I read this encouraging story today from a sermon by W. A. Criswell called “The Armor of God”:
Oklahoma, as you know, was Indian territory, and our denomination, our Baptist people sent missionaries to Oklahoma. And two of these missionaries were laboring in the western part of the state, and they were living in tents and they were sleeping out on the prairies. And in the hot summertime, the sun blistered them, and in the cold wintertime, the snows covered them, and it was hard and it was difficult, away from family and away from home. It was hard.
And those two men, those missionaries, one of them, said to the other, “I’ve had enough, I’ve had enough. I’m going to quit. I’m going back to my home and back to my family. I can’t take it, I can’t stand it. It’s too hard. It’s too difficult. I cannot bear this burden any longer. I’m going to leave, and I’m going back. I’m quitting.” Well, that night, they slept out on the prairie, and the next day, this weary, burdened, broken missionary, got everything packed up on his pony and was getting ready to go back east and to quit. And the missionary friend who was being left behind alone and for God said to him, said, “Jim, if you don’t mind, before you go, would you sit down here by my side?”
And so he sat down by his side, and this missionary who was staying could play a stringed instrument, could play a stringed instrument, and he said to his friend, he said, “Jim, before you go, would you sing just one song, just sing one song with me?” And Jim said, “Why, sure, I’ll sing one song with you before I go.” All right. So he played his stringed instrument, and this is the song that they sang, “Must Jesus Bear the Cross Alone, all the world go free, all the world go free, no, there’s a cross for everyone, and there’s a cross for me.
“Upon the crystal pavement down at Jesus’ blessed feet, joyful I’ll cast my glorious crown and his, their name repeat. Oh, precious cross, oh, glorious crown, oh, resurrection day, the angels from the stars come down and bear my soul away.” I love that song. And while they were singing it, Jim began to cry, and when they came to the end of the last stanza, he turned and put his head in the hand of his friend and said, “I can’t. I can’t go. I’m staying, I’m staying,” and he unpacked his pony, and they labored and they worked and they gave themselves to God and all over Oklahoma.
And I was in one of those little churches all over Oklahoma. They founded those little Baptist churches. That’s where I went to Sunday School. That’s where I first heard the gospel preached.
Read more at bcwe.org.