December 4.

December 4.

THE PAINS OF SOUL-WINNING

“I will make you fishers of men.” – Matt. iv.19.

A FISHER of men—it is what I would fain be, one who wins souls for the undying life.  But have I counted the cost?

It involves sacrifice.  Andrew and Peter, James and John, must leave their kindred and their trade.  From my business, my books, my fireside, my tender human loves, I need to be prepared to go, if I am to capture men and women for my Lord.  The heavenly task must become my chief concern, my ruling passion.  It must govern me, occupy me, absorb me, to the subordination—ay, sometimes to the exclusion—of all other claims.

It involves fellowship.  I shall never take prisoners the hearts that are round about me, unless I am maintaining a close personal intercourse with my Lord. I must renew my strength by continual contact with Him.  I must walk with Him and talk with Him as His first disciples did.  Then, invested with powers not my own, I can go and gain my erring brother—but not otherwise.  Their faces shine, their words win, their lives tell—theirs only—who come down from the Mount.

It involves pain.  This labour of fishing for men, there is the sorest anguish in it.  Many a time I shall be disappointed.  Many a time I shall have to endure long delay.  Many a time I shall be saddened by what I see and hear.  “Oh, I am sick with the sins of these men!  How can God bear it?” Henry Drummond cried one night when he came from a students’ meeting.

Yes, let me count the cost; let me reckon deliberately the price I shall have to pay.  But then let me throw my weakness on the strength of God; He “loves the burthen.”

Dr. Alexander Smellie.

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