The evangelist, Rodney Smith (1860-1947), otherwise known as “Gypsy” Smith because of his Gypsy background, was born in a tent, raised on a Gypsy camp, never attended a school – not even for a day! Yet, he influenced the lives of millions of people for God through his powerful preaching. Here he recounts an oft-forgotten aspect of Christian discipleship – personal stumbling blocks.
‘IN A CHURCH I WAS WORKING IN, in Manchester, I frequently received requests for prayer for the conversion of husband, children and friends from one woman. She was a Christian, but she had one besetting sin, which handicapped her. She used to bring request after request, “Please pray for my husband.”
Well, we got him along, and when we got him nearly in, that woman would upset the whole thing. It was her temper; and when she did let go – everybody in the house knew; and her husband used to say, “Well, Mary, if that is religion, I don’t want it.”
She knew she was wrong, and she was sorry afterwards, and would ask for his forgiveness. He did forgive her, but, all the same, it hindered him.
One day I made up my mind that, when she brought another request, I would talk with her and be very honest with her. She did come, and I told her that the fault was hers, and that she must overcome her temper – that the Lord could give her grace to enable her to curb her temper. She took the matter to the Lord and committed it to Him, and He gave her the victory.
The time for spring cleaning came around, and she trusted the Lord. She had just got a new lamp hung up in the hall and a new carpet; and John came home carrying something on his shoulder. He did not know anything about the lamp – that was to be a surprise – and he came in, swinging round, and down came the lamp, and there was a clattering and a row, and a breaking up of things; and he waited for another row – he expected it in the natural order of things. He waited, and presently a quiet woman looked over the stairs and down at him, and said gently:
“Never mind, husband! It is all right; we can get another lamp.” And he looked up and said: “Mary, what’s the matter?” “O, my dear,” she said. “I have trusted Jesus to cure me of my temper.”
“Well,” said John, “if He has cured you, come right down and pray for me, for that’s that I want. If there’s enough in religion to cure your temper, I want the same religion.” John was converted that day.’ – MM, April 1909, page 56.
By ‘Gypsy’ Smith