I am reading a book by Charles Spurgeon on the topic of soul winning, and I have to say, I just love that phrase.
It’s not one you hear much anymore. I am not sure why. Perhaps it sounds too intense in our day and age. It doesn’t fit with postmodern thinking. Who are we to talking about winning souls?
But it’s originally biblical language, isn’t it?
Proverbs 11:30, “He that winneth souls is wise.”
As believers, we so easily get busy with so many things, and it’s important to be forced to step back and ask ourselves, are we focused on the most important things?
Like taking the gospel to the lost?
Perhaps in this instance Spurgeon could use it a bit more nuance, but I was challenged when he writes,
“Solomon, in the text before us, awards no crown for wisdom to crafty statesmen, or even to the ablest of rulers; he issues no diplomas even to philosophers, poets, or men of wit; he crowns with laurel only those who win souls. He does not declare that he who preaches is necessarily wise; and alas! there are multitudes who preach, and gain much applause and eminence, who win no souls, and who shall find it go hard with them at the last, because in all probability they have run and the Master has never sent them. Solomon does not say that he who talks about winning souls is wise, since to lay down rules for others is a very simple thing, but to carry them out one’s self is far more difficult. He who actually, really, and truly turns men from the error of their ways to God, and so is made the means of saving them from going down to hell, is a wise man; and that is true of him whatever his style of soul-winning may be. He may be a Paul, deeply logical, profound in doctrine, able to command all candid judgments; and if he thus wins souls, he is wise. He may be an Apollos, grandly rhetorical, whose lofty genius soars into the very heaven of eloquence; and if he wins souls in that way, he is wise, but not otherwise. Or he may be a Cephas, rough and rugged, using uncouth metaphor and stern declamation; but, if he wins souls, he is no less wise than his polished brother or his argumentative friend, but not else. The great wisdom of soul-winners, according to the text, is proven only by their actual success in really winning souls.”
And so, if we look at our lives and we are not seeking to win souls for Christ, we need to ask why? Further, if we look at our lives and we are not effective in winning souls for Christ, we need to be concerned, why not? Obviously, ultimately, only God can win a soul, but He uses means, and given the importance of soul-winning, if we are not winning souls for Christ, we should at least step back and evaluate.
For example, here are some questions you might ask:
- Do I actually believe a person can be saved and changed in an instant?
- Am I able to bring every day conversations naturally around to the heart of the gospel?
- Am I living a life that makes the message I am sharing look beautiful?
- Do I actually care about the people I am speaking to?
- Do I invite others to hear the Word of God preached?
- Do I have people into my home and seek to develop intentional friendships with those who don’t know Christ?
- Am I going to meetings at church with a ministry mind-set, looking for new people to reach out to, and perhaps even to speak about the sermon with afterwards?
- Am I willing to spend time talking to just one person about their relationship with Christ?
- Am I friendly?
- Am I willing to write letters to people to talk to them about the state of their souls?
- Do I pray that God will give me boldness to speak the gospel and opportunities as well?
- Do I love Jesus?
- Do I actually believe the gospel I am sharing?
It’s a great privilege to know the gospel and to have the opportunity to participate in this great mission of telling others about what God has done through Christ. It’s also a responsibility. We must never allow ourselves to become so “wise” in the world’s eyes that we become foolish and neglect our greatest priorities as a church, the very reasons we’ve been left on this earth.