is just the same to-day. He is as available now in all His drawing
power wherever men meet, in city slum and savage wild, in college hall and
business street, among the philosophical and cultured, and among the
ignorant and untrained. If we will take Him to them, and let Him out
through our lips and lives, He will draw men up the heights. He can draw
against any power of downward suction, and He will. He promised to draw
men, if lifted up. And He has never failed to do it.
Now, it is this drawing Jesus that men need and want. There is an enormous
advantage in taking Jesus to men, because there is a something inside men
everywhere that responds to Jesus. That something may be choked and
covered up, crowded down and fought against, as it is. But it is there.
When you take Jesus to a man you may know that you are taking a supply to
a demand. You are bringing a man the answer to his heart's questions. It
is as the coming together of two parts that belong together, but have been
held apart by some hindrance.
That hindrance is stubborn. It has to be fought. It can be overcome.
That's the chief task. Then the part in man that answers to Jesus eagerly
fits into its place in Him. That coming together is always blessed, beyond
words. Everywhere men of all sorts and ranks and degrees of savagery and
culture eagerly respond to Him. And they declare that they find in Him the
full answer to their deepest longings.
Many Doors, but One Purpose.
It is this marvellous magnet, Jesus, that we are to take to men; not
theology, nor education, nor medical skill, nor hospitals, nor industrial
helps, except incidentally. These are the tin cup which one is glad to use
to give the thirsty traveller water from the spring.
You will understand at once that I have no thought of criticizing theology
or of discrediting it, if I could. It has its place. But that place is not
out in the thick of the crowd, but back in the quiet hall of study. There
must be thorough study and systematic putting together of the truth. There
needs to be patient plodding and mental drilling.
You have no need to be told of the immeasurable value of the splendid
foundation building of Christian scholars. But this is school work, in the
main. It is to make us better workmen. So a man gets his bearings and
poise. But the people down in the dust and drive of the crowd don't want
theology. They want Jesus. It is striking that everywhere men want to hear
Educational work has played an indispensably great part in the scheme of
missions. But the purpose of it, of course, is to make an open door for
the entrance of Jesus into men's lives. It is invaluable in itself alone,
regardless of any other purpose. But the teacher of any sort of learning
in the mission school, who is chiefly absorbed in the teaching itself
instead of using it as a means to something higher, is missing the whole
purpose of his work.
And what words can be used strong enough in speaking of the blessed work
of medical men in foreign-mission lands? These skilled, patient, faithful
men and women in hospital and dispensary and private service are doing a
work of incalculable value. It should be done even if the bodily results
were all. But the underlying purpose through it all is to lead men to know
Jesus. And no one has such a short, quick road into a man's heart as he
who can relieve his body.
These things are doorways into men's lives; and great doorways, too. They
are well worth all the money and lives expended if they went no farther
than body and mind and better conditions. But the main purpose in them is
to find a way into men's hearts, and take in Jesus; that so men may get
the greater as well as the less.
Make it a Story.
Now, how shall we best tell men of Jesus? Well, the modern newspaperman's
rule in his work is this: "Make it a story." This is his leading rule in
all his writing work. Whatever the occasion may be, whether a meeting of
scholars or an accident on the street, it is to be put into story-form.
That is the ideal toward which he works. All the descriptions, and
quotations, and information, and philosophizings are to be woven into this
web. They know that a story is the easiest thing to read and to listen to,
and also the hardest to tell well.
That should be our rule here: Make it a story about Jesus. When it comes
to talking the Gospel to a group of people, large or small, in New York or
Shanghai, make it a story. Wherever you may begin the story, see that its
purpose is to lead up to Jesus. You may use twenty-five minutes in getting
your story out, and then put the Jesus touch in the last five minutes. But
as they go away that last five has given its flavor to the whole
half-hour's talk. Or, you may begin with Him, and so run through. But the
rule should be: Make it a simple, natural, attractive story, such as
people will want to listen to, because it interests them.
That means a lot of hard work in preparation. The simpler and easier and
more natural it seems to the crowd the more it will have cost you in
study. You will have to study so carefully that they won't guess you have
studied at all. You must absorb this Bible story, bit by bit, through and
through, until it becomes a bit of yourself.
You must use books that help make this Book clearer and plainer. That is
really the mission of biblical books, to make the Book plainer. If they
send you to the Bible they have fulfilled their mission. If you stay in
them, they have failed.
The Bible is an Oriental book in its way of putting things. Its story is
built upon the habits of those Eastern peoples. While it is full of simple
teaching easily understood, one needs to understand those habits to get
the real meat of the meaning. This means a habit of hard work for him who
would be a winner of men. He should have an ambition to know the Bible
story thoroughly, and to get it from the Bible itself.
But, whatever your particular message may be at any time, let it lead up
by a straight road to Jesus. Follow the rule of the Book itself here. The
Old Testament all points to Jesus. It can be understood only as He is
understood. And the New is aflame with His presence. Tell the story of
Jesus to men. They never tire of that. Tell it accurately. Tell it simply.
Tell it with endless variety. Put it in simple every-day words, so they
think about the story and not about you or your words.
Tell Jesus' life; His characteristics; how He mingled among men, and
talked with them. Take up the Gospel incidents, and give them their
natural flavoring and coloring in present-day speech. Tell of the Nazareth
life, in home and carpenter shop and village. Go through those wondrous
three and a half years, bit by bit.
Go into the temptation wilderness, out on the blue waters of Galilee, and
into Gethsemane's olive-grove. Climb that bit of a rise of ground called
Calvary. Wherever you are in that story, make sure that the coloring of
Calvary gets distinctly in, by word or phrase or climax or somehow.
Now, of course, there will be some theology in your telling. You will make
comments and explanations. And preachers call that theology. That is
unavoidable. That is the place for such teaching, as it naturally grows
out of the story. But the story should be the main thing. Men should be
sent away thinking about a Man, Jesus; not about a theory of doctrine.
How Peter Told Paul.
I remember very distinctly one time Mr. Moody was speaking at the Ohio
Sunday-school Convention in Cleveland. He was saying that teachers should
open up the Bible and make it attractive. Then he told the story of how,
in '84, in London he was talking with a lawyer friend who had just come
down from Edinburgh. He had been hearing Andrew Bonar preach up there, and
was greatly taken with his way of preaching.
Mr. Moody told the story something like this:
"Bonar was preaching in Galatians, where it says that Paul went to
Jerusalem to see Peter, and he said that he could imagine Peter saying to
Paul, 'Would you like to take a walk?' and Paul said he would, so they
went down through the streets of Jerusalem, over the brook Kidron, arm in
arm, and Peter stopped and said, 'Look, Paul, this is the very spot where
He wrestled and where He suffered, and sweat great drops of blood. There
is the very spot where John and James fell asleep, right there. And right
here is the very spot where I fell asleep. I don't think I should have
denied Him if I hadn't gone to sleep, but I was overcome. I remember the
last thing I heard Him say before I fell asleep was, "Father, let this cup
pass from me if it is Thy will." And when I awoke an angel stood right
there where you are standing, talking to Him, and I saw great drops of
blood come from His pores and trickle down His cheeks. It wasn't long
before Judas came to betray Him. And I heard Him say to Judas, so kindly,
"Betrayest thou the Master with a kiss?" And then they bound Him and led
Him away. And that night when He was on trial I denied Him.'
"He pictured the whole scene. And the next day Peter turned again to Paul
and said, 'Wouldn't you like to take another walk to-day?' and Paul said
he would. That day they went to Calvary. And when they got on the hill
Peter said, 'Here, Paul, this is the very spot where He died for you and
me. See that hole right there? That is where His cross stood. The
believing thief hung there, and the unbelieving thief there on the other
side. Mary Magdalene and Mary, His mother, stood there, and I stood away
on the out-skirts of the crowd.
"'The night before, when I denied Him, He looked at me so lovingly that it
broke my heart, and I couldn't bear to get near enough to see Him. That
was the darkest hour of my life. I was in hopes that God would intercede
and take Him from the cross. I kept listening, and I thought I would hear
His voice.' And he pictured the whole scene, how they drove the spear into
His side, and put the crown of thorns on His brow, and all that took
"And the next day Peter turned to Paul again and asked him if he wouldn't
take another walk. And Paul said he would. Again they passed down the
streets of Jerusalem, over the brook Kidron, over Mount Olivet, up to
Bethphage, and over to the slope near Bethany. All at once Peter stopped
and said: 'Here, Paul, this is the last place where I ever saw Him. I
never heard Him speak so sweetly as He did that day.
"'It was right here He delivered His last message to us, and all at once I
noticed that His feet didn't touch the ground. He arose and went up. All
at once there came a cloud and received Him out of sight. I stood right
here gazing up into the heavens, in hopes I might see Him again and hear
Him speak. And two men dressed in white dropped down by our sides and
stood there and said: "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing into heaven?
This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall come in like
manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven."'"
Then Mr. Moody said, "My friends, I want to ask you this question: Do you
believe that picture is overdrawn? Do you believe Peter had Paul as his
guest and didn't take him to Gethsemane, didn't take him to Calvary and
Mount Olivet? I myself spent eight days in Jerusalem, and every morning I
wanted to steal down into the garden where my Lord sweat great drops of
blood. Every day I climbed Mount Olivet and looked up into the blue sky
where He went to His Father.
"I have no doubt Peter took Paul out on those three walks. If there had
been a man that could have taken me to the very spot where the Master
sweat those great drops of blood, do you think I would not have asked him
to take me there? Now, you ministers, don't you believe the people want
preaching like that? They do. They want to hear about the Lord."
I remember that I was sitting in that convention where I could easily see
the faces of the people. It was a sight not to be forgotten. I remember
that sea of eager upturned faces as distinctly as I remember Mr. Moody's
talk. The people sat so still, as though in a spell, with eyes big and
shining with something wet, and occasionally a slight twitching of emotion
and a handkerchief called into service.
Mr. Moody talked in that natural way of his, so quiet and yet so intense
in its quietness. That's what people want--Jesus brought to them, simply
and naturally. And Moody knew it. It took years of hard self-discipline
for him to be able to talk as he did. Such talking takes study and hard
work. But it's all worth while if we can make Jesus plain to men in all
His wondrous winsomeness.
"A More Excellent Way."
Then there's another way of telling the story of Jesus to men. It's a yet
better way. Tell it with your life. That was Jesus' own plan. He lived
what He taught. He proposed coming down into each one of us and living His
life over again in us. He does just that now. Then as men meet us they are
meeting Him, too, in us. The things that marked Him will be noticed in us.
The intense hatred of sin, the purity, the gentleness and patience, the
warm sympathy, the constant self-forgetfulness and self-sacrifice, the
eagerness to win men, the tireless going wherever men could be
helped--these may be in us as they were in Him, and will be, as we let Him
live in us. And men will recognize the Jesus-story being lived in their
midst. Jesus wants to reach out through us to men. And He will; He will;
more than we ever know or will know. This is the best telling of the
I am told that in the Palace of Justice in Rome there is a remarkable
chamber where visitors are sometimes taken. The remarkable thing about it
is the decorations. The ceiling and walls and even the floors are covered
with strangely painted frescoes. That is, they seem strange as one enters.
They seem grotesque. They do not harmonize. They are out of touch with
each other, and make a bewildering maze of confusion. But there is one
spot in the chamber, just one spot upon the floor, where, if you stand,
everything falls into place. The artist's conception stands out perfect in
perspective and color and beauty.
To the great crowd of men in this old world life seems a good bit like
that Roman chamber. Things seem out of harmony--sin, pain, confusion,
unsatisfied longings, unconquered weaknesses, broken plans, and
disappointed ambitions. But there is one spot, a central point, just one,
where all that concerns you will come into harmony, and bring heart-rest.
That one spot is where you take your stand side by side with Jesus. His
presence clears everything up. He sweetens the life, and straightens the
path, and leads you steadily on toward the dawning of the day. And that's
as true for China and the Pacific islanders as for Britisher or American.
Men need Jesus. He satisfies them. He is the great magnet. He draws men as
no other can. He places Himself at our disposal to be taken to men. They
can't resist Him. Let us take Him.
O Jesus Master, thou hast drawn me till I want to be Thy slave forever.
Help me take Thee to all other men that they may feel Thy wondrous drawing
power, and satisfying power, too.
The Holy Spirit
The Last Talk Together.
The Partnership of Service.
The Power that Never Fails.
The Trinity of Service.
Living on the Top Floor.
Partial Weavings of the Strands.
Unbroken Connection Above.
The Holy Spirit
The Last Talk Together.
A little group of men were climbing the winding path that led up Olivet's
slope. The Master was in the midst, and the others before and behind,
where they could hear His voice. For they were talking together as they
walked along. That is to say, He was talking, and they were listening,
with an occasional question. They went on until they were over against
where little Bethany nestles in among the blue hills. There they stood a
little while, still talking together earnestly.
It was their last talk together. And there were two things the Master was
saying. Those two things came with all the tender emphasis of a last
message. They were to go on an errand to the world; a lifelong errand, and
to the whole world. That was being burned in. But they weren't to start on
the errand until the Holy Spirit had come upon them. The errand and the
Spirit's presence were coupled together. That was to be their errand. And
He was to be their life-power as they went on the errand.
They were to go. The Spirit was to come. He would come before they went.
They must not go until He had come. Then they were to go in His presence
and power. They would be able to go because of Him. Their going would be
worth while, because wherever they went He would be at work in them and
through them. The real work would be done by Him. But it would be done
through them. His presence was essential to their work being done. Their
presence was essential to His doing His work. He would work as they went,
and where they went.
That was the new blessed partnership of world-wide service planned by the
Master as He went away. They would tell of Jesus. The Spirit would open
doors, guide their tongues, guard their persons, and make the message of
Jesus as a flame of fire in men's hearts.
Just before this, Jesus had talked a great deal with His disciples about
the Holy Spirit. They didn't yet know how much this that He was saying,
would come to mean to them. But they remembered after the Master was gone,
and then they understood. When they got down into the thick of the world's
crowds they understood the great significance of what He had said.
That last talk they had together in the upper room and along the
Jerusalem streets, on the betrayal night, was full of teaching about the
Holy Spirit. And the next time after that that they met, in the upper
room, on the evening of the resurrection day, He breathed strongly
upon them, and said, "Receive ye the Holy Spirit." And the very last word
on the Olivet slope was, "Wait; wait until the Holy Spirit comes." He
burned in deep that their dependence must be entirely upon the Spirit.
The Partnership of Service.
Jesus Himself is an illustration of what He told them about this. He was
on a missionary errand. He had been sent by His Father, even as later
these men and we have been sent. With awe ever growing, one remembers that
the divine Jesus in the days of His humanity gave Himself over to the
control of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was the dominant factor in His life
and in all His activities. All His teachings and movements were at the
suggestion and direction and control of the Spirit. The power in speech
and action, in healing, in raising the dead, and in the wondrous mastery
of Himself was the Holy Spirit's power working upon and through Jesus.
Then it was that as He was going away He said, "As the Father hath sent
me, even so I send you." And with that He coupled the significant
breathing upon them, with the word, "Take ye the Holy Spirit." We are to
be as He, both in our utter dependence upon the Spirit and in our
assurance of His power in us.
Ever since then that has been the effective partnership for world-service:
men and the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit and men. If you are thinking of
the human side you say, "Men and the Holy Spirit." If you are speaking
of the divine side, you say, "The Holy Spirit and men." The two belong
together. Where men have failed to go the Spirit has been hampered in
speaking to men. He has spoken, but the story of salvation through Jesus
has not been known. The Spirit's mouth-piece for the telling of that story
was lacking. That seriously hindered Him in His work.
Where men have gone without the Spirit, that is without yielding
themselves habitually to His control, they have been sorely hampered. It
is like having the kindling wood set in order for a fire, but the fire not
started. There is no heat, nor any of fire's results. The kindling must
have the flame, and the flame must have the coals. The two are partners in
This partnership belongs peculiarly in the world-wide service of winning
men. If anybody needs the Spirit's presence, he does who attempts to win a
man to Jesus anywhere. But if any man-winner needs that presence more than
another, he does who goes into the peculiar atmosphere of a non-Christian
people. And, on the other hand, if anybody can be sure of the Spirit's
presence and power always with him, and working through him, he can who
has gone out on the world-errand.
That man is in the direct line of obedience to Jesus' command. The Spirit
Himself is sent by Jesus, and comes to us in direct obedience to Jesus'
desire. These two, the man and the Spirit, are as one in the purpose that
controls them. That man may depend on the gracious, irresistible Spirit's
power at every turn. He is a thrice West man, if he have learned to
depend upon His unseen Partner.
The Power That Never Fails.
You and I have to remind ourselves constantly that our chief dependence is
not upon organization, nor method, nor personal talent, nor personal
training, but upon the Holy Spirit working through these. The better
organized the human machinery, the better the methods used, the more there
is of personal gift, and the more thoroughly one's powers have been
drilled, the more there is at the Spirit's disposal for Him to use. The
practical bother is to remember this; to get it rubbed in until it is like
an instinct in us, that the power is all from Him, through us. Not without
Him, and not without us; the two together; but always His the far greater
part--indeed, the real part.
The Holy Spirit has a double work to do: with us who go; and upon those to
whom we go. Within us He has to work out the character of Jesus. He opens
the Word, making its meaning stand clearly out. He wakens the mind up to
do its best work. He guides in our decisions, suggesting and directing and
controlling our thoughts, and in our actions, in our dealings with men. In
things that are little in themselves, but on which so much hinges, He
It constantly occurs that we are not at all conscious of His control at
the time. But afterward we can see how He has been deftly, softly
guiding, with His rare light touch upon us. When, in the thick of work,
we may be pressed hard, and a bit wearied, and in doubt, He sends the
quiet, quick suggestion into our thoughts that leads out of the tight
corner and into the achievement of the thing desired. He works through us,
and through what we do, giving power that otherwise would not be there.
While you are talking in conversation or in public address, He is working
through what you are saying.
And He works upon those to whom we go. He opens doors; the doors of
circumstances that we find locked and double-padlocked against us. He
opens the yet tighter-shut, harder-to-open human doors. He inclines men
favorably toward us personally, and to our message. Under His touch the
message becomes as a tongue of flame, kindling, disturbing, softening,
burning down, and moulding over into new shape the inner man to whom the
Sometimes quarrymen find a very hard kind of rock in the stone quarries.
They pick little grooves for the iron wedges, and then with great
sledge-hammers drive these wedges into the hard rock. But sometimes this
fails to split the rock. The iron wedges and big sledges have no effect at
all on the stubborn stone. Then they go at it in another way. The iron
wedges are removed from the narrow grooves. Then little wooden ones, of a
very hard fibre are selected. These sharp-edged, well-made wooden wedges
are first soaked in water. Then they are put in the grooves tightly while
wet, and water is kept in the grooves. The sledges are not used. They
would smash the wooden wedges.
The water and wedges are left to do their work. The damp wood swells. The
particles must have more room as they swell. The granite heart of rock
can't stand against this new pressure. It takes longer than with iron
wedges and sledge, but after a while the rock yields and lies split
wide-open. The water works on the wood, and that in turn on the stone. The
iron wedges sometimes fail, but the wood and water never fail.
It seems to be a part of our make-up to make plans, and to count on the
plans. And planning does much. We don't want to plan less, necessarily,
but to learn to depend more in our planning on the soft, noiseless, but
resistless power of the Holy Spirit.
"The day is long, and the day is hard;
We are tired of the march and of keeping guard;
Tired of the sense of a fight to be won,
Of days to live through, and of work to be done;
Tired of ourselves and of being alone:
Yet all the while, did we only see,
We walk in the Lord's own company.
We fight, but 'tis He who nerves our arm;
He turns the arrows that else might harm,
And out of the storm He brings a calm;
And the work that we count so hard to do,
He makes it easy, for He works, too:
And the days that seem long to live are His--
bit of His bright eternities--and close to our need
His helping is."
The Trinity of Service.
Now, we want to mark keenly that full power depends upon three things.
There is a trinity of service, a human-divine trinity. The full results
can come only through its working. The ideal winner of men needs to
believe thoroughly in this trinity.
First of all is the message. There needs to be a clear understanding of
the Gospel. That is the winner's message. That is the direct thing he uses
in approaching and laying siege to some man's heart. It is a simple
message, but very often it is grasped only partly by those who tell it.
That message needs to be understood clearly and fully by the man who would
have the greatest power in winning men. From its first plain teaching
about sin, on to the terrible results that sin left to itself works out;
through the blessed teaching of love as shown most in the sacrifice for
sin which Jesus made on the cross; the need of a clean cutting with sin,
and clear-out surrender to Jesus as Saviour and Master; the work of the
Holy Spirit in one's heart; and then the climax of service out among
men--this simple message needs to be grasped fully and clearly. This is
the first great essential hi the trinity of service.
There is a second thing, yet more important, that must go with this first.
And that is a man who embodies the message in himself. It isn't enough
to know the story of the Gospel, nor to tell it. It must be lived. That
is the best telling of it. The man must be a living illustration of the
truth he is telling. He may be conscious of not illustrating it as he
should. The earnest man is never aware that he is as good an illustration
of it as he is. He may think himself a poor illustration. He is quite apt
to. But he is yet more apt not to be thinking of that side as he attempts
to win men. He will be all taken up with Jesus, and with getting men to
The man is more than the message, even when he is less than the message.
When his life fails to live out the truth he is speaking, still even then
he is more. For the life is more than the lips. And, while he is talking,
his life is discounting his words and taking away some of the power that
belongs with them. I do not mean that those he is talking to are making
the comparison, necessarily. They may not know about his life, whether it
embodies the message or not.
I mean that the life that is true breathes a force and power into the man
himself and so into his words. Or it doesn't. The message takes on the
quality of the man. One man's talking catches fire; another's doesn't. The
listeners know that it is so, though they don't usually know why. All the
while you and I are trying to win others, in Sunday-school class or
meeting, in Gospel service or church preaching, in personal conversation
or letter-writing, there's a subtle something that goes out of us, as an
atmosphere, that affects the power of the message we're giving out.
And that something is actually greater in its power than the truth we are
speaking. It may be a touch of flame making the truth burn within him who
is listening. It may be a deadly, dampening chill checking the fire that
is naturally in the truth. The man is always more than the message.
Living on the Top Floor.
Then there is a third thing. It is yet more than the message or the man,
or than both message and man together. It is this: the Holy Spirit
controlling the man who embodies the message. I mean by controlling him
that he has surrendered himself to the Spirit's control. And, further than
that, that he cultivates the Spirit's presence.
There needs to be a habitual cultivation of the Spirit's presence and
friendship, even as we cultivate our human friendships. There needs to be
time spent alone, habitually, with the Book of God. I do not mean just now
merely studying the Bible to get better acquainted with its contents.
Something more than that--thoughtful meditation on its truths; the quiet,
steady holding of one's self open to the searching and stimulating and
enlightening influence of this rare Book. The Spirit speaks through these
pages. Yet it is to be feared that many a careful student of its pages
does not get deeper in than the print. He doesn't know and meet the Person
who speaks in the print and through it.
Then, beyond the quiet time with the Book, there is the holding of one's
whole life open to the Spirit's suggestion and subject to His direction.
He guides through our thinking. And sometimes He guides us when our
thinking, for some reason, has not gotten up high enough for Him to guide
through it. Samuel thought that David's oldest brother was God's chosen
one. But into his rarely sensitized inner ear the Spirit said "No." His
thinking wasn't keen enough to be the channel through which he could be
guided. But he had learned to hold his thinking subject to a higher power.
One time Paul thought it would be good to go over east into the province
of Bithynia, and even tried to make a start that way. But the Spirit made
plain His plan that they were to go in just the opposite direction, to the
west. Had Paul's thinking been more open to the Spirit's touch at that
point, he wouldn't have made the false start. But he was wise clear beyond
the great crowd of us. For at once he dropped his own thought-out plans,
and did as he was bid.
The keener our mental processes are, the better informed we are, the
better poised our judgment--the better can the Spirit reveal His plans to
us through this natural channel, if it is open to Him. But there is one
thing higher up than our thinking powers. And that is the
spirit-perception. The mental isn't at the top. It's a step up to the
spirit floor, the highest of all.
Some men of splendid ability and training and consecration are constantly
hampered because they insist on living on the mental floor. All their
decisions are made there, not subject to change from above. And the Holy
Spirit, who is the Commander-in-chief of all the forces in this campaign,
is unable to use them as He would.
They haven't got the sensitized inner ear of the quiet time that would
lead them up into higher, broader service. They go faithfully plodding
along on the lower level. The Spirit can use them, of course. He does; but
never to the full The Spirit of God controlling the man who embodies the
message--this brings fulness of power in winsome service; and only this
can. It is not by keenness of thinking, nor fulness of learning, nor
shrewd, well-balanced judgment, but by the Spirit of God working through
these, and sometimes working higher up than they have reached.
Partial Weavings of the Strands.
Now it will help us, I am sure, and make the truth stand out more clearly,
to recall a good many variations that belong in here. Running back over
these things brings up certain facts.
The truth has power of blessing in itself, regardless of who is speaking
it. A bad man may preach the Gospel, and the truth itself will be felt in
spite of the man. There is a life in truth itself, quite apart from the
medium of its transmission. This explains why men who have turned out to
be bad men have had good results attending their ministry. But it was the
truth making itself felt in spite of the handicap it suffered at the
hands of the man talking.
And men whose understanding of the truth is very one-sided and meagre have
been greatly used and blessed in their work. It is striking how a man who
has been rescued from a life of open sin, and who goes into Christian
service with tremendous earnestness, will have great power. His emphasis
of truth may be one-sided. It is quite apt to be. He tells what he has
experienced. The man himself is a living illustration of the truth spoken.
All the truth that can get out through him has the tremendous push forward
of his life. But the extent of his service is limited.
And there are men who have a clear, well-rounded grasp of the blessed
message of Jesus, and who give it out clearly and fully. But they are
hampered by their mental swaddling-clothes, in which they have been
wrapped up in school-days. They never get up out of them into the freedom
of strong action through the Spirit's control.
Then, too, without doubt God's Spirit works alone, without using anybody.
He speaks through nature's beauty and power. He speaks in the inner heart
of every man. He is speaking directly to men all the time everywhere. But
the message is a partial one. The direct revelation of God, in nature and
in conscience, is a limited revelation. The full revelation of God was
made in Jesus. And so it is in this Book that tells of Jesus.
The Spirit of God can speak most fully where that Book is known. He can
work most fully and powerfully through the man who lives the Book. Every
printing of this Bible, or any part of it, is giving the spirit freer
entrance into men's hearts. Every one of us who produces a new translation
of it in the language of his life gives the Spirit a wide-open door where
otherwise the opening had been narrow.
Now, whatever combination of these there may be, some of the blessed power
of God will be seen and felt. The truth unembodied or even hampered; men
who embody the truth they know, but whose knowledge is small; men of much
knowledge, but small practice; men of full knowledge, but who have not
learned to let the Spirit sway them fully; the Spirit Himself speaking
where Jesus is not known, and without any man's help--through each of
these, power of life will go out to men.
But the fulness of power that runs like a mighty stream goes only as the
three things come into one. The message, full and clear, the man who
lives it, the Holy Spirit possessing and controlling the man who lives
the message--this is the trinity of service through which alone the
Unbroken Connection Above.
That blessed flood-tide of power may be much more common than it is. There
needs to be daily quiet time, alone with the Master, with the door shut,
the Book open, the knee bent, the will bent too, to a clear right angle,
the mind quiet and open, the inner spirit unhurried; broad, thoughtful
reading; keen, clear, quiet meditation; the rigorous squaring of the life
up to the standard of the Book; the cultivation of the Spirit's presence
and friendship; and these habits steadily followed until they become
Then will be fulfilled the promise, "Out of His inner being shall flow
rivers of water of life." And men have always been drawn irresistibly
to the rivers. And yet, while there will be fulness of power, there will
not be full knowledge of how full the power is. That is reserved for "the
For hundreds of years men have used a contrivance called a diving-bell for
working under water. Practically it enables a man to live out of his
native element. For a man to live in water for any length of time is
impossible. Expert divers do so for a few minutes at a time, but must rise
constantly to get a fresh supply of air. But their work is dangerous, and
very trying on the body. By means of the diving-bell a man may live and
work for hours under the water; that is to say, in an element that of
itself, unchecked, would quickly take his life.
The diving-bell is a sort of huge inverted cup, let down into the water by
its own weight, opening downward, so that the man in the bell faces the
water directly with nothing between himself and it. Death by drowning is
always within arm's length, yet he remains safe. The simple principle on
which the thing is constructed is that water and air can't occupy the same
space at the same time. The bell, being full of air, holds the water out.
But there needs to be a continual supply of fresh air sent down by means
of a tube connected with the upper air. Death by drowning and death by
suffocation, both threaten constantly, and each is held off, one by the
air, and the other by the continual supply of fresh air. The man's ability
to work and his very life depend upon the uninterrupted connection with
the fresh air above.
The Christian man in this world is living out of his native breathing
element. He needs to have his own atmosphere with him, or else he will
die. And he needs to have a fresh supply continually from above, or his
life will be at very low ebb.
Missionaries in foreign-mission lands speak much of the peculiar,
deadening, moral atmosphere there. There is a strange sense of depression
in it. They always plan to have their children brought home at an early
age that they may be brought up through the tender, impressionable years
in a land where Christian standards of life are recognized.
There is no language strong enough to put this truth, that we must, each
of us, whether here or there, carry our own atmosphere with us, and have
continual uninterrupted connection with the upper air. And that "must"
cannot be too strongly underscored.
Blessed Holy Spirit, breath of God, and breath of my life, help me to let
Thee have full sweep within me, that so my life may be kept sweet and
full; and so Jesus can get freely and fully out of me to the great hungry
The Greatest Doing Is Praying.
At the Other End.
A Weekly Journey Round the World.
Prayer a Habit.
A Praying Bent Of Mind.
The Man Is The Prayer.
Unseen Changes Going On.
The Greatest Doing Is Praying.
The greatest of all things we can do is to pray.
Jesus lived a life of prayer. All that He did and said grew out of His
prayer. There is no way of knowing exactly how far it was so. But the more
I study His life the stronger grows the impression that His teaching and
activity, which form the greater part of these Gospel pages, were actually
less than His praying. He seems to have put prayer first. All the rest was
an outgrowth of it. He was on a world-winning errand. And this was what He
thought of prayer. The emphasis of Jesus' personal habit was laid upon
The Holy Spirit is a prayer-spirit. He is the Master-Intercessor. He
breathes into us the spirit of prayer, and makes it glow into a passion.
He teaches us how to pray. It is a lifelong teaching. You who are teachers
know that patience and skill are more in a good teacher than the knowledge
taught. With greatest skill, and loving, tactful patience the Spirit
teaches us to pray.
And then He does more: He uses each of us as His praying-room, praying in
us with yearnings beyond utterance the prayer to which we have not yet
reached up, but which needs to be prayed down on the earth. All the power
needed in this great winning work is in the Holy Spirit and comes from
Him. And the chief thing He emphasizes is prayer.
The greatest thing each one of us can do is to pray. If we can go
personally to some distant land, still we have gone to only one place. But
our field is the world. It is impossible for us to reach our whole field
personally. But it can be reached, and reached effectually, by prayer. The
place where you and I are sent, whether at home or abroad, is simply our
base of action. It is our field for personal touch. And that means
very much. But it is more than that. It is only a small part of our field
of activity. It is most significant as our base of action, from which we
send out our secret messengers of prayer to all parts of the field.
And then, in the particular town or city or country district to which we
have been sent, or in which we are being kept, the prayer properly comes
before the personal activity. And it runs along side by side with the
activity, and follows along after. We give the personal touch which must
be given, and which may be so marvellous in power, but there's something
even there greater than the great personal touch; and that is the power of
It is through the prayer that the personal presence means most. That
personal presence may become a positive hindrance. It may be a drag upon
the work. It often is just that for lack of prayer. For the real sweetness
and efficiency of personal service out among men is in secret prayer.
And if we give money, it needs even more the prayer to go with it. Money
seems almost almighty. As a winning force, of course, it must be reckoned
far less than personal service. For it is less. It gets its almost
omnipotence from human hands. If the personal touch depends for its subtle
power on prayer, how much more does money! Money given to missions,
unaccompanied by prayer, can no doubt be made to do great good. But it is
a very pauper in its poverty alongside the bit of money that is charged
with the spirit-current of prayer.
At the Other End.
One day I ran across a party of about twenty Pittsburg men on their way to
a men's Christian convention in Cincinnati. There were a few ministers in
the party, but it was made up chiefly of business men, typical, keen,
alert American business men. We got together and talked about things of
And this question was asked: Does prayer do things? Then the question
was spread out some. I go into my room at night to retire. I read a bit
from the Book, and kneel to pray. I pray for a man in Pittsburg or in
Hang-chow, China. Does anything take place in Pittsburg or in Hang-chow
that wouldn't have taken place if I hadn't prayed? Of course, the praying
does me good. The very bending of knee and head before God, the good
wishes in my heart going out to some one else--these influence me. I rise
better for both.
But is that all? Does anything happen at the other end? Does my prayer
do anything in Hang-chow? If I write a business letter to Hang-chow,
enclosing a foreign draft, the letter does something. A vast amount of
business is carried on that way. Would the prayer as really do something
as the letter and the draft?
There was a good bit of talk back and forth, and questions asked. It was
interesting to find these men were ready to admit that they really
believed that something would occur at the other end. They belonged to a
church noted for its sound teaching, and came from the orthodox church
city of Pittsburg. The matter-of-fact power of prayer to do business "at
the other end" seemed to appeal to these business men. Apparently they had
not been looking at prayer that way. But they readily admitted that it
must be so. Then the next question asked itself: How much of this foreign
business are we doing? And so the little crowd talked along while the
train pounded the rails at the rate of forty-odd miles an hour.
Prayer does do things. Something happens at the other end that wouldn't
happen if the prayer were not made. The banker can touch London and Paris
and Shanghai and Calcutta and Tokyo, without moving from the desk where he
is dictating letters, with his correspondence spread out before him. The
praying man can as really touch these cities as he kneels in his room,
with map and Book spread out before him.
Things are changed out there that need changing. That banker does
business, too, in his home city and out in the home-land. But many times,
with many a house, the bulk of foreign business is in excess of that done
at home. Now we want to do a large business abroad in soul-winning and in
world-winning, as well as at home.
A Weekly Journey round the World.
I use that word "business" in this connection thoughtfully and reverently.
I know there is a sacredness, a hallowedness about prayer that never or
rarely enters into business matters. We keep the two things apart in our
thoughts; reckoning the one a common thing, and the other a holy thing.
And I would increase, if I could, that sense of reverence in prayer. But
there is a great advantage in using the familiar language of business in
thinking of the results of our praying.
Prayer is doing business for God. It gives a practicality, a
something-you-can-touch-and-feel feeling to think in that way. Shall we
not make plans at once to increase our foreign correspondence?
You can have a simple schedule or memorandum to guide your praying. I do
not mean a slavish hard-and-fast system, or set of rules, set down to be
followed, with a feeling that you have been untrue if you forget. Nothing
of that sort at all. But merely a simple something to glance at each day,
and so serve as a reminder to guide your thoughts.
A little memorandum can be made running through the days of the week. It
can be so planned as to run around the world during the week. The little
schedule which I use is divided into the days of the week, Sunday to
Saturday. There is a daily page containing notes, catch-words, about
personal affairs, and home, and friends, and church, and appointments, and
such items. Then each day of the week has a page, and on it is marked
home-land items and foreign items.
In marking out the weekly world journey I had to begin somewhere. The
Master told the disciples to begin at Jerusalem and work out. So I
followed that rule, and Sunday is marked Turkey and the lands grouped with
it, Arabia and Persia. The memorandum moves east, following the
compass-line of greatest need. Monday is India day, including Ceylon and
the lands and islands lying adjacent. Tuesday is China day; Wednesday,
Japan, the island kingdom; and the island world of the Pacific.
This brings me across the Pacific, and so Thursday is marked South
America, including Central America and Mexico. The easterly line takes me
across the Atlantic again to Africa on Friday. Saturday takes an upward
turn to the papal lands of Europe, and to Russia, completing the
world-journey for that week. The matters for prayer here in the home-land
are noted through the days of the week in the same way. Each page has
certain home and certain foreign items.
A little prayer-book of that sort grows under constant use. Your reading
of missionary news leads to the making of fresh notes. Names of persons
are added, and dates of coming conferences, and so on, and verses of
Scripture that stand out in the daily reading. So the book becomes to you
a very precious little batch of leaves, lying inside the precious Book of
It should be accompanied by a map of the world. For a good while I used
the one which was inserted in one of Dr. A. T. Pierson's mission books.
That copy has long since been replaced by others, larger, giving more
information. It is an immense help to glance at the map daily, and look at
the part marked for the day. The lands get fixed in mind in that way
without special effort. Gradually they stand out more and more clearly,
and come to be very real to you.
That map may become dear to you, for it suggests the field that you are
influencing. It is your prayer sailing-chart. It becomes fragrant with
memories. Experiences you have had alone with God over His Word, and over
this map of His World, come back to refresh and sweeten.
Prayer a Habit.
There's a little sentence of Paul's that used to puzzle and bother me,
"Pray without ceasing." But it has become a great help to me. It puzzled
me because I didn't see any practical way of doing it. It didn't seem to
mean the repetition of prayers, with little mechanical helps, such as some
use. It surely doesn't mean staying on your knees a long time. But, as I
tried to pray my way into its meaning, it came to mean four distinct
things to me. And I would not be surprised to find more yet coming out of
First of all, it means that prayer should be a habit. There should be a
fixed time every day, or times, for going off alone to pray. Into that
time the Book is taken. Quiet time is spent in reading it. For this is
listening to God. And that comes first in praying; listening first, then
speaking. The reading may be rapid and broad, or slower and more
meditative. Whichever it may be, there should be a cultivation of the
habit of meditation.
I do not mean a sleepy trying to imitate what we suppose some holy men do.
But a keen thinking into the meaning of the words, and into their
practical use in one's own life. Then the praying itself. The being still
before God, and the definite prayer for particular things, and persons,
and places. That habit can be fixed until it becomes second nature. It can
be cultivated until it becomes the sweet spot of the day to you.
A Praying Bent of Mind.
Then while the daily habit continues prayer may become an attitude, a
bent of mind. Whatever comes up suggests prayer to you. The bent of your
mind is to pray as things come up in the daily round. You can't stop your
work, but you think prayers. Your heart prays while your hands are busy.
I shall never forget the school in which I learned to pray this way. A
case of protracted illness in my home required my personal attention
constantly for a time. It seemed as if no assistance I could get meant
quite as much as what I could do personally. The life in peril was so
precious that all else dropped out of sight. My habits of life were
completely broken up. I was up night and day. The early morning hour of
reading and prayer was broken into, with everything else of a regular
But as I went about my round of service I found myself praying constantly.
I was much wearied, and things sometimes seemed desperate. I realized how
everything depended on God's touch. And without any planning a habit of
continual praying formed itself. I could be engaged in conversation,
thinking intently into something needing great care, and yet there was an
undercurrent of prayer constantly. I shall never cease to be grateful for
that trying experience, because in it this new habit of a praying bent of
mind formed itself.
Do you not know how as you go about your ordinary round there is a
constant undercurrent of thought? You may be talking, or reading, or
writing, or doing something more mechanical, and yet this underneath train
of thought is running along apparently of its own accord, regardless of
you. It is broken at times, or you lose consciousness of it, as your work
requires closer attention. When you swing into the habitual things that
you have done over and over again until they almost do themselves, it
I remember years ago, in a banking-house where I served for a time, I had
long additions to make. Sometimes the rows of figures to be added up were
a foot in length. And I got so used to adding that often I was surprised
to find that my thoughts had been far away, completely taken up with
something else, while I had been adding the figures. And fearing that I
had been slighting my work, I would go back carefully all over the
figures, only to find the footings correct. The adding habit had become
fixed, and left the undercurrent of my thought free.
That current is apt to reveal the heart's purpose or set of mind. Whatever
you are most set upon, whatever your favorite fads or hobbies or
inclinations or moods are, they are apt to appear in that involuntary
train of thinking. Now this can be cultivated. It can be cultivated
chiefly by the cultivation of the controlling purpose of your life, and
then by trying to give directions to the undercurrent, and holding it to
that direction. If Jesus has gripped your heart the purpose of the life
will be for Him. And if you have come to realize the tremendous power of
prayer, this undercurrent of thought can be made a prayer-current.
I do not mean by any forced or artificial holding of one's self to such a
current by dint of main force, and then mentally whipping yourself if you
have forgotten. The power of all action lies in its being perfectly free
and natural. You can cultivate the Jesus-passion, and the life-purpose,
and the prayer-habit, and all of this will be a training of that
undercurrent of thought toward prayer.
The shipping clerk, as he heads up his barrels and boxes, can be sending
out and up his current of prayer. At intervals he is thinking closely
about something connected with his work. Then his thoughts free
themselves. As he hammers in the nails, his thought says, "This is China
day." Each ringing blow of the hammer rings out "This is China day:--Thy
blessing, Master, to-day upon the missionaries in Hang-chow;--upon Mr.
Blank out there;--victory in Jesus' name to-day;--the physician
missionaries, the nurses;--Thy power upon them;--help the native workers."
The picture of his little prayer memorandum comes up before his mind's
eye. The map of China stands out more or less distinctly, according to how
long he may have been practising looking at it in his prayer-hour. His
mind runs of itself from one point to another. And so, all the while, his
undercurrent of praying goes on. It is broken into by newer or more
exacting duties; then free again, and swinging more or less to the thing
his heart is set upon. It becomes a perfectly free, natural thing with
him. This is part of the meaning of "Pray without ceasing."
The Man is the Prayer.
Then prayer is a life. The life is what you are in yourself. It is not
the mere span of years you live through. Your thoughts and loves, your
heart's ambitions and gripping purposes, the things you will to do, and to
be--that is your life. That exerts an enormous influence upon the circle
in which you live, and upon the world.
If underneath all else that driving purpose, that warm, intense
love-power, that yearning desire, is Godward, and manward, and world-ward,
that becomes a prayer, a continual prayer. You are not thinking of it that
way. But that is your life, and that life is a prayer. Its influence
against the evil one and for God is enormous.
That is a prayer unceasing, as long and as strong as your life itself.
Satan fears it. It hinders him and thwarts him every day. The fragrant
incense from the censer of your life rises up before the throne of God
continually, and affects the events on the earth.
And then prayer is a person. That is to say, you yourself may be a
prayer, a walking prayer offered up in Jesus' name. Your presence will
affect the evil one, and change events, and help God in His plans. You may
be so allied with Jesus in the simple gripping purpose of your heart that
you yourself, where you are, by your mere presence, will be recognized by
evil spirits, and by the Master Himself as a mighty power for God.
Your presence disturbs the evil one's plan. It has an influence upon those
you meet. It is helping God. The whole effect of your presence is
precisely the same as a prayer. You are a prayer yourself, though
unconsciously. The whole trend of your life says, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy
will be done on earth as in heaven."
A few years ago President Roosevelt's daughter was a member of the Taft
party that visited parts of the Orient. She did not go as the President's
daughter, of course. There could be no official significance attached to
her presence. We Americans can understand better than some others that she
went simply as a young woman eager to see Japan and China, not as the
But everywhere she went in the Orient she was treated not merely as a
member of the party, but as the daughter of the President of the United
States. Presents were made to her, receptions tendered, and deference
shown, because of her personal relation to her father. To the Orientals
her presence stood for the head of our Government. They treated her in
relation to him.
Even so it is with us Christians. The evil one doesn't think of you and
me for ourselves simply. He thinks of us in relation to the Jesus, who is
his Victor. We stand to him down here for Jesus. He fears us as he fears
Jesus. That is, he can be made to fear us, by our being true to our Lord.
The final purpose of prayer is to defeat Satan and to bring about God's
will. And we do just that in our persons, by our presence; or we may.
Prayer is a person. You are a prayer. The man himself becomes a tremendous
prayer, off-setting evil influences, changing men and events, and helping
God in His plans.
These last two, the life and the person, may be called unconscious prayer.
The influence is constantly going out, though we are not aware of it. But
it is great encouragement to recall that this prayer-power is going out of
us constantly. And these two are not limited to the place where we are.
They act as a momentum to every wish we breathe, and every spoken prayer
we utter, sending these with renewed force out to the place involved.
Spirit influence does not know anything about the limitations of distance.
Unseen Changes Going On.
All this praying makes a difference at the other end, the place toward
which it is directed. Things in Tokyo are made different. The copy of a
Gospel that some native in India is reading becomes a plainer book to him
because of this praying. Your prayer is a spirit-force travelling
instantly through the distance between you and the place you are praying
for. And things occur that otherwise would not.
Opposition lessens. Difficulties give way. The road some man is travelling
clears and brightens. The truth on the printed page stands out in bigger
letters. The health renews. The sickness or weakness gives way to a new
health and strength. The judgment steers a straight course. The purpose
holds its anchor steady. The man rides the rough seas of temptation
Things are happening. And they are happening because some scarcely noticed
young fellow hammering a barrel-head and marking the shipping directions,
and some typewriter chopping her machine, are praying in the quiet time,
and are praying softly in the undercurrent of their scarcely thought-out
"Oh, if our ears were opened
To hear as angels do
Arising full and true,
We should hear it soft up-welling
In morning's pearly light;
Through evening's shadows swelling
In grandly gathering might;
The sultry silence filling
Of noontide's thunderous blow,
And the solemn starlight thrilling
With ever-deepening flow.
"We should hear it through the rushing
Of the city's restless roar,
And trace its gentle gushing
O'er ocean's crystal floor;
We should hear it far up-floating
Beneath the Orient moon,
And catch the golden noting
From the busy Western noon;
And pine-robed heights would echo
As the mystic chant up-floats,
And the sunny plain resounds again
With the myriad mingling notes.
"There are hands too often weary
With the business of the day,
With God-entrusted duties,
Who are toiling while they pray.
They bear the golden vials,
And the golden harps of praise,
Through all the daily trials,
Through all the dusty ways.
These hands, so tired, so faithful,
With odors sweet are filled,
And in the ministry of prayer
Are wonderfully skilled.
"There are noble Christian workers,
The men of faith and power,
The overcoming wrestlers
Of many a midnight hour;
Prevailing princes with their God,
Who will not be denied,
Who bring down showers of blessing
To swell the rising tide.
The Prince of Darkness quaileth
At their triumphant way,
Their fervent prayer availeth
To sap his subtle sway.
"And evermore the Father
Sends radiantly down
His ministers to crown;
The incense cloud returning
As golden blessing-showers,
We in each drop discerning
Some feeble prayer of ours,
Transmuted into wealth unpriced,
By Him who giveth thus
The glory all to Jesus Christ,
The gladness all to us!"
The Best Partnership.
Be Your Own Executor.
Missing the Master's Meaning.
Are We True to Our Friend's Trust?
Money seems almost almighty in its power to do things, and make changes.
It can make a desert blossom as a rose. It can even defy death. Medical
skill holds the life here that otherwise would have been snuffed out.
Great buildings go up. Colleges begin their life with apparatus and books,
skilled instructors, and eager students. Mammoth enterprises spring into
being. Hospitals and churches rise up with skilled attendants and talented
We have come, in our day, and perhaps peculiarly in our country, to think
that there is no limit to the power of money. Our ideas of its value are
really greatly exaggerated. That first sentence I used would be revised by
many to read, "Money is almighty." The cautious words "seems" and "almost"
would be promptly cut out.
Yet money has great limitations. It will help greatly to remember what
they are. And many of us need the brain-clearing of that help. Of itself
money is utterly useless, so much dead-weight stuff lying useless and
helpless. It must have human hands to make it valuable. It gets its value
from our conception of its value and from our use of it. It must have a
human partner to be of any service at all.
In bad hands it becomes devilish in its badness. And I needn't put an
"almost" in that sentence. It may be as a very demon, or as the arch-devil
himself, as really as it may seem to be divine in its creative and
Then it is valuable only in this world, on the earth. At the line of death
its value wholly ceases. Over that line it takes its place as a pauper. It
is represented as being used for cobble stones in the streets of the new
Jerusalem. Yet it would need to go through some hardening process to make
it of any account at all as paving material.
We ought to remind ourselves of something else, too, that the crowd
constantly forgets, and that we are tempted to forget when touched by the
contagion of the crowd. And that is, that money is always less in its
power than a strong, sweet, pure life. Maybe you think that comparison
can't properly be made. You say that things so unlike can't be compared.
But, whether consciously or intentionally or otherwise, that comparison is
being made constantly in practical life, and most times to the advantage
of money. Commonly the crowd reckons money more than character.
We do well to remind ourselves that its influence for good is always
distinctly less than that of a life. To live a life pure and strong and
wholesome in its ideals out among men is more than to be able to give
money in any amount. To keep one's life up to such ideals in the heartless
drive and competition of modern life means more than to extract large
quantities of gold out of the mine of barter and trade, and to give some
of it away.
And money is less than personal service. Great deference is paid to checks
and subscriptions. The man who can draw a large check for some good
object, and who may by dint of much dexterous handling be induced to write
his name under some large figure, is treated with awe. But there's another
man who stands higher up in the scale, and to whom hats should go farther
off and more quickly. That is the strong man who gives personal service.
There may be a blessed partnership between the man of money and the man of
service. There often is. But he is an unfortunate man, to be pitied, who
lets anything else crowd out of his life the privilege of giving some of
his self out in personal service for others. These are some of gold's
The Best Partnership.
Give money good partners, and there is no end to what it can do. Let
prayer and sacrifice and money form a life-partnership, and that first
sentence can be revised, and greatly strengthened by the revision: Money
is almost almighty. It gets all the good qualities of its partners as
long as it stays in the partnership, on good working terms.
It isn't the head of the firm, however. Prayer belongs in that place. It
must direct. It is the prayer's touch with God that hallows the gold and
gives to it some of God's omnipotence. Money is the working partner, best
when hard at work, and famous for the amount of work it can do in obeying
orders from the head of the house.
It gives a strange sense of awe to realize that the bit of money you hold
in your hand can be used to change a life, aye, more, to change many
lives. That money is yours to control. It came to you in exchange for your
labor or your skill. It is yours, for the sweat of your brow or your brain
is upon it. And now it can be sent out, and the result will be a life
utterly changed, purified, and redeemed.
Through your partnership the money produces something greater than itself.
And that changed life becomes the centre of a new power, changing other
lives out to the far rim of an ever-widening circle. It may have cost you
much. Some of your very life has gone out in the work that brought into
your hands that bit of gold. It is red with your blood. And now, if you
choose, it can be sent out and made to bring new life in to some one else.
Life has gone from you in getting it, and life will come to another in
your giving it out, under the blessed Master's transmuting touch.
Jesus' teaching about money is startling. I mean that it stands in such
utter contrast to the commonly accepted standards out in the world, and
inside in the Church, that the contrast startles one sharply.
There are four passages in which His money teachings group, largely.
There's the "Lay-not-up-for-yourselves-treasure-upon-the-earth" bit in the
sermon on the Mount; with the still stronger phrase in the Luke
parallel, "Sell that ye have, and give." There is the incident of the
earnest young man who was rich; the parable of the wealthy farmer in
Luke, twelfth chapter; and the whole sixteenth chapter of Luke, with
that great ninth verse, whose full meaning has been so little grasped. The
truth taught in each of these is practically the same thing.
The Master is evidently talking about what a man has over and above his
personal and family needs. It's a law of life, from Eden on, that a man
should work to supply his daily needs and the needs of those dependent
upon him. Just how much that word "needs" means each man settles for
himself. It means different things at different times to the same man.
It is surprising how little it can be made to mean when the pinch comes,
and yet a man have all actual necessities supplied. The man who would have
his life count for most for the Master, and the Master's plan, thinks over
that word prayerfully and sensibly with full regard to personal strength,
and loved ones, and the future. Whatever it may be made to mean, this
teaching is plainly about what is left over after the needs are met.
Now, about that left-over amount the Master gives three easily understood
rules, or bits of advice, or commands. First: Don't treasure it up for
the sake of having it. If you do it is in danger, and you are in danger.
It may be stolen. Every vault, and safe, and safety-deposit company, and
lock, and key backs up that statement. Or it may be lost through rust or
moths, the two things that threaten all inactivity. The stuff that isn't
in use wears away. The wear of use can't compare with the wear of disuse
Then you are in danger of your heart being affected. It will be wherever
your treasure is. It may get locked up, and so dried up for lack of air or
poisoned by bad air. The blood must have fresh air. The heart must have
touch with men to keep its vigor. It may get all dried up with things,
instead of keeping vigorous by touch with needy men. That's the twofold
danger. That's the first thing Jesus says: Don't store it up, down here,
in the ordinary way.
The second thing is this: Store your surplus up. Be careful of it. Keep
strict tally. Let the books be well kept and balanced. Let no
thoughtlessness nor carelessness nor thriftlessness get in. Store it up.
But be careful where you store it. Keep it carefully guarded against the
action of thieves and moths, and against the inaction of decaying,
destroying rust. That is the second thing. Store it up carefully.
Be Your Own Executor.
The third thing is this: Store it up by means of exchange. Keep it safe
by giving it away. The whole value of money is in exchange. It must be
kept moving. But, but--and the whole heart of the teaching is here--be
very wary about your exchanges. Invest your money in men, wherever the
need may be. All that you invest wisely in men is stored up against any
violence or craftiness of thieves and any corroding of rust.
All that is not out in active use directly among men, for men, in Jesus'
name, is in danger of being stolen, or of decaying, or of injuring you, or
of being left behind, utterly worthless to you when you are through down
here. Be your own executor.
Some years ago one of the religious papers of New York City told of the
death of a maiden lady named Elizabeth Pellit. Her home was in the
hall-room of a tenement-house, and at her death all her earthly
possessions could be put into one common trunk. No executor or
administrator was needed. Living in narrow circumstances, her friends
thought she had denied herself all luxuries and even many comforts. But in
the forty years of her Christian life she had been able to give over
thirty thousand dollars to missionary work. She had supplied the money to
send out and sustain one missionary in Salvador, and also for another who
was to go out soon. She seemed to have grasped the meaning of the Master's
Good common sense comes in for free play here, both in adjusting one's
personal and family schedule and in giving. Giving may be done foolishly,
or not wisely. There is no place where there is more room for good sense
in avoiding both the extreme of unwise giving and the other extreme of
handicapping one's gifts.
It is a question of personal judgment how far to give money out directly
and how far to invest some of it and use the income wholly in gifts. You
may think that in some directions you can invest it better, and direct the
income better than some organization. That is an important detail. But the
chief thing is that the money itself is dedicated wholly for use out among
Now you will please mark keenly that in all this I am not talking about
what I think about money. I am simply putting into plain talk Jesus' own
teaching about it, in these four great passages.
Missing the Master's Meaning.
Christian men, generally, seem to have missed the meaning of Jesus' words.
I think it due largely to the lack of teaching in the Church that
world-evangelizing is a first obligation.
Recently a fire destroyed the home of a man of large wealth who lives some
distance east of San Francisco. It was a beautiful palace, full of art
treasures. The value of house and furnishings and the art collection was
reckoned at about two million dollars. He is a Christian man, prominently
identified with active Christian work, and reckoned a liberal giver. He
has visited foreign-mission lands, and made special gifts to missions.
But his gifts to missions seem like a copper cent or a silver quarter