He has given to us three things, at least, to use in carrying out His plan. He has given us, first, the life — what we are. The greatest thing any man has is his life. And, even though you stay here, your life is the greatest thing you have in reaching both the world you touch directly, and the whole world you cannot touch directly. First, the life; what we are, simply, in a pure, clean, sweet, unselfish Christ-controlled life.
He has given us a second thing — gold, what we possess, the power to earn. It is a marvelous trust. Gold has a strange power of transmutation. By the golden finger a man can reach around the whole world. It is a strange power; and I think the Church of Christ has never begun to realize the power there is in gold. It is almost omnipotent today. When you get beyond the line of this life, it is utterly worthless — simply to be cast out like the saltless salt, and no more. But now it is almost omnipotent.
He has given us a third thing, and that is prayer, which I want to define anew in this way, — the power to take, in the Lord Jesus' Name, what He has won.
And the Master is counting on us to use the life, and the gold committed to our trust, and the power of prayer, to go out and take! to the very end of the earth. I remember my heart catching fire, one time, as a friend told me a very simple tale of one of our southern American cities. It was during a time before our civil war, when the sanitary conditions in the south were very poor. A plague came to a city, a plague of disease, and wrought great havoc. The city's death-cart was rolling in the streets almost all the time; and hardly a home but had the tear, and the sorrow, and the vacant room and the empty chair. Into one very poor home the disease came and did very rapid work. They were all carried out, one after another, until there remained a mother — the mother and her baby boy, of five years, it may be, or so.
The story says that he crept up on his mother's knee, with his baby face very close to hers, and he said, "Mother, father's dead, and brothers and sister are dead. Suppose you die! What will I do?" What could she say, with the face so close to hers? She must keep brave. Her heart had thought of it. What could she say? She was a Christian woman, and as she swallowed hard, she said, as quietly as she could, "My boy, if I should die, the Lord Jesus will come for you." And that was quite satisfactory to him. He had been trained from the earliest months, to know about this Saviour, how good He was. The boy went about his playing on the floor, thinking, "It is all fixed. If mother should die, Jesus will come, and that will be all right."
And his question proved all too prophetic. The disease did quick work; they were carrying her away; he followed and saw where she was laid. He came back to the house, and in the excitement of the time he was forgotten, and was left alone in the poor humble home. He tried to sleep that night, but couldn't, so rose and dressed himself as best he could. He found his way down the street and out upon the road to where they had laid her. Finding the spot, he threw himself down upon the freshly thrown-up earth, and wept until nature kindly stole away his consciousness in sleep.
Early the next morning, just at the break of day, a Christian gentleman was coming down the road from some errand of mercy that had kept him out all the night. As he came along the road, past the graveyard, he saw the boy and quickly guessed the heart-breaking story. He called him and said, "My boy, what are you doing here?" The boy raised himself, rubbed his eyes, and said,
"Well, father is dead, and brothers and sister dead, and now mother's dead!
and she said that if she did die, Jesus would come for me. And He hasn't come, and I'm tired waiting." And the man swallowed hard; and then said very quietly, as he tried to control his voice, "Well, my boy, I've come for you." And the boy looked up with his baby eyes big, and said, "You've been a long time coming!"