The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise (Proverbs 11.30). The Book of Proverbs is a great source of practical instruction about life and how to live it in the best possible way. A great suggestion for becoming more familiar with Proverbs is to read one chapter from this great book each day. Following this procedure, the book gets read each month. Proverbs 11.30 certainly ought to be a verse that slows us down as we read to spend some serious “pondering time.” To ponder is not as common as once it was, because of the rush-rush world in which we live.
I have an old volume of Teacher’s Annual Lesson Commentary in my personal library. I love these books, especially some of the older ones. This particular book was published in 1952 for the use of Bible Class teachers in 1953. One of the many texts dealt with in this edition of the series is Proverbs 11.30. Roy H. Lanier, Sr., was the editor of this volume. He makes application of this text to wise men winning souls away from destruction. He lists seven reasons why such an activity is to be labeled W-I-S-E.
- When we win a soul for Christ, we lessen the influence for evil in the world.
- When we win a soul for Christ we increase the total influence for good in the world.
- When we win a soul for Christ we have done that person the greatest favor it is possible to do.
- In that way we cause more joy in heaven than we can cause in any other way (Luke 15.7).
- In doing so, we save a soul from eternal death (James 5.20).
- We transform a life from sin and shame unto a life of righteousness and usefulness.
- In doing so, we are trying to win our own souls from destruction by not only hearing but doing what Jesus has taught us to do (Matthew 7.24-27).
May I just ask you to look over brother Lanier’s seven points once again? It is easy to skim through a list and not get the full benefit that is available with a careful consideration of that which is listed.
I want us to contemplate the immense value the work of winning souls happens to be. Can we not find within this listing of the value of evangelistic activity some point that will serve as a goad or prick to our own feeble efforts in that direction? Paul was told by our Lord that it was hard for him to kick against the pricks (Acts 9.5). The “prick” or “goad” was the same instrument used by Shamgar to kill 600 Philistines (Judges 3.31). The prick was a sharp piece of iron on a stick with which the ox is urged on in the right direction by its owner [Barnes’ Notes]. I have seen them used quite effectively in India and Indonesia. Let’s allow these shining truths to prick us in the right direction, also.
To be wise with the use of our God-given resources is something good and pleasant to the Lord. If we would take notice of the opportunities that come our way to reach out to the lost and to be an influence for that which is right and good, the rewards for the vision and actions should truly be large. For those of us at Maple Hill, let’s be sure to get those “business cards” out into the public!
Tools that are available to us today are truly amazing! The use of whatever means or method we have available to work toward winning lost souls just has to be the most special kind of wisdom!