Earnest Care and Earnest Carnality

Compiled By Duane V. Maxey

TEXT: — “But thanks be to God, which put the same EARNEST CARE into the heart of Titus for you” (2 Corinthians 8:16).

Herein, I shall present two stories that demonstrate how being “in earnest” had two very opposite effects — the first for God, the second for Evil. The one thing we can see from both of these stories is: — GOD ALWAYS REACTS when a person is “IN EARNEST” regarding His work here on earth. However, HOW God reacts depends upon HOW WE ARE “IN EARNEST”! —

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I remember an experience in the village church in New York, where I was a pastor in my early ministry. I had been preaching for a long time, but there was no yielding of hearts. I called my officers together and asked them to tell me what was wrong. They could not answer me. There was an old farmer in the congregation whose name was Herman Kramer. He could not pray in public, nor could he sing or speak. On the next morning after I had talked to the officers, he hitched up his horse to the cutter. A snowstorm had come in the night, and the fences were covered. This man of seventy years of age got into his sleigh and drove four miles across the fields and fences until he came to a blacksmith shop. Hitching his horse on the outside, he went in to where the young blacksmith was hammering away on his anvil. The blacksmith looked up and said: “Mr. Kramer, what in the world brought you here?” All he could do was to catch hold of the blacksmith’s bench with one hand to steady himself from falling. Reaching out his other hand, he said: “Your father and I were friends from boyhood. When he died I promised him that I would look after you and try to lead you to Christ. I have never spoken to you about your soul. OH, TOM!” That was all he said, and he turned back home. It was not long before the blacksmith came to the meetings, driving through a blinding snowstorm. When he gave his testimony, he said: “I have never been moved by a sermon in my life, but when Herman Kramer stood there sobbing in my shop, I said to myself, it is about time Tom Funston was IN EARNEST himself.” Revivals come with tears. — From Evangelistic Sermons By John Wilbur Chapman

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From The Autobiography Of Adam Clarke

[A story from his days as a Circuit Rider. Let the reader note: — Though Adam Clarke himself wrote the book from whence this was taken, he refers to himself not as “I” but as “Mr. Clarke”.]

On Saturday, Sept. 11, Mr. Clarke went to a place called Trego, to Farmer P_____’s, where there had been preaching for some time, and a small society formed, and where he was to preach that night and the next morning. he had gone through a tedious journey, and by unknown ways, in order to get to this place; and was much fatigued on his arrival. Only the good woman was within, the rest being at harvest. She asked him if he had dined: he said, no. She then brought him the remains of a cold apple pie, of the rudest confection; the apples were not peeled, even the snuffs and stalks were on them, and the crust was such, that, though the apples in baking shrunk much, yet the crust disdained to follow them, and stood over the dish like a well-built arch, almost impenetrable to knife or teeth. He sat down to this homely fare, thanked God, and took courage. After a little the good woman brought him some cream, saying, “I’ll give you a little cream to the pie; but I cannot afford it to my own family.” This appeared odd to him. He had nothing beside this pie, except a drink of water. He went and cleaned his horse, and waited till the farmer came in from the field; between whom, in substance, passed the following dialogue:–

“Who art thou? I am a Methodist preacher: my name is Adam Clarke.” “And what is thee comin here for?” “To preach to yourself, your family, and your neighbors.” “Who sent thee here?” “I received a plan from Mr. Wrigley, and your place stands for this night and tomorrow morning.” “I expect other friends tomorrow, and thou shalt not stay here.” “Why, — will you not have the preaching?” “I will have none of thy preaching, nor any of thy brethren.” “But will it not be wrong to deprive your family and neighbors of what may be profitable to them, though you may not desire it?” “Thee shalt not stay here: I will have no more Methodist preaching.” “Well, I will inform Mr. Wrigley of it; and I dare say he will not send any more, if you desire it not: but as I am a stranger in the country, and know not my way, and it is now towards evening, I hope you will give me a night’s lodging, and I will, please God, set off tomorrow morning.” “I tell thee, thee shalt not stay here.” “What, would you turn a stranger out into a strange country of which he knows nothing, and so late in the evening too?” “Where was thee last night?” “I was at Polperro.” “Then go there.” “It is out of my reach: besides, I have to preach at Bodmin tomorrow evening.” “Then go to Bodmin.” “I have never yet been there; am not expected there tonight; and know no person in the place:– pray give me the shelter of your roof for the night.” “I tell thee, thou shalt not stay here.” “ARE YOU REALLY IN EARNEST?” “I am.” “Well then, if I must go, can you direct me the way to Ruthernbridge; I was there on Thursday, and am sure I shall be welcome again.” “Thee must inquire the road to Bodmin.” “How far is Ruthernbridge hence?” “About fifteen or sixteen miles; so thee hadst best be getting off.” “I will set off immediately.”

Mr. Clarke then went and put on his boots, repacked his shoes &c. in his saddle-bags and went to the stable and saddled his horse; the farmer standing by and looking on, but lending no assistance. He then mounted his horse, and spoke to this effect:– “Now, Sir, I am a stranger, and you refused me the common rites of hospitality: I am a messenger of the Lord Jesus, coming to you, your family, and your neighbors, with the glad tidings of salvation by Jesus Christ; and you have refused to receive me: for this you must account at the bar of God. In the mean time I must act as my Lord has commanded me; and wipe of against you even the dust of your floor that cleaves to the soles of my feet.” So saying he took his right foot out of the stirrup, and with his hand wiped off the dust from his sole: he did the like to his left foot, and rode slowly off saying, “Remember, a messenger of peace came to your house with the gospel of Jesus; and you have rejected both him and his message!” He went on his way; and the farmer turned into his house. What was the consequence? A Methodist preacher was never afterwards within his house, or before his door. The little society that was there, went to other places; ruin came on him, and his family became corrupt, and were at last, finally scattered! and he died not long after.

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Let all who have read the above story remember how God has warned all in Psalm 105:15, “Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and DO MY PROPHETS NO HARM” — and, He does not take it lightly when carnally-minded men mistreat the messengers of His gospel!

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