Dr. Harry Ironside told a story at a conference about a prominent English preacher who, while speaking to a group of fellow-pastors at an association meeting, shared the following incident:
“One evening as he was about to retire, there came a knock at the front door. Upon answering it, he found a poor little girl, drenched with rain. She had come through the storm. As the preacher stood looking into the haggard face, she said, ‘Are you the minister?’
‘Yes, I am’ he replied.
‘Well, won’t you come down and get my mother in?’ she said.
The preacher wisely answered the little inquirer, ‘My dear, it is hardly proper for me to come and get your mother in. If she is drunk a policeman should be summoned. He is dressed for the occasion.’
‘Oh, sir,’ she replied in haste. ‘You don’t understand! My mother isn’t drunk. She’s at home, and she’s afraid to die. She wants to go to heaven, but doesn’t know how. I told her that I would find a minister to get her in. Come quickly, sir, she’s dying!’
The minister could not resist the appeal of the little night caller, so promised to come just as soon as he could get dressed. As he walked with the girl through the night, she led him into the slum district to an old house, up a rickety stairway, along a dark hall, and finally to a lone room where the dying woman lay in a corner.
‘I’ve gotten the preacher for you, Mother. He wasn’t ready to come at first, but he’s here. You just tell him what you want and do what he tells you and he’ll get you in!’
At that, the poor woman raised her feeble voice and asked, ‘Can you do anything for a sinner like me? My life has been lived in sin, and now that I am dying I feel that I am going to Hell, but I don’t want to go there; I want to go to Heaven. What can I do now?’
Upon his own confession the great preacher declared, ‘I stood there looking into that face and thought, what can a tell her? I have been preaching salvation by character, but she hasn’t any. I’ve been proclaiming salvation by culture, but she hasn’t time for that, and, besides, she wouldn’t know what the word meant. Then it came to me. Why not tell her what your mother used to tell you as a lad. She’s dying, and it can’t hurt her even though it does her no good.’
And so bending down beside her, he said, ‘My dear woman, God is very gracious and kind, and in His book, the Bible, He says that ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.’
‘Oh,’ she exclaimed, ‘does it say that in the Bible? My! That ought to get me in. But sir, my sins, my sins!’
It was amazing the way the verses came back to him. He said, ‘My dear woman, the Bible says that the ‘blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.’
‘All sin, did you say? Does it really say, ALL sin? That ought to get me in.’
‘Yes,’ answered the kneeling pastor, ‘it says ALL sin. The Bible also says that ‘this is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.’
‘Well,’ she said, ‘if the chief got in, I can come. Pray for me, sir!’
With that the old preacher bent down still further and prayed with that poor woman, and GOT HER IN, and in the process, ‘while I was getting her in,’ he confessed, ‘I got MYSELF in. We two sinners, the minister and the harlot, were saved together that night in that little room.’”
“For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Jesus, Luke 19:10)
“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Romans 10:13)