The Reward of the Faithful # 1
I want to call your attention to the 4th chapter of John, 36th verse. "And he that reapeth receiveth wages and gathereth fruit unto life eternal." I want you to get the text into your hearts. We have a thousand texts to every sermon, but they slip over the hearts of men and women. If I can get this text into your hearts today, with the Spirit of God, these meetings will be the brightest and most glorious ever held in Chicago; for it is the Word of the Lord, and His Word is worth more than ten thousand sermons. "He that reapeth receiveth wages."
I can speak from experience - I have been in the Lord's service for twenty-one years, and I want to testify that He is a good paymaster - that He pays promptly. Oh, I think I see faces before me light up at these words. You have been out in the harvest fields of the Lord, and you know this to be true. To go out and labor for Him is a thing to be proud of - to guide a poor, weary soul to the way of life, and turn his face towards the golden gates of Zion. The Lord's wages are better than silver and gold, because he says that the loyal soul shall receive a crown of glory. If the Mayor of Chicago gave out a proclamation stating that he had work for the men, women, and children of the city, and he would give them a dollar a day, people would say this was very good of the Mayor. This money, however, would fade away in a short time. But here is a proclamation coming directly from the Throne of Grace to every man, woman, and child in the wide world to gather into God's vineyard, where they will find treasures that will never fade, and these treasures will be crowns of everlasting life; and the laborer will find treasures laid up in his Father's house, and when, after serving faithfully here, he will be greeted by friends assembled there. Work for tens of thousands of men, women, and children! Think of it, and the reward. These little children, my friends, are apt to be over looked; but they must be led to Christ - Children have done a great deal in the vineyard. They have led parents to Jesus. It was a little girl that led Naaman to Christ. Christ can find useful work for these little ones. He can see little things, and we ought to pay great attention to them. As I was coming along the street today I thought that if I could only impress upon you all that we have come here as to a vine yard, to reap and to gather, we shall have a glorious harvest, and we want every class to assist us. The first class we want is the Ministers. There was one thing that pleased me this morning, and that was the eight thousand people who came to this building, and the large number of Ministers who seized me by the hand, with the tears trickling down their cheeks, and who gave me a "God bless you!" It gave me a light heart. There are some Ministers who get behind the posts, as if they were ashamed of being seen in our company and of our meetings. They come to criticize the sermon and pick it to pieces. No effort is required to do this. We don't want the Ministers to criticize but to help us, and tell us when we are wrong. There was one Minister in this city who did me a great deal of good when I first started out. When I commenced to teach the Word of God I made very many blunders. I have learned that in acquiring anything a man must make many blunders. If a man is going to learn any kind of trade - carpenter's, plumber's, painter's - he will make any amount of mistakes. Well, this Minister, an old man, used to take me aside and tell me my errors. So we want the Ministers to come to us and tell us of our blunders, and if we get them to do this with us, a spiritual fountain will break over every Church in the city. Many Ministers have said to me, "What do you want us to do?" The Lord must teach us what our work shall be. Let every child of God come up to these meetings, and say, "Teach me, O God, what I can do to help these men and women who are inquiring the way to be saved," and at the close of the meetings draw near to them and point out the way. If men and women are to be converted in great meetings, it is by personal dealings with them. What we want is personal contact with them. If a number of people were sick, and a doctor prescribed one kind of medicine for them all, you would think this was wrong. This audience is spiritually diseased, and what we want is that Christian workers will go to them and find out their trouble. Five minutes private consultation will teach them. What we want is to get at the people. Every one has his own particular burden; every family has a different story to tell. Take the gospel of the Lord to them and show its application; tell them what to do with it, so as to answer their own cases; let the Minister come into the inquiry room.
An old man - a Minister of Glasgow, Scotland was one of the more active in our meetings. When he would be preaching elsewhere he would drive up in a cab with his Bible in his hand. It made no difference what part of Glasgow he was preaching in, he managed to attend nearly every one of our services. The old man would come in and tenderly speak to those assembled, and let one soul after another see the light. His congregation was comparatively small when we got there, but, by his painstaking efforts to Minister to those in search of the Word, when we left Glasgow his Church could not hold the people who sought admission, and I do not know of any man who helped us like Dr. Andrew Bonner. He was always ready to give the weak counsel and point the way out to the soul seeking Christ. If we have not Ministers enough, let those we have come forward,and their elders and Deacons will follow them.
The next class we went to help us to reach the people is the Sunday school teachers, and I value their experience next to that of the Ministers. In the cities were we have been, teachers have come to me and said, "Mr. Moody, pray for my Sunday school scholars," and I just took them aside and pointed out their duties and showed how they themselves ought to be able to pray for their pupils. Next meeting very often they would come, and the prayer would go up from them, "God bless my scholars."
In one city we went to, a Sunday school superintendent came to his Minister and said, "I am not fit to gather sinners to life eternal; I cannot be superintendent any longer." The Minister asked, "What is the reason?" and the man said, "I am not right with God." Then the Minister advised him that the best thing, instead of resigning, was to get right with God. So he prayed with that teacher that the truth would shine upon him; and God lit up his soul with the Word. Before I left that town, the Minister told me all doubt had fled from that superintendent's mind, and he had gone earnestly to work and gathered,from the time of his conversion, over six hundred scholars into the school of his Church. "God can bless, of course, in spite of schools and teachers; but they are the channels of salvation. Bring your classes together, and pray to God to convert them. We have from three thousand to five thousand teachers here. Suppose they said: "I will try to bring my children to Christ," what a reformation we should have! Don't say that that boy is too small, or that girl is too puny or insignificant. Every one is valuable to the Lord. A teacher, whom I found at our services when she ought to have been attending to her class, upon my asking why she was at our meeting, said: "Well, I have a very small class - only five little boys." "What," said I, "you have come here and neglected these little ones! Why, in that little tow head may be the seeds of a reformation. There may be a Luther, a Wheaton, a Wesley, or a Bunyan among them. You may be neglecting a change for them, the effects of which will follow them through life." If you do not look to those things, teachers, some one will step into your vineyard and gather the riches you would have.
Look what that teacher did in Southern Illinois. She had taught a little girl to love the Saviour, and the teacher said to her: "Can't you get your father to come to the Sunday school?" This father was a swearing, drinking man, and the love of God was not in his heart. But under the tuition of that teacher, the little girl went to her father, and told him of Jesus' love, and led him to that Sunday school. What was the result? I heard before leaving for Europe, that he had been instrumental in founding over seven hundred and eighty Sabbath schools in Southern Illinois. And what a privilege a teacher has - a privilege of leading souls to Christ. Let every Sabbath school teacher say: "By the help of God I will try to lead my scholars to Christ."
It seems to me that we have more help in our revivals from young men, except from mothers, than from any other class. The young men are pushing, energetic workers. Old men are good for counsel, and they should help, by their good words, the young men in making Christianity aggressive. These billiard halls have been open long enough. There is many a gem in those places, that only needs the way pointed out to fill their souls with love of Him. Let the young men go plead with them, bring them to the Tabernacle, and don't let them go out without presenting the claims of Christ, and show them His never dying love. Take them by the hand and say: "I want you to become a Christian." What we want is a hand-to-hand conflict with the billiard saloons and drinking halls. Do not fear, but enter them and ask the young men to come. I know that some of you say, in a scornful way: "We will never be allowed to enter; the people who go there will cast us out." This is a mistake. I know that I have gone to them and remonstrated, and have never been unkindly treated. And some of the best workers have been men who have been proprietors of these places, and men who have been constant frequenters. There are young men there breaking their mothers' hearts, and losing themselves for all eternity. The Spirit of the Lord Jesus Christ asks you to seek them out. If we cannot get them to come here, let the building be thrown aside, and let us go back and hunt them up, and tell them of Christ and Heaven. If we get someone to preach to, let us preach, even if it be to one person. Christ preached one of His most wonderful sermons to the woman at the well; and shall we not be willing to go to one, as He did, and tell that one of salvation? And let us preach to men, even if they are under the influence of liquor.
~D. L. Moody~
(continued with # 2)