The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that wins souls is wise.
He that winneth souls is wise. Wisdom does many things for us; but we shall find -
I. ITS BRIGHTEST CROWN in the souls that it wins, Wisdom wins wealth, honour, friendship, knowledge; acquaintance with men and with nature; high position and commanding rule; the gratification that attends achievement. Wisdom makes great changes in the face of nature, and effects great results in the organization of men. But the crown which it wears is its beneficent work in human souls. "He that winneth souls is wise" indeed. For to do that is:
1. To arrest a stream of evil influence, the full outflow and consequence of which it is impossible to estimate.
2. To originate a stream of holy and helpful influence, the growing and widening range of which we cannot imagine.
3. To turn back a human spirit from a course which leads downward to an opposite course which leads homeward and heavenward; it is to change the direction of one in whom are boundless capacities of accomplishment and of endurance, and to change it permanently for the better.
4. It is to give joy of the purest kind to hearts of the greatest worth, and satisfaction to the Divine Saviour himself (see James 5:19, 20). It is wisdom's brightest crown; but it is also -
II. ITS HARDEST TASK. He that winneth souls must be, or needs to be, wise indeed; for he has a very great thing to do. He has:
1. To oppose himself to he knows not what supernatural hostilities (Ephesians 6:12).
2. To do battle with human obduracy and the evil spirit of procrastination.
3. To contend with the spiritual blindness and insensibility which are the sad consequence of long disloyalty.
4. To baffle the arts of false friendship and overcome the blandishments of an evil world.
5. To silence the deceitful voices which whisper to the awakened soul that there is no need to render an immediate and wholehearted decision; and thus to lead it to a full surrender to Christ and to his service.
6. To persuade to a life of earnest and habitual devotion and holy usefulness. The practical lessons of the text are:
(1) That we cannot expend ourselves too lavishly in the great work of winning men to Jesus Christ. There is no room for extravagance here.
(2) That we have need to put forth our whole strength to gain so great a victory.
(3) That when we have done all we can do we must remember that nothing is accomplished without the influence which is from above. - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise.