June 11, 2018
I See Faces
But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way. – 1 Corinthians 12:31
The year was 1952. The text was 1 Corinthians 12:31. The minister of the evening was George M. Hughes, who was preaching his last sermon in Portland, Oregon, before he left on a missionary trip to West Africa.
That night, Reverend Hughes said, “I see faces; not your faces, but out beyond—people who want to hear about the Gospel. I have told you of a place I visited in Nigeria. The congregation had been dismissed and was coming out the door when we drove into the compound. Back into the church they went, and they got down on their knees to praise God.
“They sang and testified in that unannounced service. I said, ‘Oh, I wish I could stay!’ They asked, ‘But aren’t you going to stay with us for a while?’ I told them I had to leave as soon as the service was over. There were six hundred people in that congregation. I was with them for one hour and a half.
“Following the service, I looked around for the leaders but was told that they had fallen on their knees to weep, because the instruction they had prayed for and looked forward to for years had been in their grasp for only an hour and a half. Ever since then, that congregation has been up before me.”
Reverend Hughes returned to Africa. He went back to Ikot Enwang—the place he had visited for only one and a half hours. He spent six months in Africa teaching the people. As he headed home on furlough, he was stricken with a heart attack and died. He was buried in the Africa he loved so dearly. Today, there is no doubt that his efforts to spread the Gospel made a difference. The Apostolic Faith Church in Ikot Enwang has a large congregation, and an annual camp meeting there is attended by many thousands of people.
“I see faces.” We see faces every day—the faces of our fellow employees and employers, the faces of students, the faces of tellers in the bank or clerks in the store, the faces of people on the bus or walking on the street, the faces of our family members. In our minds, we can see the faces of other people—abused children, crime victims, people living in war zones, and many others.
Do we have a vision for the souls of these people? Do we have a godly love for them? Do we faithfully bring them before God in prayer? Let us do our best to show these people the way—the more excellent way.