Binding Broken Hearts

Introducing Jesus to Those Who Need Him Most

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The Value of One - Part 1

It started with a bitter snow storm in January 1850, a storm that pretty much shut down the town of Colchester in southeast England. A 15-year-old young man was on a journey and felt he could go no farther without some respite. So he looked for a building to enter, if only for a short time.

The building he “happened” to walk into was Colchester’s Primitive Methodist’s chapel. There were very few people there that morning. In fact the preacher had been snowed in and wasn’t there. A local layperson – perhaps a tailor or a shoemaker – saw the need and went to the pulpit to speak. He didn’t have any sermon notes, so he spoke from his heart on the text of the day.

Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. Isaiah 45:22

After about 10 minutes, the preaching layperson had said about all he had to say on this verse. And most people would think that he should have probably sat down at that point so that they could all go home to warmth of their hearths. But the preaching layperson did not sit down. Instead he turned his full attention to the young man in the back of the church just trying to get warm.

The preaching lay person looked straight at the young man and said, “Young man, you look very miserable!” There may have been a gasp or two amongst the church members that the preaching layperson should be so bold in the pulpit regarding a visitor. The young man himself was quite astonished at being called out from the front.  The preaching lay person continued: "and you always will be miserable—miserable in life, and miserable in death—if you don't obey my text; but if you obey now, this moment, you will be saved. Young man, look to Jesus Christ. Look! Look! Look! You have nothin' to do but to look and live."

Regardless of what we think of the preaching lay person calling out to the young man in the middle of church or even what the other church members thought that day, those were the very words that that young man needed to hear that snowy January morning.

For at that moment, the young man did look at Jesus Christ. He looked and saw the Saviour on the cross and the blood spilled for him. He looked, gave his heart to Jesus at that moment, and lived.

Who was this young man? Charles Spurgeon.

I have thought a lot about Charles Spurgeon’s conversion story. There is so much in this story for us to learn. For instance, what would have happened that snowy morning if the faithful few had not trudged through the snowstorm and opened the church to worship? Spurgeon would not have been able to seek sanctuary from the storm.

Or what if the preaching lay person had not gotten up to fill in for the snowed in pastor? He was not a polished speaker. You may even say that public speaking was not his gift. But I believe that unknown layperson was led by the Holy Spirit, and he obeyed. And, speaking of obeying, what if the preaching lay person had sat down after he had said all he could think of to say about Isaiah 45:22. What if he had not obeyed the prompting of the Holy Spirit and spoken bold, straightforward words to the visitor in the back of the church? Spurgeon would not have had the spiritual encounter he needed to open his eyes and heart.

Lastly, what if the preaching lay person had wavered, looking at the bedraggled 15-year-old huddled in the back of the church, and asked himself what was the point in worrying about one young person when he himself needed to go home and eat and get warm? That one young person was used by God to reach hundreds of thousands of people for the Kingdom – and we are still greatly impacted by Spurgeon’s words today.

What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!” I say to you that likewise there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance. Luke 15:4-7

Remember, God values the “one.” And we never know what big things that person in front of us will do for God’s kingdom. God may ask us to do something that we feel is not our gift. We need to do it anyway. God may ask us to speak boldly for Him to someone and we may feel uncomfortable with the boldness. We need to do it anyway. God may ask us to inconvenience ourselves for one person, and we may feel that the inconvenience is not worth it. We need to do it anyway. We never know how many people will be won for the Kingdom because of our obedience.


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