The First “Prospect” – Yourself!
If my people…shall humble themselves…
II Chronicles 7:14
If any man will come after me, let him deny himself.
Matthew 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23
The churches of Macedonia…first gave their own selves to the Lord.
II Corinthians 8:1, 5
Dr. Torrey’s first rule for revival was, “Let a few members of any church get thoroughly right with God themselves.” Then they might go after others, but not until then. In their zeal for new members too many churches urge old members into visiting and canvassing “prospects,” when first they need to get right with God themselves. We have no business going out to win others until we have faced our own condition first. Such activity may keep us from first giving ourselves to God. We may become occupied with others and thus dodge our own need. When Christians are right with God they will win others. Our revivals are stressing an “ingathering” of others, when God wants us to humble ourselves, deny ourselves, give ourselves. A drive for “prospects” before we do that is no revival at all.
Let not him that girdeth on his harness boast himself as he that putteth it off.
I Kings 20:11
Nowadays, when most churches want young pastors and so much of our religious world is geared to youth, there is still something to be said for the voice of age and experience. It bespeaks a dangerous modern mood that mature and seasoned men find young Rehoboam disposed to scorn their counsel for the rash advice of youngsters.
We have always needed old people to keep things from going too fast and young people to keep them from going too slow. Youth has fire and age has light and we need both. “If only youth knew how and old age could!”
Some things come only with the passing of years, and the fruit of wisdom cannot be produced by any hurried process. Some things we must wait for. A mellowed Christian character cannot be grown hurriedly by any quick, overnight method. Paul at the end of his course and the finish of his fight has an advantage over Timothy. The old soldier laying down his armor still has an earned veteran’s right over the most promising recruit.