Stirring Words (Part One)

Post date: May 8, 2013 1:39:21 AM

Yesterday marked the anniversary of the birth of George W. Truett, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, Texas from 1897 to 1944. Along with a faithful pastoral ministry, Truett also saved Baylor University from financial ruin, served as president of the Baptist World Alliance, and trumpeted religious liberty. In honor of his birthdate I set down with a collection of his sermons. I know that sounds strange - but bear with me. I first picked up A Quest for Souls, a published volume (1917) of twenty four sermons that Truett delivered during a "gospel meeting" held in Fort Worth, Texas. The first sermon stunned me. I was moved by the following story from the lips of Truett. It required me rereading the story out loud to my wife. Yes, love truly does bear all things. I picture him delivering the sermon in his trademark black suit, black tie, and white shirt.Years ago, when I was preaching for several days in a Southern city, I preached one morning on the text: “But without faith, it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” At the close of the service, an elderly woman – I should say she was three score and ten years of age – rose up and said: “Preacher, do you believe what you have preached today?” and I replied: “Indeed, I do, for I have proclaimed God’s Word, which Word I surely believe.”

“Very well,” she said, “I am so glad that you believe it. I am looking for someone who believes it. You quoted in your sermon just now, that glorious promise from Jesus: ‘If two of you shall agree on earth, as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father who is in heaven’ – do you believe that promise, and will you plead it with me?”

Before I answered, she spoke again: “It is like this: My husband is, and has long been, a captain on the boat that sails the river. He never goes to church, and is exceedingly wicked, and now he is growing old. If you will join me in pleading that promise about two agreeing, we will claim him for God and salvation and heaven – will you join me?”

And there I stood, thinking, wondering, searching my heart. Did I really believe that promise? Was I willing to plead it then and there, in the case just named? And while I stood thus thinking and hesitating, a plainly dress man, a blacksmith, rose up and said: “Auntie, I will join you in pleading that promise.” And there, before us all, he walked over to her and humbly said: “Let us plead it now.” They knelt in prayer, and he began to pray. It was as simple as a little child talking to his mother.

I'll allow Truett to conclude the story in a future post. It's worth the wait.

Go and be a blessing,

Pastor Jeff Gravens