Holiness And Zeal For Souls
‘Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men,’ said Jesus to Peter and Andrew; and now as then when Jesus saves a soul, that soul wants to catch men, wants to see others saved. Holiness increases this desire, and makes it burn with a quenchless flame.
The zeal of other people blazes up, burns low, and often dies out, but the zeal of a man with a clean heart, full of the Holy Ghost, increases year by year. Others run away from the prayer-meeting, but he holds on. Others do not grieve if souls are not saved, but he feels that he must see souls saved, or die. Others are zealous for ‘big goes,’ tea parties, ice-cream suppers, and musical festivals, but nothing pleases him so much as a prayer-meeting where souls are crying to God for pardon and cleansing, and others are shouting for joy.
And this zeal for the salvation and sanctification of men leads him to do something to reach them. He lets his light shine, He speaks to people not only from the platform and the pulpit at long range, but he buttonholes them, and speaks to them wherever he finds them. Holiness makes it easy for him to do this. He loves to do it. He finds that, as he follows the Spirit, the Lord fills his mouth with truth, and gives him something to say.
A number of years ago a young man full of the Holy Ghost stopped a few minutes at a watering trough to give his horse a drink, and at the same time a stranger rode up to water his horse. For about five minutes the young man with a heart overflowing with love told the stranger about Jesus. Then they separated to meet no more in this world; but the stranger was converted to God as a result of that five minutes of faithful, personal dealing, and became a soul-saver in Africa. He often wondered who that Heaven-sent young man was who pointed him to Jesus. One day in Africa he received a box of books from America, and on opening a small volume of memoirs, there he saw the face and the name of the man to whom he owed his soul’s salvation, and whose cry to God was, ‘Give me souls give me souls, O Lord, or I cannot live.’
There are two things for us to remember:
1. Most sinners hope that someone will speak to them about their soul.
‘Why did you not speak to me about my soul?’ asked a student of his room-mate.
‘I thought you would not like it,’ was the reply.
‘Why, that was the reason I roomed with you,’ said he.
A father prayed earnestly in the meeting for the salvation of sinners. After the meeting, he and his boy walked home a mile away. The boy hoped his father would speak to him about Jesus and salvation, for he was under deep conviction, but not a word did the father say. Then the boy said within himself, ‘After all, there is nothing in religion,’ and he became a reckless unbeliever, all because his father did not speak to him about his soul.
Poor sinners! They often laugh and make merry when their hearts are well-nigh breaking with sorrow or conviction, and they are only waiting for someone to point them to Jesus to be saved.
2. When God moves us to speak to people, we may be sure that He has been dealing with their hearts and preparing the way for us. When the Lord sent Philip to speak to the Ethiopian, He had the Ethiopian all ready for Philip’s message.
A friend of mine in Cleveland used to meet a certain railroad conductor almost every day. The conductor was a big, splendid fellow, but a sinner. One day my friend felt he ought to speak to that conductor about his soul. He was a small man, and trembled and ran away like Jonah, and for the next three weeks he was disobedient and in great misery. Every day he would meet the conductor, and the Lord would say, ‘Speak to him about his soul.’ After three weeks of agony he went out of his office one day, and lo! there was that conductor again. He could stand it no longer, he braced himself, buttoned up his coat, and said, ‘Lord, help me! I will speak to him, if he knocks me down.’ Then he spoke, and to his surprise, and shame, and joy, the big man burst into tears, and said, ‘I have really been wanting someone to speak to me about my soul for three weeks.’
God is faithful; He had been to that man before He sent my friend to him. And there are hungry souls all around us like that one.
Again, holiness not only makes us eager for the salvation of sinners, but fills us with unutterable longings for the perfecting of the saints. We want to see ‘every man perfect in Christ Jesus’ I have never known anyone to get the blessing without this desire following,
Oh, how God longs to have a holy people on earth! Will you give yourself to Him, my brother, my sister, to help Him to get such a people? You can be a yoke-fellow with Jesus, a worker with God. Will you? If so, begin just now to pray for the one you feel God would have you help to save or sanctify, and you will be working with Jesus, and if you continue, great shall be your reward.
Not my own! My time, my talents Freely all to Christ I bring,
To be used in joyful service, For the glory of my King.