The Man With the Drawn Sword

In his book Praise Papers, S. A. Keen tells of a time when even though others considered his ministry to be a great success, he felt discouraged fearing his efforts were inadequate.

When he was closing his pastorate at St. Paul's Methodist Episcopal Church, Delaware, Ohio, he was again tempted to view his work a failure. He begged God for a fresh anointing that would bring a greater effectiveness to his work.

While upon his knees in his study earnestly calling upon God, he "saw the Man with a drawn sword, saying, 'Lo, I am with you alway.'" From that point, he had a sustained faith, enthusiasm, and effectiveness for his work. He clearly understood that God did not hold him responsible for the results of his ministry. His one responsibility was to live in such an attitude to God that he would be constantly filled with the Holy Spirit. If he was filled with the Spirit, he would be at his best for God and for others.

Several things came to him in the years following this new light.

1. An utter absence of anxious concern about results.

2. A sustained consciousness of being used effectively. He could say, "I anticipate nothing other than to be used of God."

3. A delightful rest from the depressing effect of comparing his work with that of others whose success appeared to be more marked. As a result, he was as happy in what he once would have considered to be failure as when it appeared his ministry resulted in great victory and people exclaimed, "This work is of God!"

4. Greater and more continuous fruitfulness in his work.

Thank You, Lord, for giving us access to Your abiding presence.

"But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him" (2 Corinthians 2:14).