2008-04-24 - One Thing Thou Lackest
Mark 10:21, "And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, 'One thing you lack.'"
If you don't know the name George Whitefield, you should. He was a great preacher of the 17th century. I never heard him preach, so I don't know if he was the kind of preacher that people would think is "great" by today's standards, but I am sure, measured by eternal standards, that Whitefield will always be known as a great preacher. God used him mightily in the process of winning souls unto Christ. The Spirit blessed his preaching with the stamp of approval that lives were changed, sinners converted (thousands), and the faithful strengthened. Whatever standards we use today to measure the greatness of a preacher, Whitefield will always stand out in this way, and really, it is the only way that really matters.
He was, for many years, an itinerant preacher - which meant that he went from town to town, and also meant he quite often needed to stay with families. The following is an account of one of the families that he stayed with for a week while preaching in their area. I hope it encourages us all to do what we can to speak with others about the thing of the Lord, and the eternal state of their souls. The example below is actually one of his failures that God used to His glory, but let us not lose the lesson, that even when we may not speak to others concerning the things of Christ as we would, we must speak as we can. What I am reproducing below is from a sermon of another preacher, about 140 years ago, who related the following story concerning George Whitefield.
"You perhaps may have heard the story of Mr. Whitefield, who made it his wont wherever he stayed, to talk to the members of the household about their souls - with each one personally; but stopping at a certain house with a Colonel, who was all that could be wished except a Christian, he was so pleased with the hospitality he received and so charmed with the general character of the good Colonel and his wife and daughters, that he did not speak with them about decision, as he would have done if they had been less amiable characters. He had stopped with them for a week, and during the last night, the Spirit of God visited him so that he could not sleep. 'These people,' said he, 'have been very kind to me, and I have not been faithful to them; I must do it before I go; I must tell them that whatever good thing they have, if they do not believe in Jesus, they are lost.'
"He arose and prayed. After praying, he still felt contention in his spirit. His old nature said, 'I cannot do it,' but the Holy Spirit seemed to say, 'Leave them not without warning.' At last he thought of a device, and prayed God to accept it; he wrote upon a diamond-shaped pane of glass in the window with his ring these words: -- "One thing thou lackest." He could not bring himself to speak to them, but went his way with many a prayer for their conversion. He had no sooner gone, than the good woman of the house, who was a great admirer of him, said, 'I will go up to his room: I like to look at the very place where the man of God has been.' She went up and noticed on the window pane those words, "One thing thou lackest." It struck her with conviction in a moment. 'Ah!' said she, '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 he did not do so with us, I thought we had vexed him, but I see how it was; he was too tender to speak with us.'
"She called her daughters up. 'Look there, girls,' said she, 'see what Mr. Whitefield has written on the window, 'One thing thou lackest.'" Call up your father.' And the father came up and read that too, 'One thing thou lackest!'" And around the bed whereon the man of God had slept, they all knelt down and sought that God would give them the one thing they lacked, and 'ere they left that chamber, they had found that one thing, and the whole household rejoiced in Jesus."
Soli Deo Gloria,