by Billy Sunday:
Soul Winning is Difficult Work
Now, it is a difficult form of work. It is more difficult than preaching; it is more difficult than attending conventions; more difficult than giving goods to the poor. (When you do give goods to the poor, don’t wait until the moths have eaten holes in them. And when you give them away, don’t cut off all the buttons and braid. Poor folks like them as well as you do. It is no act of charity when you have taken off all you want, then turned the rest over to somebody else. No, no! Then angles never record an act like that.) You will never see it when you get to Heaven if you have an easy time. Oh, you can pin on a badge, usher people to their seats, pass the collection plate, be an elder or a deacon or a steward; you can go to church, sing in the choir, be a member of a Home or Foreign Missionary Society — the Devil will even let you attend Bible conferences — but the minute you begin to do personal work, to try to get somebody to take a stand for Christ, all the devils in Hell will be on your back, for they know that is a challenge to the Devil and to his forces. And I hope that the work of leading people to Christ by personal effort will always be hard. I have no sympathy for folks who are looking for something easy!
I preached out in Salida, Colorado, a few years ago. The city lies 8,5000 feet on one of the spurs of the Rocky Mountains. There was a woman there who sang in the choir. I used to drive them out when they went to speak to somebody about Jesus Christ. One day she came to me and said, “Mr. Sunday, will you speak to my husband about being a Christian?”
I said, “Have you spoken to him?”
She said, “No.”
I said, “No madam, I will not.”
She said, “Why?”
I said, “God wants you to go and you are trying to sidestep and get me to do it.”
I said, “You go speak to him and if you can’t win him for Christ, come and tell me, then I will go.”
“Well,” she said, “you would have a greater influence with him than I have.”
“How long have you been married?” I asked.”Five years.” I said, “I have been in this town three weeks and it is a compliment for you to say that to me. You have cooked for him and sewed on buttons for him for five years.”
Finally one night, she said, “Isn’t it hot?” I said to her, “You like to sing in the choir, don’t you?” She said, “I love to do that.” “You don’t like to do personal work?” I asked. “Then your idea of serving God is to pick out the things you would like to do, and the things that you don’t like to do you let somebody else do; then you let it go at that.” I said, “Then you will forget every blessing that ever came to you.”
One night I drove her off the platform; later I saw her coming down the aisle. Her husband sat on the front seat. She slipped her arm around his neck and whispered something in his ear. He nodded his head and down the aisle he came. He turned to her and said, “Bess, I’ve been waiting for weeks for you to ask me that.”
I was out in Colorado Springs not very long ago and she came up to Denver. I said, “How do you do, Mrs. C.” “How do you do?” I said, “Where’s Charlie?” “He went to heaven two years ago, but he prayed and lived consistently until the hour that God called him.”
Get out and do something! “He isn’t my boy.” That same spirit of letting people go to the Devil because they don’t eat at your table and because you are not married to them — there is too much of that today in the world.”He that winneth souls is wise.”
God Blesses Personal Effort
A mother in a home had a magnificent character. To my knowledge there had never been a stranger enter that home for years that she hadn’t talked to him about Jesus Christ. She was bemoaning the fact that she couldn’t do anything or wasn’t doing anything for the Lord, yet she was doing more practical Christian work, consistently every day, than the entire membership of that church of five hundred people. She was doing more!
So it the personal effort that God will honor and that God will bless. And listen! There are fifteen million young men in this country between the ages of sixteen and thirty five. Fourteen million of them are not members of any church, Catholic or Protestant. Seven million of them attend church regularly. Nine million of them never darken a church door from one year’s end to another.
After the Iroquois Theater fire in Chicago where six hundred people burned to death, a girl about seventeen years of age fought her way through the great torrents of blood and crushed and charred and baked flesh. Her hair was singed, her eyebrows were burned off, her face and hands were blistered, her clothing was hanging in charred rags. As she got on the street car to go home she was moaning and sighing. She would wring her hands and say “O, God! O, God!” A lady next to her said, “Well, you ought to be thankful that you got out alive.” She said, “I am, but I didn’t help anybody else out! It was all I could do to get out.” What she was moaning about was the fact that others had to die because she didn’t help them. Yet she was sitting by people who had not thought of others — letting them go to Hell.
Oh, he that winneth souls is wise! Is wise! You would feel different, perhaps, if it were some of your own, but remember, if it is not your flesh and blood it is somebody else’s.
Out in Pennsylvania they had a mine cave-in. The alarm was sounded and men came and volunteered. With pick and shovel they worked, trying to dig quickly to the men lest they die. Up tottered an old man seventy-five years old. He threw off his cap, coat and vest, spit on his hands, and picking up the pick, he picked and picked. Then he got the shovel and he shoveled until the sweat rolled down his cheeks. He stood tottering, about ready to fall. Some of the younger men said to him, “Grandpa, get away and let us young fellows do this.”
He said, “Great God, boys! I’ve got three sons down in there! I must do something!” And if it isn’t your boy, it is somebody else’s. If it isn’t your girl, it is somebody else’s.
That is the trouble with the world today. We don’t care a rap what becomes of others so long as we go through the world. Now you may soon go; you may die and they may die; and you may live and they may die, but no matter whether you go first or last, you have to meet at the judgment. That is settled! You have to do that.
A casket containing the body of a beautiful seventeen year old girl with the dew of youth on her brow, was being borne from the church to the graveyard. The girl’s friends stood around the grave. As they lowered the coffin, a Sunday school teacher who stood there shrieked and screamed and wrung her hands in grief. After the carriage was driven away and after things had been cleared up, the minister went to see this girl. He said, “I noticed your hysteric grief at the grave. Was she a Christian?” The Sunday school teacher said, “I noticed her growing careless with her companions and going into questionable places.” Then the girl said to the minister, “I was sure you’d speak to her, for you know more about those things.” He said, “No, I didn’t speak to her. I intended to but,” he said, “I didn’t. I was sure you would. She was a girl and you were a girl and you better understood one another. Let’s go and see her mother.”
The minister and the Sunday school teacher went and talked with the girl’s mother. She said, “Yes, I noticed it. I used to plead with her, but she would get mad at me, thinking I was interfering with her company. I hope you spoke to her.” Neither of them had, and she had gone to wait at the judgment bar, to witness against the three — her mother, the preacher, and the Sunday school teacher, for they said nothing. “He that winneth souls is wise!” He is wise!
So there must be a confession of sin. The sin of neglect –confess that; and the sin of unforgiveness, the sin of indifference. David said, “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Oh, you get the light of Jesus in your heart! Jesus Christ is able, my friend, to reveal Himself to the agnostic, materialist, like He did to Balaam until he knew Jesus Christ. Oh, He can flash the deity of Jesus Christ into the brain of the son of an orthodox Unitarian of New England, as He did the son of Edward Everett Hale. He is able to knock the scales from the credulous worshipers of Mary Baker Glover Eddy until you will find that matter is existent and not an illusion of the mortal mind.
[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]https://www.independentbaptist.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/220px-Billy_Sunday_1921.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]by Billy Sunday
Sermon preached by Billy Sunday[/author_info] [/author]