How I Came to Give up Business

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 4
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The way God led me out of business into Christian work was as follows:
I had never lost sight of Jesus Christ since the first night I met Him in the store at Boston. But for years I was only a nominal Christian, really believing that I could not work for God. No one had ever asked me to do anything.
When I went to Chicago, I hired five pews in a church, and used to go out on the street, and pick up young men, and fill these pews. I never spoke to those young men about their souls; that was the work of the elders, I thought. After working for some time like that, I started a mission Sunday school. I thought numbers were everything, and so I worked for numbers. When the attendance ran below one thousand, it troubled me; and when it ran to twelve or fifteen hundred, I was elated. Still none were converted; there was no harvest. Then God opened my eyes.
There was a class of young ladies in the school, who were without exception the most frivolous set of girls I ever met. One Sunday the teacher was ill, and I took that class. They laughed in my face, and I felt like opening the door and telling them all to get out and never come back.
That week the teacher of the class came into the store where I worked. He was pale, and looked very ill. “What is the trouble?” I asked.
“I have had another hemorrhage of my lungs. The doctor says I cannot live on Lake Michigan, so I am going to New York State. I suppose I am going home to die.”
He seemed greatly troubled, and when I asked him the reason, he replied:
“Well, I have never led any of my class to Christ. I really believe I have done the girls more harm than good.”
I had never heard anyone talk like that before, and it set me thinking.
After a while I said, “Suppose you go and tell them how you feel. I will go with you in a carriage, if you want to go.”
He consented, and we started out together. It was one of the best journeys I ever had on earth. We went to the house of one of the girls, called for her, and the teacher talked to her about her soul. There was no laughing then! Tears stood in her eyes before long. After he had explained the way of life, he suggested that we have prayer. He asked me to pray. True, I had never done such a thing in my life as to pray God to convert a young lady there and then. But we prayed, and God answered our prayer.
We went to other houses. He would go upstairs, and be all out of breath, and he would tell the girls what he had come for. It wasn’t long before they broke down, and sought salvation.
When his strength gave out, I took him back to his lodgings. The next day we went out again. At the end of ten days he came to the store with his face literally shining.
“Mr. Moody,” he said, “the last one of my class has yielded herself to Christ.”
I tell you, we had a time of rejoicing.
He had to leave the next night, so I called his class together that night for a prayer-meeting, and there God kindled a fire in my soul that has never gone out. The height of my ambition had been to be a successful mer­chant, and if I had known that meeting was going to take that ambition out of me, I might not have gone. But how many times I have thanked God since for that meeting!
The dying teacher sat in the midst of his class, and talked with them, and read the 14th chapter of John. We tried to sing “Blest be the tie that binds,” after which we knelt down to prayer. I was just rising from my knees, when one of the class began to pray for her dying teacher. Another prayed, and another, and be­fore we rose, the whole class had prayed. As I went out I said to myself:
“Oh, God, let me die rather than lose the blessing I have received to-night!”
The next evening I went to the depot to say good-bye to that teacher. Just before the train started, one of the class came, and before long, without any prearrange­ment, they were all there. What a meeting that was! We tried to sing, but we broke down. The last we saw of that dying teacher, he was standing on the platform of the car, his finger pointing upward, telling that class to meet him in heaven.
I didn’t know what this was going to cost me. I was disqualified for business; it had become distasteful to me. I had got a taste of another world, and didn’t care any more about making money. For some days after, the greatest struggle of my life took place. Should I give up business and give myself to Christian work, or should I not? I have never regretted my choice. Oh, the luxury of leading someone out of the darkness of this world into the glorious light and liberty of the Gospel!