Silent Messengers.

 •  5 min. read  •  grade level: 7
(Hints on tract distribution.)
TRACTS have been called "silent messengers. Yet they speak, and speak eloquently too.
Moreover, their voice is heard where human lips are not allowed to witness. Tracts enter the
palace and the hovel; they come before the eyes of royalty as well as before those of poverty; they are read by the healthy and also by the dying. If taunted, refused, torn up, cast, in the mud, they murmur not nor are they discouraged.
Many of the Lord's servants have no gift in oral ministry and little ability or opportunities for public service, but almost all can employ this powerful and far-reaching factor for good or bad.
'We say good or bad because the devil always counterfeits God's methods and means. Hence it is important to see that what we give away is sound in doctrine. Bad tracts increase proportionately with good ones. Therefore it is well that simple and earnest workers should buy tracts bearing the name of a publisher on whom they can rely, and which are written by known and approved brethren in whom they have confidence as sound in the faith.
The soul-winner should also aim at suitability. The tract given should be adapted to the age, circumstances, and condition of the receiver. Some people need an awakening word; others require a peace-speaking and establishing gospel; others are heart-broken, and crave for the healing oil, the gladdening wine, and the gracious hand of the good Samaritan. All this needs discrimination and divine guidance, and keeps one in constant dependence on God.
Be much in prayer. A brother once told me that he felt he needed a thousand times more grace and wisdom in giving away tracts than in preaching the gospel. He knew from experience how varied characters are, how manifold the ways, in which people oppose the truth, what difficult questions they often raise, and how rude and hostile the behavior of some.
Watch for opportunities. Cultivate and acquire this Christ like habit, and you will be surprised at how many opportunities you will get (Gal. 6:1010As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith. (Galatians 6:10)). Yet be judicious. Do not thrust a tract into hands which are busily engaged, or put a tract between the eyes and paper of one reading in a railway carriage. Display tact and patience. Always 'be courteous. Offer your little gift with a smile and a pleasant word. Should it be refused, do not be downhearted. Think of your Lord and Master, and how many rebuffs He met with. Never be drawn into a wrangling discussion. Always maintain the ground that the gospel you have is beyond dispute. Paul "reasoned out the Scriptures," but never about them.
Be bold and courageous. Personal witness needs spiritual stamina and resolution. It often requires more moral pluck to deal individually with a soul than to preach to a big crowd. How much Paul speaks to Timothy about courage and of not being ashamed of the gospel! "God hath not given to us the spirit of cowardice," says he, and we do well to examine our spirit in the light of his words. Yet, withal, see that love is the constraining motive in your work. When I was a young fellow I often walked for miles, because I knew if I rode my conscience would give me no rest unless I gave round books and tracts to my fellow-passengers. Thus free, loving, and happy service for Christ was degraded into wretched bondage. By-and-by I discovered "a more excellent way" (1 Cor. 13). Work and testimony should be the outflow of love. Effort is always a sign of weakness or of something worse. Nothing is acceptable to Christ but what is prompted by affection (Rev. 2:1-71Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; 2I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: 3And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name's sake hast labored, and hast not fainted. 4Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. 5Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. 6But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate. 7He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God. (Revelation 2:1‑7)). True service is done to Him as well as for Him. Let us, then, sit at His feet 'and then go forth and serve Him in all the buoyancy and freshness of personal attachment and devotion.
Beloved fellow-workers, what a varied and an immense sphere of usefulness we have! The world is our parish—the highways and hedges, the market-place, the racecourse, the public house—anywhere, everywhere God leads us and sustains us. We may not be able to do much, but let us do something. A nice and easy line of service is to send regularly, month by month, a gospel magazine to an unconverted friend or relative. How many have been reached and won in this way!
If we are followers of Christ, shall we not be continually seeking to save? Let His path when here give the answer, and let it be borne in mind that though now in heaven, yet He still works with His workers on earth (see Mark 16:19, 2019So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen. (Mark 16:19‑20)). Let us weigh well this great fact and ask, "Is He working with me?" Perhaps it may help us to give a correct reply if, in the matter of tract distribution, we individually propound to ourselves some further questions:—
How much time do I spend on it?
How much strength do I spend on it?
How much money do I spend on it?
How much thought do I spend on it?
How much prayer do I spend on it?
Let us tot up the amount and put it over against "the riches of His grace" and "the riches of His glory," and then strike the balance and tell the result to God.
“Give me a faithful heart, likeness to Thee,
That each departing day henceforth may see
Some work of love begun,
Some deed of kindness done,
Some wanderer sought and won,
Something for Thee.”
S. J. B. C.