The Chocolate Soldier (8)
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:
But here are other foot-tracks—outrageous ones: they can belong only to one man—that grandest of Christian paradoxes—the little giant Paul—whose head was as big as his body, and his heart greater than both.
Once he thought and treated every Christian as a combination of knave and fool. Then he became one himself. He was called "fool" because his acts were so far beyond the dictates of human reason, and "mad" because of his irresponsible fiery zeal for Christ and men.
A first-class scholar, but one who knew how to use scholarship properly; for he put it on the shelf, declaring the wisdom of men to be but folly, and determined to know nothing else save Jesus Christ and Him crucified. The result—he made the world turn somersault.
His life was a perpetual gamble for God. Daily he faced death for Christ. Again and again he stood fearless before crowds thirsting for his blood. He stood before kings and governors and "turned not a hair". He didn't so much as flinch before Nero, that vice-president of hell. His sufferings were appalling; read them.
He trod in his Master's footsteps, and so received—God is always just in His favors—the same splendid compliment that Jesus did. "All forsook him." So there were some Chocolate Christians in those days too.
Anyone who forsook Paul must have been made of Chocolate. Doubtless the "Chocolates" excused themselves as they do today. "Who could abide such a fanatical, fiery fool? Such an uncompromising character? Nobody could work with him, or he with them!" (What a lie! Jesus did, and they got on well together.)
A tactless enthusiast, who considered it his business to tell every man the unvarnished truth regardless of consequences. He won his degree hands down, and without a touch of the spur. A first-class one, too—that of the headman's axe—next best to that of the cross.
And so the tale goes on. Go where you will through the Scriptures or history, you find that men who really knew God, and didn't merely say they did, were invariably Paragons of Pluck; Dare-Devil Desperadoes for Jesus; Gamblers for God. "Fools and Madmen," shout the world and the Chocolates. "Yes, for Christ's sake," add the Angels!
Nobly they fought to win the prize,
Climbing the steep ascents of heaven,
Thro' peril, toil, and pain.
O God, to us let grace be given,
To follow in their train.
Article series: The Chocolate SoldierThe Chocolate Soldier (7)