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In His Steps "What Would Jesus Do?" By- Charles M. Sheldon
in 1897; public domain.
decided to, for the one hearts, do something different as I
take my time away as needed, post this public domain book as you will
read. This will keep content up and will be different than anything
the ministry has done to date.
many may recall the Christian campaign, ' what would Jesus do' this
shows there is nothing new under the sun, for it came from this old
book 1897. My thought of a new campaign is not, 'what would Jesus
do', but, 'What did Jesus Do', the one is something that was a
Christian fad, many youths wore T' Shirts and rubber bracelets with
WWJD, many of you remember, but how can Christians know what Jesus
would do, if they did not know the bible, for it tells us what Jesus
Did, WDJD, it should go viral LOL. It is far better, no one
can say in temptation, or a place, “Gee what would Jesus be doing
this case”, if they do not know what the holy bible teaches us,
just what Jesus did, a big difference indeed.
classic, public domain book, is a story, it ignited the many help
programs we have come to know. It is written as a story, and it was
published one chapter at a time. I will and feel lead to do the same.
31 chapters, one at a time, it is a classic and it is as real today,
may this make many think. I will post as the lord leads maybe a few
at a time, a break now and than? The lords will be done.
think , due to ending to home matters, this would be something I
could do, and it would just be a matter of pasting a brilliant
classic book one chapter at a time.
to pray for us and remember us.
sermon story, In His Steps, or "What Would Jesus Do?" was
first written in the winter of 1896, and read by the author, a
chapter at a time, to his Sunday evening congregation in the Central
Congregational Church, Topeka, Kansas. It was then printed as a
serial in The Advance (Chicago), and its reception by the readers of
that paper was such that the publishers of The Advance made
arrangements for its appearance in book form. It was their desire, in
which the author heartily joined, that the story might reach as many
readers as possible, hence succeeding editions of paper-covered
volumes at a price within the reach of nearly all readers.
story has been warmly and thoughtfully welcomed by Endeavor
societies, temperance organizations, and Y. M. C. A. 's. It is the
earnest prayer of the author that the book may go its way with a
great blessing to the churches for the quickening of Christian
discipleship, and the hastening of the Master's kingdom on earth.
Kansas, November, 1897.
hereunto were ye called; because Christ also suffered for you,
leaving you an example, that ye should follow in his steps."
was Friday morning and the Rev. Henry Maxwell was trying to finish
his Sunday morning sermon. He had been interrupted several times and
was growing nervous as the morning wore away, and the sermon grew
very slowly toward a satisfactory finish.
he called to his wife, as he went upstairs after the last
interruption, "if any one comes after this, I wish you would say
I am very busy and cannot come down unless it is something very
Henry." But I am going over to visit the kindergarten and you
will have the house all to yourself."
minister went up into his study and shut the door. In a few minutes
he heard his wife go out, and then everything was quiet. He settled
himself at his desk with a sigh of relief and began to write. His
text was from 1Pe_2:21: "For hereunto were ye called;
because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example that ye
should follow his steps."
had emphasized in the first part of the sermon the Atonement as a
personal sacrifice, calling attention to the fact of Jesus' suffering
in various ways, in His life as well as in His death. He had then
gone on to emphasize the Atonement from the side of example, giving
illustrations from the life and teachings of Jesus to show how faith
in the Christ helped to save men because of the pattern or character
He displayed for their imitation. He was now on the third and last
point, the necessity of following Jesus in His sacrifice and example.
had put down "Three Steps. What are they?" and was about to
enumerate them in logical order when the bell rang sharply. It was
one of those clock-work bells, and always went off as a clock might
go if it tried to strike twelve all at once.
Maxwell sat at his desk and frowned a little. He made no movement to
answer the bell. Very soon it rang again; then he rose and walked
over to one of his windows which commanded the view of the front
door. A man was standing on the steps. He was a young man, very
like a tramp," said the minister. "I suppose I'll have to
go down and --"
did not finish his sentence but he went downstairs and opened the
front door. There was a moment's pause as the two men stood facing
each other, then the shabby-looking young man said:
out of a job, sir, and thought maybe you might put me in the way of
don't know of anything. Jobs are scarce--" replied the minister,
beginning to shut the door slowly.
didn't know but you might perhaps be able to give me a line to the
city railway or the superintendent of the shops, or something,"
continued the young man, shifting his faded hat from one hand to the
would be of no use. You will have to excuse me. I am very busy this
morning. I hope you will find something. Sorry I can't give you
something to do here. But I keep only a horse and a cow and do the
Rev. Henry Maxwell closed the door and heard the man walk down the
steps. As he went up into his study he saw from his hall window that
the man was going slowly down the street, still holding his hat
between his hands. There was something in the figure so dejected,
homeless and forsaken that the minister hesitated a moment as he
stood looking at it. Then he turned to his desk and with a sigh began
the writing where he had left off. He had no more interruptions, and
when his wife came in two hours later the sermon was finished, the
loose leaves gathered up and neatly tied together, and laid on his
Bible all ready for the Sunday morning service.
queer thing happened at the kindergarten this morning, Henry,"
said his wife while they were eating dinner. "You know I went
over with Mrs, Brown to visit the school, and just after the games,
while the children were at the tables, the door opened and a young
man came in holding a dirty hat in both hands. He sat down near the
door and never said a word; only looked at the children. He was
evidently a tramp, and Miss Wren and her assistant Miss Kyle were a
little frightened at first, but he sat there very quietly and after a
few minutes he went out."
he was tired and wanted to rest somewhere. The same man called here,
I think. Did you say he looked like a tramp?"
very dusty, shabby and generally tramp-like. Not more than thirty or
thirty-three years old, I should say."
same man," said the Rev. Henry Maxwell thoughtfully.
you finish your sermon, Henry?" his wife asked after a pause.
all done. It has been a very busy week with me. The two sermons have
cost me a good deal of labor."
will be appreciated by a large audience, Sunday, I hope,"
replied his wife smiling. "What are you going to preach about in
Christ. I take up the Atonement under the head of sacrifice and
example, and then show the steps needed to follow His sacrifice and
am sure it is a good sermon. I hope it won't rain Sunday. We have had
so many stormy Sundays lately."
the audiences have been quite small for some time. People will not
come out to church in a storm." The Rev. Henry Maxwell sighed as
he said it. He was thinking of the careful, laborious effort he had
made in preparing sermons for large audiences that failed to appear.
Sunday morning dawned on the town of Raymond one of the perfect days
that sometimes come after long periods of wind and mud and rain. The
air was clear and bracing, the sky was free from all threatening
signs, and every one in Mr. Maxwell's parish prepared to go to
church. When the service opened at eleven o'clock the large building
was filled with an audience of the best- dressed, most comfortable
looking people of Raymond.
First Church of Raymond believed in having the best music that money
could buy, and its quartet choir this morning was a source of great
pleasure to the congregation. The anthem was inspiring. All the music
was in keeping with the subject of the sermon. And the anthem was an
elaborate adaptation to the most modern music of the hymn,
I my cross have taken, All to leave and
before the sermon, the soprano sang a solo, the well-known hymn,
He leads me I will follow, I'll go with
Him, with Him, all the way."
Winslow looked very beautiful that morning as she stood up behind the
screen of carved oak which was significantly marked with the emblems
of the cross and the crown. Her voice was even more beautiful than
her face, and that meant a great deal. There was a general rustle of
expectation over the audience as she rose. Mr. Maxwell settled
himself contentedly behind the pulpit. Rachel Winslow's singing
always helped him. He generally arranged for a song before the
sermon. It made possible a certain inspiration of feeling that made
his delivery more impressive.
said to themselves they had never heard such singing even in the
First Church. It is certain that if it had not been a church service,
her solo would have been vigorously applauded. It even seemed to the
minister when she sat down that something like an attempted clapping
of hands or a striking of feet on the floor swept through the church.
He was startled by it. As he rose, however, and laid his sermon on
the Bible, he said to himself he had been deceived. Of course it
could not occur. In a few moments he was absorbed in his sermon and
everything else was forgotten in the pleasure of his delivery.
one had ever accused Henry Maxwell of being a dull preacher. On the
contrary, he had often been charged with being sensational; not in
what he had said so much as in his way of saying it. But the First
Church people liked that. It gave their preacher and their parish a
pleasant distinction that was agreeable.
was also true that the pastor of the First Church loved to preach. He
seldom exchanged. He was eager to be in his own pulpit when Sunday
came. There was an exhilarating half hour for him as he faced a
church full of people and know that he had a hearing. He was
peculiarly sensitive to variations in the attendance. He never
preached well before a small audience. The weather also affected him
decidedly. He was at his best before just such an audience as faced
him now, on just such a morning. He felt a glow of satisfaction as he
went on. The church was the first in the city. It had the best choir.
It had a membership composed of the leading people, representatives
of the wealth, society and intelligence of Raymond. He was going
abroad on a three months vacation in the summer, and the
circumstances of his pastorate, his influence and his position as
pastor of the First Church in the city --
is not certain that the Rev. Henry Maxwell knew just how he could
carry on that thought in connection with his sermon, but as he drew
near the end of it he knew that he had at some point in his delivery
had all those feelings. They had entered into the very substance of
his thought; it might have been all in a few seconds of time, but he
had been conscious of defining his position and his emotions as well
as if he had held a soliloquy, and his delivery partook of the thrill
of deep personal satisfaction.
sermon was interesting. It was full of striking sentences. They would
have commanded attention printed. Spoken with the passion of a
dramatic utterance that had the good taste never to offend with a
suspicion of ranting or declamation, they were very effective. If the
Rev. Henry Maxwell that morning felt satisfied with the conditions of
his pastorate, the First Church also had a similar feeling as it
congratulated itself on the presence in the pulpit of this scholarly,
refined, somewhat striking face and figure, preaching with such
animation and freedom from all vulgar, noisy or disagreeable
into the midst of this perfect accord and concord between preacher
and audience, there came a very remarkable interruption. It would be
difficult to indicate the extent of the shock which this interruption
measured. It was so unexpected, so entirely contrary to any thought
of any person present that it offered no room for argument or, for
the time being, of resistance.
sermon had come to a close. Mr. Maxwell had just turned the half of
the big Bible over upon his manuscript and was about to sit down as
the quartet prepared to arise to sing the closing selection,
for Jesus, all for Jesus, All my being's
the entire congregation was startled by the sound of a man's voice.
It came from the rear of the church, from one of the seats under the
gallery. The next moment the figure of a man came out of the shadow
there and walked down the middle aisle. Before the startled
congregation fairly realized what was going on the man had reached
the open space in front of the pulpit and had turned about facing the
been wondering since I came in here" -- they were the words he
used under the gallery, and he repeated them-- "if it would be
just the thing to say a word at the close of the service. I'm not
drunk and I'm not crazy, and I am perfectly harmless, but if I die,
as there is every likelihood I shall in a few days, I want the
satisfaction of thinking that I said my say in a place like this, and
before this sort of a crowd."
Maxwell had not taken his seat, and he now remained standing, leaning
on his pulpit, looking down at the stranger. It was the man who had
come to his house the Friday before, the same dusty, worn,
shabby-looking young man. He held his faded hat in his two hands. It
seemed to be a favorite gesture. He had not been shaved and his hair
was rough and tangled. It is doubtful if any one like this had ever
confronted the First Church within the sanctuary. It was tolerably
familiar with this sort of humanity out on the street, around the
railroad shops, wandering up and down the avenue, but it had never
dreamed of such an incident as this so near.
was nothing offensive in the man's manner or tone. He was not excited
and he spoke in a low but distinct voice. Mr. Maxwell was conscious,
even as he stood there smitten into dumb astonishment at the event,
that somehow the man's action reminded him of a person he had once
seen walking and talking in his sleep.
one in the house made any motion to stop the stranger or in any way
interrupt him. Perhaps the first shock of his sudden appearance
deepened into a genuine perplexity concerning what was best to do.
However that may be, he went on as if he had no thought of
interruption and no thought of the unusual element which he had
introduced into the decorum of the First Church service. And all the
while he was speaking, the minister leaded over the pulpit, his face
growing more white and sad every moment. But he made no movement to
stop him, and the people sat smitten into breathless silence. One
other face, that of Rachel Winslow from the choir, stared white and
intent down at the shabby figure with the faded hat. Her face was
striking at any time. Under the pressure of the present unheard-of
incident it was as personally distinct as if it had been framed in
not an ordinary tramp, though I don't know of any teaching of Jesus
that makes one kind of a tramp less worth saving than another. Do
you?" He put the question as naturally as if the whole
congregation had been a small Bible class. He paused just a moment
and coughed painfully. Then he went on.
lost my job ten months ago. I am a printer by trade. The new linotype
machines are beautiful specimens of invention, but I know six men who
have killed themselves inside of the year just on account of those
machines. Of course I don't blame the newspapers for getting the
machines. Meanwhile, what can a man do? I know I never learned but
the one trade, and that's all I can do. I've tramped all over the
country trying to find something. There are a good many others like
me. I'm not complaining, am I? Just stating facts. But I was
wondering as I sat there under the gallery, if what you call
following Jesus is the same thing as what He taught. What did He mean
when He said: 'Follow Me!'? The minister said," -- here he
turned about and looked up at the pulpit -- "that it is
necessary for the disciple of Jesus to follow His steps, and he said
the steps are 'obedience, faith, love and imitation.' But I did not
hear him tell you just what he meant that to mean, especially the
last step. What do you Christians mean by following the steps of
tramped through this city for three days trying to find a job; and in
all that time I've not had a word of sympathy or comfort except from
your minister here, who said he was sorry for me and hoped I would
find a job somewhere. I suppose it is because you get so imposed on
by the professional tramp that you have lost your interest in any
other sort. I'm not blaming anybody, am I? Just stating facts. Of
course, I understand you can't all go out of your way to hunt up jobs
for other people like me. I'm not asking you to; but what I feel
puzzled about is, what is meant by following Jesus. What do you mean
when you sing 'I'll go with Him, with Him, all the way?' Do you mean
that you are suffering and denying yourselves and trying to save
lost, suffering humanity just as I understand Jesus did? What do you
mean by it? I see the ragged edge of things a good deal. I understand
there are more than five hundred men in this city in my case. Most of
them have families. My wife died four months ago. I'm glad she is out
of trouble. My little girl is staying with a printer's family until I
find a job. Somehow I get puzzled when I see so many Christians
living in luxury and singing 'Jesus, I my cross have taken, all to
leave and follow Thee,' and remember how my wife died in a tenement
in New York City, gasping for air and asking God to take the little
girl too. Of course I don't expect you people can prevent every one
from dying of starvation, lack of proper nourishment and tenement
air, but what does following Jesus mean? I understand that Christian
people own a good many of the tenements. A member of a church was the
owner of the one where my wife died, and I have wondered if following
Jesus all the way was true in his case. I heard some people singing
at a church prayer meeting the other night,
for Jesus, all for Jesus, All my being's
ransomed powers, All my thoughts, and
all my doings, All my days, and all my
I kept wondering as I sat on the steps outside just what they meant
by it. It seems to me there's an awful lot of trouble in the world
that somehow wouldn't exist if all the people who sing such songs
went and lived them out. I suppose I don't understand. But what would
Jesus do? Is that what you mean by following His steps? It seems to
me sometimes as if the people in the big churches had good clothes
and nice houses to live in, and money to spend for luxuries, and
could go away on summer vacations and all that, while the people
outside the churches, thousands of them, I mean, die in tenements,
and walk the streets for jobs, and never have a piano or a picture in
the house, and grow up in misery and drunkenness and sin."
man suddenly gave a queer lurch over in the direction of the
communion table and laid one grimy hand on it. His hat fell upon the
carpet at his feet. A stir went through the congregation. Dr. West
half rose from his pew, but as yet the silence was unbroken by any
voice or movement worth mentioning in the audience. The man passed
his other hand across his eyes, and then, without any warning, fell
heavily forward on his face, full length up the aisle. Henry Maxwell
will consider the service closed."
was down the pulpit stairs and kneeling by the prostrate form before
any one else. The audience instantly rose and the aisles were
crowded. Dr. West pronounced the man alive. He had fainted away.
"Some heart trouble," the doctor also muttered as he helped
carry him out into the pastor's study.