The soul-winner, to be successful, must not be over anxious about finance, but must laugh at the devil and all his fears, and count God faithful and trust Him to supply all his needs. He should again and again read over the last part of the sixth chapter of St. Matthew, beginning with verse 19. What could be stronger and more positive than the assurance of Jesus that his needs shall be supplied?
When I was a little fellow I never worried my head or heart about my next pair of shoes, or where my breakfast was to come from. My father was dead, so my mother did all that worrying, and I played and trusted her and had a good time. Well, now, Jesus says we are to take no thought (by that He means no anxious thought see Revised Version) what we shall eat or what we shall put on. “Is not the life more than meat and the body than raiment?” And if God gives you life, which is the greater, will He not give you meat to sustain life? And if He allows you still to live in your body for a season, will He not give you raiment to protect your body? “Behold the fowls of the air, for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns, yet your Heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat, or what shall we drink, or wherewithal shall we be clothed? for your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.”
Jesus would have me trust my Heavenly Father as I did my mother. Then I call be a child again, bless the Lord! and all I have to do is to pray and obey and trust the Lord, and have a good time before the Lord, and He will supply my needs and the needs of my little ones whom He has given me. Yes, that is what He means, for He says, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you.” And this freedom from worrying anxiety is the privilege and duty of all soul-winners, from the carefree worker who has only to get bread for his own mouth to him who has a large family to feed and clothe, or the man with a thousand-fold financial responsibility like Moses, or George Mueller, or Hudson Taylor, or our God-honored and beloved General. Faith — simple faith, unmixed faith in God’s promise — can no more exist in the same heart with worry than can fire and water, or light and darkness, consort together; one extinguishes the other. Faith in the plain, unmistakable promise of God, begotten by the Holy Ghost, so links the soul-winner to Jesus, so yokes them up and unites them in partnership together, that the burden and care is the Lord’s, since “the cattle on a thousand hills and the silver and the gold are His;” and He would have His child trust Him, walk the waves with Him, never doubt Him, shout the victory through Him and triumph over all fear and all the power of the enemy in Him. I do declare that according to the Word of God this is His will for the soul-winner, and this secret every true soul-winner must and does know. Hallelujah!
God does not send the soul-winner to a warfare at his own charges, but according to Paul, “will supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
God’s commissary department is abundantly full and runs on schedule time, but the worried and anxious unbeliever wants Him to run ahead of schedule time. No, no! He may in order to test and strengthen faith, not provide the second suit until the first one is ready to be laid aside, and sometimes after supper he may allow you to go to bed not knowing where the breakfast is to come from, but it will come at breakfast time. “He knoweth that ye have need of these things,” so trust Him, as does the sparrow. The wee thing tucks its tiny head under its little wing and sleeps, not knowing where it will find its breakfast, and when the day dawns it chirps its merry note of praise, and God opens His great hand and feeds it. “The eyes of all wait upon Thee and Thou givest them their meat in due season. Thou openest Thine hand and satisfiest the desire of every living thing.” said the Psalmist (Ps. 145:15, 16), and “Ye are of more value than many sparrows,” said Jesus.
O my anxious brother, trust Him! He will not fail you. In this, as in all other things, the assurance holds good, that there hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able, but will with the temptation make a way of escape that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Cor. 10:13.) Hallelujah! I have proved this in times past, and I may have to prove it again, but “God is faithful.” Glory! Glory! Glory! And the devil is a liar and always will be.
Finney’s clothes got threadbare, but he was so intent on getting souls saved that he didn’t notice it until someone came along and measured him for a new suit. I had an almost similar experience once. God knew when the old suit needed replacing by a new one, and He sent it along on time.
Who can read Muller’s “Life of Trust,” without seeing God’s hand in the supply of all our needs? And if the experiences of the officers of The Salvation Army were written, it would make a book equally interesting, showing the unfailing faithfulness of God in supplying daily need. Oh, that soul-winners would not lose their simplicity and forget these mercies and past faithfulness, which are certain pledges of future ones!
Many a man loses his love for souls and his power to win them by allowing covetousness or financial anxiety to crowd childlike trust out of his heart. “Who is there among you that would shut the door for nought? neither do ye kindle a fire upon mine altars for nought,” cried the Lord to the backslidden, covetous prophets of old. They would do nothing until they knew they should be well paid for it. It was not souls, but money they worked for.
Contrast with this Paul’s unselfish, disinterested devotion. He says: “I have coveted no man’s silver or gold or apparel; yea, ye yourselves know that these hands have ministered unto my necessities and to them that were with me. I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” And again he says: “I seek not yours but you.” He even goes so far as to say when they gave him anything, “Not that I desire a gift, but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.” It was not the benefit that he derived from receiving, so much as the benefit they would derive from giving that rejoiced his heart. In writing to the Philippians, who had sent him a donation, he gives us a bit of his inner experience. He says, “I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at the last your care of me hath flourished again, wherein ye were also careful but ye lacked opportunity. Not that I speak in respect o f want, for I have learned in whatsoever state I am therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased and how to abound; everywhere and in all things have I learned the secret” (R. V.) “both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” And in writing to Timothy, he says: “A bishop must not be greedy of filthy lucre,” and Peter says we are to “feed the flock of God not for filthy lucre but of a ready mind.”
In all this I do not contend that God would not have the soul-winner amply supported and relieved of financial burden and care by the people for whom he gives his life. God says: “The laborer is worthy of his hire;” and He forbade the muzzling of the ox that trod out the corn; and by the tithing system, which all Christians ought to adopt, every Jew was to assist in the support of the ministry.
But what I do contend for is, that the soul-winner must not be anxious about his bread, but must beware of covetousness, must seek to save souls, and if they do not support him as he would wish, must still love them unto death and seek their salvation, and cheerfully and triumphantly trust the God who fed Elijah and rained manna from heaven for forty years to feed a million Israelites to find a way to feed him. I maintain against all devils and all unbelief, that God will not disappoint him, but will “feed him with the finest of the wheat and satisfy him as with marrow and fatness.”