Evening, December 7, edited from Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening
“I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some.” — 1 Corinthians 9:22
Paul’s great objective was not merely to instruct and to improve, but to save. Anything short of this would have disappointed him; he would have men renewed in heart, forgiven, sanctified, in fact, saved. Have our Christian labors been aimed at anything below this great goal? Then let us amend our ways, for of what avail will it be at the last great day to have taught and moralized men if they appear before God unsaved? Blood will be on our hands be if through life we have sought inferior objectives, and forgotten that men needed to be saved. Paul knew the ruin of man’s natural state, and did not try to educate him, but to save him; he saw men sinking to hell, and did not talk of refining them, but of saving from the wrath to come. To accomplish their salvation, he gave himself up with untiring zeal to tell the gospel abroad, to warn and implore men to be reconciled to God. His prayers were persistent and his labor incessant. To save souls was his consuming passion, his ambition, his calling. He became a servant to all men, laboring for his race, feeling a grief within him if he did not preach the gospel. He laid aside his preferences to prevent prejudice; he submitted his will in things passable, and if men would just receive the gospel, he raised no questions about forms or ceremonies: the gospel was the one all-important business with him. If he might save some he would be content. This was the crown for which he strove, the sole and sufficient reward of all his labors and self-denial. Dear reader, have you and I lived to win souls at this honorable rate? Are we possessed with the same all-absorbing desire? If not, why not? Jesus died for sinners, cannot we live for them? Where is our tenderness? Where our love to Christ, if we do not seek his honor in the salvation of men? O that the Lord would saturate us through and through with an undying zeal for the souls of men.