"...he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" - James 5:20... "And others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire..." - Jude 23
"A hundred thousand souls a day
Are passing one by one away
In Christless guilt and gloom;
Without one ray of hope or light,
With future dark as endless night,
They're passing to their doom"
- A. B. Simpson
Souls are passing into eternity in their thousands, so understandably we long for thousands to be saved. We cry, "Oh for the wind of the Spirit to breathe over us again that thousands in Ireland, and further afield might be swept into the Kingdom!" It is only natural to yearn for many to be saved when many are lost, but, consider: the value of just One Soul.
How can you put a value on One Soul? Our Lord said, "For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36-37). Who could ever measure One Soul's torment in an eternal Hell? Or, who could appraise the joyous ecstasy of One Soul's forever in Heaven?
We hear it said "One man with God is a majority". Equally, "One Soul with God is a priority." In the beginning when God wanted to populate the planet He didn't create a nation of men, but One Soul, Adam. When God did want a nation for Himself, He didn't co-opt an already existing race but rather called One Soul, Abram, out of whose loins that nation was born. Consider the other individuals God called and see the potential impact of One Soul: a Moses, a David, a Daniel, a Paul. One Soul is still the priority with God.
If I had written one of the Gospels without Divine Inspiration, I'm sure I would have concentrated on the great multitudes that thronged Jesus everywhere He went the crowd. However, that is not the place where the Holy Spirit rests His emphasis in much of His record. Of course the crowds are all there, yet it is the individual Soul the Spirit highlights. Take John's Gospel; among others we meet an inquisitive Nathaniel, a religious Nicodemus, and an immoral Samaritan woman whom Jesus must go on a detour to meet. In fact, even when this Saviour was dying on the Cross for a whole world, He had time for a criminal Soul impaled beside Him! John shows us a Saviour of individual Souls. Indeed even when hundreds and even thousands are converted, God saves them as individual souls not as crowds.
In recent Gospel Missions (Mallusk and Killeen) we have witnessed God convicting and saving individuals. One night travelling home from one of these meetings having heard about a person being saved, I was reminded from James 5:20 of the value of One Soul saved: "...he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins." I thought to myself: it's all worth it for One Soul!
An elderly missionary lady who had been in Africa for fifty years without furlough was interviewed upon returning home. Her interviewer asked, "Is it true that after fifty years of service you only know of One Soul who was saved?...How do you feel about that now?...Was it worth it?" The elderly saint's answer was profound, she said, "I would do a hundred years for another one". There was a lady who knew the value of One Soul.
"O teach me what it cost Thee
To make a sinner whole;
And teach me, Saviour, teach me
The value of a soul"
- Lucy Ann Bennett
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon