By Gipsy Smith
John 10:13-14 -- "I am the Good Shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. [The hireling] fleeth because he is a hireling, and careth not for the sheep."
Jesus spoke of the hirelings because He knew their possibility, just as He knew the possibility of the goats, and of the wolves in sheep's clothing, just as He knew that the sham and fraud would creep in with a crowd of sheep. So He knew that the fraud and sham would creep in with the faithful shepherd, just as He knew that one of His own chosen twelve would betray Him. He knew that through all the history of the world and of the Church.
Ask yourself this question: Am I one of the sheep? Do I know His voice? Is there the intimacy, the glorious intimacy of blessed fellowship, between my heart and that of my Shepherd? Is there no shadow, no doubt, no uncertainty?
Is my soul on the alert? Do I hear the call of the Shepherd? When I go forth, does He lead me in the green pastures and beside the still waters? Is my soul restored?
"My sheep hear My voice and they follow Me," but they do not know the voice of the stranger, and they will not follow the voice of the stranger. They will not be deceived. They know Me, and I know My people.
Don't be deceived when the wolf comes around in sheep's clothing. If there were no sheep, he wouldn't do that. He does it because there are sheep. Don't be surprised if you get a rude shock by a hireling. He will be there.
It is a great thing to be an under-shepherd. The greatest honor Heaven can bestow is to make you a partner with God -- a helper in the winning of souls.
I have a notion that the saving of one soul is such a stupendous thing that God cannot trust it to one person. It takes a great many to do it. If you were to talk to a man who had been saved and ask him, "What made you become a Christian? What led you into righteousness?" there would be a vast number of things that bore on the change in his life.
It would not be one man, one woman, but a hundred forces, a hundred influences that God brought to bear on his soul.
I want to say to every one who would serve in saving a soul, when God sends out His laurels, He will know your name, He will know where you live -- he won't forget your address. You will get your reward. A man that brings a soul to God is going to shine as the stars forever and ever.
I once knew a saintly man in England -- an old man who had been a member of Parliament for years. I saw him just before he died, and he said to me, "Gipsy Smith, do you know, if I could live my life over again, I would work directly for the spiritual good instead of the temporal good of people."'
I told him that he couldn't give a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple and lose his reward. I told him also that in clothing the naked and visiting the sick and feeding the hungry, Jesus said, "Ye do it unto me." I told him that if he shook hands with a man in a "God bless you" spirit, he was uplifting some one. You can't dry the tear of a little child without helping the angels to kiss a tear into a jewel, without changing a sigh into a song.
You can't tear up an old dress and make a dress for a motherless babe without putting on Him a seamless robe. You cannot share a crust with some one who is hungry without doing good. "I was hungry and you fed me." You cannot pray at the bedside of some one who is sick without doing good. "I was sick and ye visited me." That is what I told the old man. And he replied, "I know that is all true. In serving the temporal needs, I have done good so far, and I believe that those who work for the temporal good of the world will be allowed to serve God in His temple, but those who turn many to righteousness will shine as the stars forever and ever, and I would rather be a shiner than a server"; and the old man was right.
Every soul saved in this campaign is the result of somebody's -- some thinking man's or woman's -- praying in this city; the fruits of the work of many perhaps who have gone to Heaven and never saw the result of their labors. Forget not in these days to make your appeals to the unsaved, powerful and personal. ]Every soul won for Jesus is the work of the Holy Spirit through God's people here on earth.
And do not look at the unfaithful ministers when you are seeking the faithful. Do not emphasize the wolf when you ought to emphasize the sheep. God has sheep and shepherds who are faithful. Their faithfulness will be fruitful.
Don't see only your side of the question. Take the beam out of your own eye before you try to remove the mote from the eye of your brother. Be honest with yourself in these days. Have you any of the wolf about you? Some of you look like wolves when you show your teeth. Just let Jesus make you what he wants to make you during these days.
"My sheep hear my voice and follow me" -- are you doing that? Are you following Jesus? "I am come that they might have life and have it more abundantly." Oh, the exceeding abundance, the overflowing, the boundless, the limitless, the resourceful, the infinite abundance!
I pray you may be faithful, I pray you may be loyal. Follow where He leads. Give unto God glory and listen to Him. He may speak in unexpected ways; He may speak in unlikely places. Listen for His voice -- and obey.
You know, very often, sheep are helped to their proper path, not by the shepherd at all, but by aid from an unexpected source.
Some years ago, I took my summer holidays on a farm. You farmers know that when a sheep gets flat on his back he cannot get up again without aid. If he is not helped up, he will die. I have often gone around the farm and helped sheep to their feet, which I found helpless in this condition.
If a man gets on his back, will he not die, if he is not helped up? You say yes. Well, it is your business and mine to help him up. Shepherds do that. But the hireling? The hireling goes away and leaves him. The hireling does not care for the sheep. He is a hireling.
That is not the spirit of Jesus. The shepherd cares for his sheep, he saves the sheep. The Good Shepherd guards the sheep tenderly and faithfully; he leaves the ninety-nine which are safe and goes out into the storm to seek and save the one that is lost.
My brethren, there are lots of people out of the Church, who would have been in, if you had looked after them, if you had spoken a good word and extended to them your friendship. You know people who are lost to the Church for the want of looking after. Is that true? Well, why don't you look after them?
I am a man, a very hungry man. I want, oh, so much, to be loved. I could not exist if some one did not love me. For fifteen years out of twenty I have been separated from my family. But it was in answer to the call of God. I have been absent in trying to follow the path where the Shepherd has led. I would give the world for the touch of a hand, for the sound of a voice which I cannot hear. God has made us so. People outside the Church would be inside if you f people had loved them.
Jesus loved people, and you and I are here to represent Him, and we shall save those, as we love them.
If you believe these things, let God's love flow. If God puts new life in your soul, let that life flow out. There are many people all around you with broken hearts. Let them feel your love.
In my own country there is a great sadness. One million of our boys were laid under the sod. There were two million more of casualties. Our hospitals are yet filled with the wounded and the helpless.
I was riding in on a train from a visit to the country. A gentleman got in the train at the same platform I did. Two or three stations further on, a lady got in whom I soon discovered was his wife. There was inexpressible grief written on their faces when they met. Their boy, I learned, was in a hospital suffering from wounds received in the war. He was horribly cut up, torn to pieces, mangled.
She sat there with her poor mother-heart bleeding. Presently she couldn't stand the suspense any longer.
"Father, is there any news?" she said. He answered one word, "Yes," and then another, "Gone."
He took the telegram from his pocket and passed it to her. "Don't show me," she cried. "I can't bear it." The poor mother sat and sobbed her heart away in her corner. It seemed as if the flood-gates had been opened, as if her tears would never cease.
"Mother, I am a stranger to you," I said. "But there is One who sees your sorrow and understands. Jesus understands. He sees every tear you shed. He is the Comforter." "Oh, thank you for that word," she sobbed.
People all about you want the same words of comfort. Act the shepherd in God's name; the world wants shepherds. Go forth, tend His sheep, love and help. When thou art converted, tend my sheep, look after my sheep. Oh, Jesus help you to do it.