There are certain strangely winsome forces at our command for winning man. They are mighty in their drawing power. But there are counter-currents that divert and hinder their influence. We need to be familiar with these winning forces, and with the counter-currents, too.
There are seven great forces at our command for this blessed service of soul-winning and world-winning. They are not peculiar to foreign-mission service, for the foreign service itself is not essentially different from other service, except in the greatness of its need. They are the forces for use in all our winning work.
Two of these are distinctly human forces. The first is an organization, the Church. And then that of which the Church is made up, men and women; I mean the power of personality, developed and consecrated personality.
There are two divine forces that work through the human—Jesus and the Holy Spirit. I have put these second in order, because they work through the human. The leadership is in human hands. The initiative of all action is with us. Of course, if you go a bit deeper in, the initiative is with God who moves upon our hearts to make us act. But on the distinctly human level the beginning of service rests in human hands, and these two mighty, almighty, divine forces work through us.
The divine law of leadership and of cooperation in leadership has not always been clearly understood. And there has been bad delay often because of the lack of understanding. Our Lord Jesus in the days of His humanity surrendered Himself to the leadership of the Holy Spirit in His great mission to men. The Spirit worked through Jesus. After Jesus’ Ascension the order was reversed. The Spirit yielded Himself to the control of the glorified Son of God. Jesus worked through the Spirit. It was Jesus who sent down the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost for the special mission begun that day.
And now, with the greatest awe coming into our hearts at the thought, be it said that these two work through our human leadership. The leadership in service among men is human leadership. The wondrous Spirit of God works through our leadership to reveal Jesus to men in all His winsomeness and power.
There can be no power at all in our human action and leadership except as the Spirit leads and controls us, and is allowed to. And, on the other side, we must not forget, though it has sometimes been forgotten, that God’s working waits upon human action and leadership. Memory quickly brings up the fact, so often repeated in the history of the Church, that when men have failed to respond to God’s call His work has fallen behind. Whenever a new chapter of earnest service has been begun it has always been through a new leadership. Some man has listened to God, and let Him have the free use of himself in reaching out to other men.
God needs men. He needs you and me. We are the wire for the transmission of His current of power. The wire is useless without the current. And the current must have the wire along which to travel to its place of service. The divine power is through human action and human leadership. The power is all divine. And the means through which it works is all human. Jesus and the Holy Spirit work through the Church and through each one of us who is willing.