Luke 19:10; 1 Tim. 1:15; Luke 18:13; Acts 20:21; Acts 4:12; Eph. 2:8
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Full text of Jane’s Reward
While traveling around the country, holding gospel meetings, a preacher stopped at a restaurant for dinner where a girl, about eighteen years of age, waited on him. Whenever he met strangers, he liked to point out to them the way to heaven or to tell them something from God’s Word that would help them. So before leaving the restaurant, he asked this young girl, “What is your name?”
“Jane,” she answered.
“Jane, do you ever pray?”
“No. I’m too busy. . . I hardly have time to eat.”
“Now, Jane, will you make an agreement with me? I expect to be back here in about two months. I’ll teach you a little prayer that only has three words, which I’m asking you to say every morning. It won’t take much time, because you can say it while you are getting dressed, if you want. And when I come back, if you tell me honestly that you have said it every day, I’ll give you five dollars.”
“Okay, I’ll do it,” said Jane.
“Be sure to keep your promise,” reminded the preacher.
“You can depend on that; I always keep my promises,” said Jane. “So tell me what the prayer is.”
“This is the prayer,” said the minister. “Lord, save me.”
He and Jane shook hands on the agreement and said a friendly good-bye.
Two months later he returned to that town. He went back to the same restaurant for dinner, but Jane was not there. Another girl waited on him in her place. After dinner he spoke to the owner of the restaurant and asked where Jane was.
“Oh, she started going to church and quit her job here, and now she’s staying at the pastor’s place down the road,” explained the owner and gave him directions.
The preacher found the pastor’s home, knocked on the door, and who should open it but Jane herself. As soon as she saw the preacher, a big smile lit up her face as she said, “I’m so glad to see you again! I want to thank you for teaching me that prayer, but I don’t want the five dollars, because I’ve got enough already.”
“Please tell me all about it,” the preacher said with expectation in his voice.
“After you went away, I said that prayer every morning, like I promised. At first I rattled it off while I was getting dressed, without thinking about what I was saying. But one morning after I had said it, two questions came into my mind: What did that gentleman want me to say this prayer for? What does ‘save’ mean?
“I thought the Bible would tell me something about it, so I borrowed one and read a little every morning. Eventually I came to one verse which said, ‘The Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost’ (Luke 19:10), and another one said, ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners’ (1 Timothy 1:15). Then I saw that I was a lost sinner. This frightened me, so I began to pray in earnest. I asked Jesus to forgive my sins, to save my soul, and to teach me to love and serve Him. He heard my prayer, and He has done all this for me, and more, and now I’m really happy! And so I thank you for teaching me that prayer . . . but I won’t take your money.”
That was a happy experience for Jane, one that she will continually thank the Lord Jesus for—through time and eternity.
And now I ask you, Have you come to know this loving Saviour whose love is as great as His power? Have you ever prayed the prayer of the man in Luke 18:13: “God be merciful to me a sinner”? Perhaps you are willing to admit that you are a sinner, but have you felt your need of the Saviour?
Only two steps are needed by you: “Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20:21). Repentance is accepting God’s view of our sins and ourselves, and faith looks to Christ and sees in Him the One who has paid the penalty for our sins in His death on the cross. Other than Christ, there is no hope of salvation. “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
The sinner is dependent on the grace of God. “By grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” (Ephesians 2:8).
Will you take the same two steps that Jane took? Her reward will last for eternity, and the same reward can be yours.