The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that wins souls is wise.
The work of the ministry is an awful thing. What shall we say of the responsibility which belongs to him who, at an age when he could neither deceive himself nor be deceived, chooses an office to which he professes to be divinely called, even the cure of souls?
I. THE WORTH OF SOULS. The very word "souls" is startling. The soul is a direct emananation from God — a breath of God, a spark, so to call it, of Deity. It is a living soul. It has infinite capacities. See the estimation in which God holds it; especially in giving His Son for its redemption. See not the original redemption only, but also all the subsequent acts of grace. Then most guilty must he be who despises his own soul, and in spite of all this array of mercy, chooses death rather than life.
II. THE WINNING OF SOULS.
1. The agency which the Divine wisdom has seen fit to employ in this business.
2. The means which this agency is commissioned to use. In preaching the doctrine of Christ, we are wielding a weapon of omnipotent might.
3. While with fidelity we preach Christ, we must do it with the earnestness which its importance demands, and the affection which its subject warrants.
4. And we must also labour to the utmost to give no offence, that the ministry be not blamed. But this line of conduct is strictly within the limit of the faithful preaching of the Word. What are the noble and glorious results of a ministry so conducted? Such a pastor both saves himself and them that hearken.
(Joseph Haslegrave, M.A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.
WEB: The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life. He who is wise wins souls.