Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 19, 1968
NUMBER 20, PAGE 6b-7a

Pondering Paths

"Ponder The Path Of Thy Feet... (Prov. 4.26

Wm E. Wallace

It's good for obese preachers to take a long walk during the days of a gospel meeting. It's good to walk off some of the excess accumulation of energy stuff which comes from all those fine "gospel meeting"' meals. It also affords time for thinking and meditation. If you can get out where the natural scenery is you can be refreshed by the beauties of God's creation.

Recently I was on such a walk down a lonely stretch of road rehashing the sermon of the night before and going over the points to be presented in the lesson forthcoming. There was a young fellow, perhaps in his twenties, about 100 yards ahead of me. I noticed that the gap between us was slowly narrowing.

My scheduled sermon this night was on the Holy Spirit, and I was mulling over points some of which involved the leadership of the Holy Spirit. Suddenly it occurred to me that inasmuch as I was gaining on the fellow ahead I should catch up and preach Christ to him. So I accelerated my gait.

As I moved closer I thought of the claims made by some brethren relative to being directly moved by the Spirit to certain places at certain times as in the case of Phillip to the Eunuch in Acts 8. I weighed this possibility over against the probability of my acting in this instance out of impulses created by a sense of duty based on appreciation for the word of God, or from a feeling of responsibility to sinners. Was I being led directly by the Spirit, or by personal impulse?

The accelerated pace was having its effect on me physically, and even though the distance between us was gradually becoming shorter, I contemplated calling out to see if the fellow would stop and wait for me to "catch up." But then I concluded that being a stranger to him, he might think I was "some kind of a nut." So I planned to ease up beside him and strike up a conversation calculated to lead to things eternal.

Was I being led directly by the Spirit to this man, or was I motivated by personal impulse? This was my preoccupation as breathing became more labored and the legs began to ache a little. Suddenly the answer came.

An old car passed me, pulled along side the young man ahead, stopped and "picked up" prospect. I was left alone. I felt like an angler who had lost his fish. I concluded that the Spirit was not directly leading me, if he were that fellow wouldn't have gotten away!

In the case of Phillip and the Eunuch the "Spirit of the Lord caught away Phillip that the eunuch saw him no more." I wonder what spirit caught away that young man that I saw him no more?

I support the disposition or impulse moving me in attempt to reach the fellow is admirable. I suspect the Holy Spirit was involved in the agency of the word dwelling within me. Perhaps in this, the Divine One, in Providence or via indwelling word, was impressing on me the truth that direct leadership of the Spirit does not occur in our day.

God has committed to his word, as it dwells in our heart, the source of guiding stimulations for those who fish for the souls of men. So I had a good impulse, learned a good lesson, and used up a little more excess energy...fat.

The experience made for a good point in my sermon that evening. Perhaps others will see in this the truth that Holy Spirit leadership in the Christian's life is within the agency of the indwelling word. Meditation on the word can do wonders for the Christian. The motivations and impulses coming from such moments afford the Holy Spirit his opportunity to move and lead us. The word is his sword. The word is his means of bringing out the best in us.