To find the secret of soul winning should be the paramount business of every worker in the cause of God. We have been called to preach the Word, and it is through the foolishness of preaching that souls are won for Christ. But back of every sermon there must be more than logic or mere words. There must be a real love for those who are lost.
Love--what a wonderful word! It is the one word in the vocabulary of every language that can be understood. Love is the basis of God's government. Love is the fulfillment of the law. The religion of love will never be misunderstood. It was the love of God that prompted Him to give His only begotten Son to ransom a lost world. It was the love of Christ that caused Him to give Himself that poor sinners might be saved eternally. It was the love for God's people that caused Moses to say, "Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written." It was the love for his own people that gave utterance to the words of Paul, "For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh." It was Esther's love for her own people, who were facing death, that caused her to say, "If I perish, I perish."
Not only is this love found in the lives of Bible characters, but history reveals that those who had a love for lost souls were the ones who were most instrumental in winning them for God's kingdom. Knox said, "Give me Scotland, or I die." Whitefield said, "Give me souls, or take my soul."
Some years ago when Dr. Backus, then president of Hamilton College, lay dying, the medical doctor whispered to Mrs. Backus saying, "Dr. Backus is dying."
The old man heard, and looked, up with a smile on his face, and said, "Did I understand you to say that I am dying?"
Sadly the doctor said, "Yes, I'm sorry, but you have no more than a half hour to live."
Dr. Backus smiled again. "Then it will soon be over," he said. "Take me out of bed and put me on my knees. I want to die praying for the students of Hamilton College." They lifted him out of bed, and he knelt down and covered his face and prayed, "0 God, save the students of Hamilton College."
For a time he continued to pray, then the doctor said, "He is getting weaker." They lifted him back upon the bed, and his face was whiter than the pillow. Still his lips moved, "O God, save——" and then he died. When this experience was related to the students, they gave their hearts to God. They may not have had the light that we have, but they surrendered to Him as fully as they knew how, because of the love their president had for them.
The world in which we are living today is doomed. Soon probation will close, and the seven last plagues will be poured out upon those who have not accepted Christ as their personal Saviour. How can we see souls all about us perishing and not have a passion for them?
When a fellow worker is on the verge of death we earnestly plead with God for healing. That worker is prepared, and if the Lord sees fit to lay him to rest, we know that all will be well with his soul. But here are thousands of souls who are dead in sin, who will be lost unless we do something about it. How will our garments ever be clean unless we know we have done all we can to save them? We are told that Christ came to reveal the love of God. He was the love of God in human flesh. His life was all love. Men could see it in His face, feel it in His touch, and hear it in His voice. In the Spirit of prophecy, we are told: "The spirit of love, meekness, and forbearance, pervading our life, will have power to soften and subdue hard hearts, and win to Christ bitter opposers of the faith." — Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 174. The love that He manifested must be revealed in the life of every worker for God.
All the equipment that we can gather is good, and all the arguments that we can pre sent are essential, but back of all this there must be that something which is called love. Without it we are nothing but "sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal." The world is cold. It must be warmed. How true are the words we often hear: “Do you know the world is dying for a little bit of love?" Too many Christians are like iceboxes. When in their presence one feels as if he has been in cold storage. We ought to be manifesting that kind of warmth and love that will melt the hearts of those who do not know the Lord. "Those who have really tasted the sweets of redeeming love, will not, cannot rest, until all with whom they associate are made acquainted with the plan of salvation." — Volume i, p. 511.
When we think of this and other statements, we must confess that we have been so weak in our ministry that we have not won as many souls as we should have, owing to the fact that we have not always revealed the love of Christ that has been shed in our hearts. Is it not therefore time, dear fellow workers, to get on our knees and cry out, "O God, give me that love for l6st souls that will compel me to say, 'Give me souls, or take my soul!' "