1997-02-11 - Earnestness

Rom 1:16-17 - For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "But the righteous man shall live by faith." (NAS)

The Rev. George Whitefield was the leader of the Great Awakening in the 1740's. His itinerant preaching drew crowds that numbered in the 10's of thousands. In fact when he preaching in Boston, Boston had a population of only 10,000 and yet 30,000 came to hear him preach. Since he was an itinerant preacher he had the opportunity to stay with many families as he journeyed up and down the east coast. In every household that he stayed he made it his habit to inquire with the members of the household as to the state of their souls. He did this with each one personally.

He stayed with one family who he found to be all that one could wish in Christian character. In fact he was so pleased with the hospitality and general character of the family that he failed to speak with them concerning their souls. He stayed with them for a week. On the last night of his stay there he could not sleep. He was thinking about how kind this family had been to him and how unfaithful he had been in seeking after their spiritual state. He spent that night in prayer. He had come to realize that this family, in spite of outward appearances, did not rest in Christ, and he had done nothing. He was too ashamed to speak with them and so he thought of a plan to communicate with them and asked the Lord to bless his plan.

In his room there was a small window and he wrote on it, "One thing thou lackest". After he had left, the woman of the house went up to the room he had been staying in so she could see, "Where the man of God had been". She saw the message in the window. She called her family. "I thought he did not care much about us, for I knew he always pleaded with those with whom he stopped, and when I found that he did not do so with us, I thought we had vexed him …" The family all knelt down around the bed and together inquired themselves as to the state of their souls.

Before we focus on missionary efforts in India or Africa, we ought to examine our zeal here at home with those we come in contact with. The above story of Whitefield is an unfortunate one with a happy ending. But how sad that the leader of the Great Awakening was afraid to talk with this family. However, his common practice was to talk with those he came in contact with and so should our practice imitate him.

"Christians are in the world to be witnesses, and they must concentrate on their calling." Paul B. Smith

"Witnessing is not an effort, it is an overspill." Robert Cook

"You can never speak to the wrong man about Christ." Peter McFarlane

"Lord, let me not live to be useless." John Wesley

Soli Deo Gloria,