An Insurance man called on a purchasing agent—one who buys some $20,000,000 worth of material a year for one of the largest industries in America. He had a few spare moments, saw the agent, who after finding how much Insurance he had, agreed that it was sufficient. As the insurance man was leaving, the purchasing agent asked him if he attended church. He was a church member. "Then," said the purchasing agent, "you know Christ." "I don't understand," said the insurance man.
"There in that street car, deliberately, calmly and earnestly, closing the book and shutting my eyes, I lifted my soul in prayer to God and surrendered my life and will to do his will to the end of my life."
"Take this along," said the purchasing agent, handing him his own story in the form of the tract which follows:
I am a purchasing agent. It is my business to buy. Four years ago I had a transaction in my own life which was a new kind of a deal. And it had unusual returns. I should like briefly to tell you the story of what I bought, what I paid for it, and what I got.
Up to the time that I was 46 years of age, I had been enjoying the reputation of being a moral man, a church member, a loving husband and father, a good friend. I was entirely satisfied during all of this time that I was as good as the average Christian, or at least "good enough." This state of satisfaction was suddenly halted about four years ago by the death of a friend. While this friend was sick, again and again the thought came to me that I should go and visit him, and carry to him the consolation of my faith in God. But "Procrastination is the thief of time." I put off the promised visit from day to day until it was too late. On returning home from his funeral service I had a feeling of deep regret at not having acted on the early impulse. I began to question myself as to why I had not gone to see him while he was still living.
One day shortly afterwards, like a thunder bolt from a clear sky, came the startling revelation that answered that question. The reason I had not gone to see my friend was because I had nothing to give.
After thirty years of church membership, professing to be a Christian man all that time, serving as an elder in one church, a deacon in another, and a trustee in still another, I had never really known the Lord Jesus Christ in a vital living faith. In other words I had mistaken my church activity for faith in Christ.
The immediate result of this discovery was that deliberately, prayerfully, and with an intense desire for help, I resolved to seek GOD with all my heart.
The next day I was lunching with a friend. He noticed my serious countenance. "What's on your mind that's troubling you?" "I have determined to find God," I said. "You should read the book which I have just finished and which has completely changed my life," he immediately answered. "It has given me a new vision of Christ." "What book is that?" I asked. "The Threefold Secret of the Holy Spirit,” by James H. McConkey.
That afternoon I received by messenger his copy of the book and at once commenced to read it. A day or two later I was sitting on the front seat of an open street car reading this book. I came to this passage: "What a tremendous thought, to go through all the long years of life, with the privilege, the peace, and the power of the blessed life within your grasp at any hour, and yet to hare missed it,"
That sentence struck home. I realized how great had been my loss, that I had drifted away from God, and that through all those thirty years of my past life I could have had his blessed fellowship at any time if I had been willing to pay the price. Like the prodigal I "came to myself in a far country" and decided to return "home."
Desiring to know this "secret" of the abundant life which is in Christ, I turned back to the book for the answer. There it stood forth in all its simplicity and power, as I read: ....
"What is the SECRET of his fullness, of his abundant life of peace, power and love? We answer: The absolute, unqualified SURRENDER of our life to God, to do his will instead of our own."
All at once, in imagination, I looked down the pathway of the coming years, and then thought of the way over which I had come. If I continued to the end of my life in this same way it might possibly result in my being "saved though as by fire" (1 Cor. 3:15). But there before me was another pathway, which the author of this book termed the "SURRENDERED LIFE," and which to me was an undiscovered country. It appeared to be a "leap in the dark."
But it turned out to be a leap into the "light." There in that street car, deliberately, calmly and earnestly, closing the book and shutting my eyes, I lifted my soul in prayer to God and surrendered my life and will to do his will to the end of my life.
That was all. No miracle happened. No fire fell from heaven. The next day I was outwardly the same as usual, excepting that this new resolution which I had formed was beginning to mold and guide my life. Shortly afterwards the first great test came in a temptation that crossed my path. I decided as God would have it, and soon afterward I received my first conscious baptism of the power of the Holy Spirit. This resulted in an ecstasy of the soul, a new Joy and a wonderful peace. I had never known it before and did not imagine it was possible this side of heaven.
God is the same from generation to generation and "is not a respecter of persons" (Acts 10:84). His promise still holds good, as it did in my case, "Ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart" (Jer. 29:13). So I learned this great truth in my first step toward God; that the moment a man gets in earnest with the Lord and comes, "Asking, seeking, knocking," he will always get what he asks for, will find what he is seeking, and the door at which he knocks will speedily open (Matt. 7:7).
So the Purchasing Agent had made a new kind of purchase. And what had he bought? I did not know. The purchase was made entirely on faith, and It had no money value. I believe no one can realize the joy of God's fellowship without first paying the price. Jesus once said, "If any man willeth to do his will, he shall know (John 7:17). In other words, when God says, "Come unto me" we must first come, confessing sin, trusting and believing and then we discover the "secret" of his presence.
What had I paid? To some It would seem a great price—to yield one's life to do the will of our Father in heaven, who is the Ruler of the universe, and the Eternal God; to follow the example of the Christians in the Macedonian church who "first gave their own selves to the Lord" (2 Cor. 8:5). Yet when once the price has been paid the price itself sinks into insignificance in comparison with what one gets in return.
What did I get? As the weeks passed by, the realization came with increasing force,—-that I had made five great discoveries in that one act of self-surrender:
First: My own spiritual poverty.
Second: God as a loving Friend and Companion.
Third: The Bible as a new book, to feed my soul from day to day with increasing delight.
Fourth: Joy in my new life, which I wished to share with others.
Fifth: Service to others in showing them how to find God.
All these I realized with no diminution of business Interest or energy, with no decrease of social and family enjoyments. All were put on a higher level, and I could say with the Apostle Paul, "Not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord." (Rom. 12:11.)
God is the greatest "paymaster" in all the world, and he pays the most liberal wages. "The wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ, our Lord." (Rom. 6:23.) Instead of six percent interest on your soul's investment, he pays—"dividends" that are cumulative and compounded.
Can any man tell another what God has done for his soul if he has once really tasted of the "heavenly gift?" No! This is impossible. You can only hint at that joy of the soul which "eye hath not seen, ear hath not heard, neither hath entered into the heart or mind" of the unsaved man what God has prepared for those who love him, even while they are still here on earth. (1 Cor. 2:9;Isa. 64:4.) Many a one has questioned me as to the experience of knowing God. Sometimes I answer, "You cannot make a blind man see the beauties of a rainbow." And so no one can have fellowship with Christ without paying the price.
At first I found it difficult to make any one believe my story as I began by asking first one person and then another if they knew the Lord Jesus Christ. To my infinite surprise many of my friends thought I was talking in a "foreign tongue." Some called me a “fanatic." Others asked what "disease" I had. Another said I was "As a voice of one the wilderness."
Overlooking all this adverse criticism I kept being willing to share what God had done for my soul. After some months of giving this testimony, first to one and then to another of my friends, and often to strangers, they would become interested and ask questions. Many asked me to pray for them. One and another would make the full surrender, get the same vision that I had received, and go and tell others what God had done for them.
So, walking day by day with my Lord. trusting and waiting for whatever he had to send, opportunities began to multiply, and new avenues of service opened up. As I followed these new paths, physical strength, such as I had never known, became my portion, and I realized at last that God was willing to use what was left of my life for the extension of his kingdom and for the saving of men.
In that one brief act of surrender to God I had no idea what I was buying—no thought that I was making a "sight draft" on the "Bank of Eternal Life."
Looking back over the four years that have passed since that one brief moment of decision, the price paid seems as a grain of dust in the balance in comparison with the untold riches that God has poured into my life. As the weeks and months go by, I continue to tell the story. Some listen and believe, then pay the price and immediately receive these "dividends" of Eternal Life. Others shake their heads and say they will wait for a more convenient season (which may never come). And yet others refuse the invitation altogether and pass on into outer darkness.
What did I get, when I made this great purchase? This I have told now only in part. But reader, whoever you are, do you really want to know? Pay the price yourself today by surrendering your will to do God's will, and see what he has in store for you. "Prove me now herewith saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing" (Mai. 3:10). "The Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst, Come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev. 22:17).
Dear Brother "Jim:"
In our mid-week prayer meeting tonight, Mr. D. B. Bell, one of our members, a reticent, quiet man, who has never taken any part in such a meeting, told of having met for ten minutes, this "Purchasing Agent" in a business way, who, the business ended, asked Mr. Bell if he knew the Lord? and gave him the enclosed leaflet, which Mr. Bell read to us and testified to the new vision had brought him of the Master. Our meeting was electrified, and we felt as we came away that we had received a blessing. I thought you would like to catch a breeze from another wavelet set in motion by "The Three-fold Secret of the Holy Spirit.
Taken from The Expositor, Volume 20, (Cleveland: F. M. Barton, 1918), pp. 943,944.