God’s gifts of mercy are packaged in the “todays” of our lives. On Sunday night, October 8, 1871, the well-known evangelist, D. L. Moody, preached to the largest congregation that he had yet addressed in Chicago. His text that evening was, “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” (taken from Matthew chapter 27 verse 22.), and at the conclusion of his sermon he said, “I wish you would take this text home with you and turn it over in your minds during the week, and next Sabbath we will come to Calvary and the Cross, and we will decide what to do with Jesus of Nazareth.” Then his song evangelist, Ira D. Sankey whose hymns are sprinkled throughout most evangelical hymnbooks, began to lead in singing the hymn,
To-day the Savior calls;
For refuge fly;
The storm of justice falls,
And death is nigh.
But Sankey never finished the hymn, for while he was singing the rush and roar of fire engines whistled by the church on the street outside, and before morning much of the city of Chicago lay in ashes. To his dying day, Mr. Moody deeply regretted that he had told that congregation to come next Sabbath and decide what to do with Jesus. “I have never since dared,” he said, “to give an audience a week to think of their salvation. If they were lost they might rise up in judgment against me. I have never seen that congregation since. I will never meet those people until I meet them in another world. But I want to tell you of one lesson that I learned that night which I have never forgotten, and that is, when I preach, to press Christ upon the people then and there and try to bring them to a decision on the spot. I would rather have that right hand cut off than to give an audience a week now to decide what to do with Jesus.”
In many of our churches across our nation, a spirit of indifference has descended upon the pulpit and the pew. Like Moody before the great Chicago fire, we have allowed ourselves to say, “Tomorrow!” But tragically for most, that day of grace never comes!
Friends and family members die without a saving knowledge of Christ. We must not allow the dis-ease of spirit to be confused and confounded with the ease of body. To be well in body, does not necessarily equate to “wellness” of spirit. Would you allow yourself to sense anew a passion for souls?
May our prayer be, “Lord, please help us to see the urgency of winning souls for you!” May God make us great soul-winners!
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