“Man,” said a thoughtless, ungodly English traveller to a North American Indian convert, “Man, what is the reason that you make so much of Christ, and talk so much about Him? What has this Christ done for you, that you should make so much ado about Him?”
The converted Indian did not answer him in words. He gathered together some dry leaves and moss and made a ring with them on the ground. He picked up a live worm and put it in the middle of the ring. He struck a light and set the moss and leaves on fire. The flame soon rose and the heat scorched the worm. It writhed in agony, and after trying in vain to escape on every side, curled itself up in the middle, as if about to die in despair. At that moment the Indian reached forth his hand, took up the worm gently and placed it on his bosom.
“Stranger,” he said to the Englishman, “Do you see that worm? I was that perishing creature. I was dying in my sins, hopeless, helpless, and on the brink of eternal fire. It was Jesus Christ who put forth the arm of His power. It was Jesus Christ who delivered me with the hand of His grace, and plucked me from everlasting burnings. It was Jesus Christ who placed me, a poor sinful worm, near the heart of His love. Stranger, that is the reason why I talk of Jesus Christ and make much of Him. I am not ashamed of it, because I love Him.”
If we know anything of love to Christ, may we have the mind of this North American Indian! May we never think that we can love Christ too well, live to Him too thoroughly, confess Him too boldly, lay ourselves out for Him too hearty! Of all the things that will surprise us in the resurrection morning, this, I believe, will surprise us most: that we did not love Christ more before we died.
So humbling, so Christ-elevating and adoring!
May we forever, from now to eternity, be thankful for God’s mercies and so great salvation toward us, in the Father’s great love, the Son’s great atoning work and sacrifice, and the Holy Spirit’s great work of application in our hearts and lives!
We are all this poor worm — full of sin and not far from God’s eternal wrath — without Christ. If you are not affected yet by God’s work of salvation, come to Him recognizing your sin, ask Him this day to save you — to grant you repentance from all your sins and to forgive you, and to cleanse you from the dirtiness of sin, and keep asking Him until He does, to save you from that everlasting ring of fire all men are in until brought out by His gracious hand into His bosom. Please, seek Him now, while you still have today, as tomorrow — even the next heartbeat — is not guaranteed.
Consider this promise:
John 6:37 – “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.“
May God grant us understanding of who we are without the Lord Christ Jesus, who He is and what He has done, and may He apply His salvific work to our hearts! Amen!
The above quote was from JC Ryle’s book “Holiness” (chapter 15) from Chapel Library, which you can get various e-versions for free or order a hardcopy for free here:
JC Ryle’s “Holiness” from Chapel Library
Also, you can listen to our audio recordings of chapter 15 entitled “Lovest Thou Me?”:
JC Ryle – Holiness