Though I speak with the tongues of scholarship, and though I use approved methods of education, and fail to win my pupils to Christ, or to build them up in Christian character, I am become as the moan of the wind in a Syrian desert.
Though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries, and can command great forces of argument and crush all who would dare argue with me, if I win them not to Christ I am indeed a noisy and harmful sounding brass, with no more value than a tinkling cymbal.
And though I have the best teaching skill and understand all mysteries of religious psychology, and though I have all Biblical knowledge, and lose not myself in the task of winning others to Christ, I am become as a cloud of mist in the open sea.
And though I read all the conference bulletins and Sabbath School lessons, though I raise my Ingathering goal and pay my honest tithe, and though I attend ministerial institutes and go to summer camp meetings, and yet am satisfied with less than winning sinners to Christ and establishing souls in Christian character and service, it profiteth me nothing.
The soul-winning teacher, preacher, and worker of any station suffereth long and is kind, and finds great joy only in scattering the words of saving truth; he envieth not others who are free of the teaching task and lowly estate; he vaunteth not himself to some great position of authority and is not puffed up with intellectual pride.
The soul winner doth not behave unseemly between Sabbaths, and seeketh not his own comfort and is not easily provoked, nor dwelleth upon evil reports concerning his brethren; beareth all things, believeth all things the brethren give for assurance, and hopeth all things will so develop.
And now abideth knowledge, methods, evangelism, these three; but the greatest of these is evangelism.
Melvin K. Eckenroth was Assistant Professor of Practical Theology at the Seventh-day Adventist Seminary when he wrote this article.