I was away spending some extended time seeking the Lord and asking His direction for ministry in Europe. I came upon some thoughts in a book by Devern Fromke that really challenged and reminded me of that which is most important in seeking to minister to the lost. These are thought provoking words for any of us who desire to join God in what He is doing in this world.
Often there is no other way! God must allow us to dry up, to faint, to cry out in frustration as we come to the end of our own ways. It is His way of turning us from a dependence upon our preaching, correct doctrine, methods, experiences or developed abilities.
Perhaps no better example can be given of the secret of a fruitful ministry than that discovered years ago by Mrs. Booth-Clibborn, better known as the Marechale of France. How did she hope to conquer in religion-ridden and infidel France? Listen to that frail little woman:
I saw that the bridge to France was making the French people believe in me. That is what the Protestants do not understand. They preach the Bible, they write books, they offer tracts. But that does not do the work. “Curse Your Bibles, your books, your tracts!” cry the French. I have seen thousands of Testaments given away to little purpose. I have seen them torn up to light cigars…. Only if Jesus is lifted up in flesh and blood will He today draw all men unto Him. And the conviction that took shape in my mind was that if I cannot give Him I shall fail. France has not waited till now for religion, for preaching, for eloquence. Something more is needed. “I that speak unto thee am He” – there is a sense in which the world is waiting for that today… Christ’s primary idea, His means of saving the world, is, after all, personality. The face, the character, the life of Jesus are to be seen in men and women….
These were the convictions with which I began the work in Paris. I said, “We will lay ourselves out for them; they shall know where we live; they can watch us day and night; they shall see what we do and judge us.” And the wonderful thing of those first years in France and Switzerland was – the flame. We lighted it all along the line. Wherever we went, we brought the fire with us, we fanned it, we communicated it. We could not help doing so, because it was in us; that was what made us sufferers. The fire had to be burning in us day and night…. We all know what the fire is. It warms and it burns. It scorches the Pharisees and makes the cowards fly. But the poor, tempted, unhappy world knows by Whom it is kindled and says: “I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God!”
That was what filled the halls at Havre and Rouen, Nimes and Bordeaux, Brussels and Liege. We personified Someone, and that was the attraction. I have not the insufferable conceit to suppose that it was anything in me that drew them. What am I? Dust and ashes. But if you have the fire, it draws, it melts; it consumes all selfishness; it makes you love as He loves; it gives you a heart of steel to yourself, and the tenderest of hearts to others; it gives you eyes to see what no one else sees, to hear what others have never given themselves the trouble to listen to. And men rush to you because you are what you are; you are as He was in the world; you have His sympathy, His divine love, His divine patience. Therefore He gives you the victory over the world; and what is money, what are houses, lands, anything – compared with that?
This was the one attraction. When I went to France, I said to Christ: “I in You and You in me!” And many a time in confronting single-handed a laughing, scoffing crowd, I have said, “You and I are enough for them. I won’t fail You, and You won’t fail me.” That is something of which we have only touched the fringe. That is a truth almost hermetically sealed. It would be sacrilege, it would be desecration, it would be wrong, unfair, unjust if divine power were given on any other terms than absolute self-abandonment. When I went to France, I said to Jesus, “I will suffer anything if You will give me the keys.” And if I am asked what was the secret of our power in France, I answer: first, love; second, love; third, love. And if you ask how to get it, I answer: first, by sacrifice. Christ loves us passionately, and loves to be loved passionately.
Indeed, the Marechale had paid the supreme price. She sacrificed all that she might be clothed in the mystic whiteness of Christ. She had the anointed eye to see men lost – lost because they have never seen Christ personified. Before you are quick to change places of ministry, to run off for more schooling, to grasp for some experience of power, you might give time to ponder this question honestly and patiently: have I really, wholly, utterly, completely, unreservedly become a yielded personality through whom He might express Himself? None who have allowed Him this right, have ever failed or fainted. May God awaken us to this simple key!”
( Excerpted from the book No Other Foundation by Devern Fromke)