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Years Lost

"Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 15:58).

A Christian man was passing out Gospel tracts. Among those who received one was a gentleman who remarked as he received it that he feared such efforts did little permanent good. "I am not opposed to such work," he said. "In my younger days I did a good deal of it myself, but I cannot say that I ever saw any fruit from it."

The tract distributor was somewhat discouraged by that remark, but he instantly remembered how his own conversion was brought about by means of a tract. One night, years before, as he passed the door of a mission hall a young man handed him a tract and asked him to go inside and hear the Gospel. He did go in, and heard words there that awakened him to think of eternity and his state before God. He went home in deep trouble of soul. In his anxiety he turned to the tract he had received, read it, and was saved.

The tract distributor told this story to the gentleman, who listened with evident interest. When it was finished, he said, "May I ask where this most interesting event took place?" The man named the city, the street, the hall, and the very night on which he got the tract and was invited inside. The gentleman's eyes filled with tears; he grasped the young man's hand, and said with great emotion: "It was my work for many a night, when I was a young man, newly converted, to stand at that door giving tracts and inviting passers-by to hear the Gospel. But I lost heart soon after that and gave it up, thinking that such work was almost useless. Now after twenty years, God has let me know it was not in vain, and by His grace I will return to the service He gave me long ago, confessing my faithlessness in leaving it."

This remarkable story is a testament to God's saving grace and restoring mercy. But think of the twenty intervening years of service which were lost. How many more golden sheaves might have appeared to that Christian worker's account in the day of Christ had he continued in the work that the Lord gave him to do!