Decision Without Procrastination
During the early days of the ministry of Dwight L. Moody, the great evangelist launched a series of meetings in Chicago with promise of the largest crowds that he had ever addressed up to that time. He was speaking of the life of Christ, and on the first Sunday night, October 8, 1871, he took as his topic the trial before Pilate. As he came to the end of his message, he turned to Mat_27:22, "What shall I do then with Jesus, who is called Christ?" He concluded, "I wish you would take this text home with you and turn it over in your minds during the week, and next Sabbath we will come to Calvary and the cross, and we will decide what to do with Jesus of Nazareth."
It may have been an artistic device. But speaking of it in later years, Moody called that conclusion to his morning's address the greatest mistake of his life. Even while Ira D. Sankey was singing the final hymn:Today the Savior calls
For refuge fly;
The storm of justice falls,
And death is nigh-
the fire engines began to sound on the street on their way to their first contact with the great Chicago fire in which Moody's hall was laid in ashes, and in which it is estimated that over a thousand persons lost their lives. Moody never saw that congregation again, and some of those to whom he spoke on that night doubtlessly died.