The Chocolate Soldier (12)
The following text was written by Charles Studd (1860 - 1931), a british missionary who served the Lord in China, India and Africa. The thoughts are to be enjoyed with a certain caution and with some humor. Nevertheless, God can use them to touch our hearts:
Chocolates are very fond of talking loud and long against some whom they call fanatics, as though there were any danger of Christians being fanatics nowadays! Why, fanatics among Christians are as rare as the "dodo". Now, if they declaimed against "tepidity", they would talk sense.
God's real people have always been called fanatics. Jesus was called mad; so was Paul; so was Whitfield, Wesley, Moody, Spurgeon. No one has graduated far in God's School who has not been paid the compliment of being called a fanatic. We Christians of today are indeed a tepid crew. Had we but half the fire and enthusiasm of the Suffragettes in the past, we would have the world evangelized and Christ back among us in no time.
Had we the pluck and heroism of the Flyers, or the men who volunteered for the North or South Polar Expeditions, or for the Great War, or for any ordinary dare-devil enterprise, we could have every soul on earth knowing the name and salvation of Jesus Christ in less than ten years.
Alas! What stirs ordinary men's blood and turns them into heroes, makes most Christians run like a flock of frightened sheep. The Militants daily risked their lives in furtherance of their cause, and subscribed of their means in a way that cried "Shame" on us Christians, who generally brand the braving of risks and fighting against odds as a "tempting of God".
CHOCOLATE CARAMELS—"stick-jaw", boys call them—jawing, "I go, sir," and sticking fast in Christendom. No conquest is made in assured safety, and conquest for Christ certainly cannot so be made.
We Christians too often substitude prayer for playing the game. Prayer is good: but when used as a substitute for obedience, it is naught but a blatant hypocrisy, a despicable Pharisaism. We need as many meetings for action as for prayer—perhaps more. Every orthodox prayer-meeting is opened by God saying to His people, "Go work today; pray that labourers be sent into My vineyard." It is continued by the Christian's response, "I go, Lord, whithersoever Thou sendest me, that Thy Name may be hallowed everywhere, that Thy Kingdom may come speedily, that Thy Will may be done on earth as in heaven."
But if it ends in nobody going anywhere, it had better never have been held at all. Like faith, prayer without works is dead. That is why many prayer-meetings might well be styled "much cry, yet little wool". Zerubbabel didn't only hold prayer-meetings; he went and cut down trees, and started to build. Hence God said, "From this day will I bless thee."
Report says that someone has re-discovered the secret of the old masters. Cannot we Christians re-discover, and put into practice, that of our Great Master and His former pupils, Heroism? He and they saved not themselves; they loved not their lives to the death, and so kept on saving them by losing them for Christ's sake.
We are frittering away time and money in a multiplicity of conventions, conferences, and retreats, when the real need is to go straight and full steam into battle, with the signal for "close action" flying.
The "Vox Humana" plays too important a part in our Christian organs and organizations today. The music, whoever plays, is bound to be thin when the tops of "Instant Obedience" and "Fiery Valor" are missing or unused, and without them to play the "Lost Chord" of Heroism is an impossibility.
"Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it," said the Blessed Virgin. Do what? Not put treacle and spice into the soft holy vessels inside the house, but pour the Water of Life into those empty stone ones outside. Cana's marriage feast would have ended in shame had the wine run short. Christ's marriage feast begins only when the wine is sufficient—a blend from every tongue and kindred and tribe and nation. The supply is assured, as soon as the water is poured out as Christ directed, into "the uttermost parts of the earth". The mischief today is the reluctance of the servants to do the outsidework. They all want to serve indoors, wear smart clothes, listen to the conversation, and make a terrible lot of themselves in the butler's pantry.