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Those Juniors, Part 26: Willing To Do

by Eric B. Hare

Last week: The child’s will must be molded by careful attention and patient love. It is all too easily crushed—and all too easily neglected. Every child, no matter how small, can be imbued with a sense of right-doing and have their will molded in a right pattern.

The Mystery of the Will
Paul speaks of the “mystery of His will,”1  and there is indeed something mysterious about the working of the will. It is a fact that when we find a conflict between the voice of our heart’s ideal and the voices of reason and conscience, and when we submit and make our will harmonize with the will of God, we actually get back much more than we give up.

“The warfare against self is the greatest battle that was ever fought. The yielding of self, surrendering all to the will of God, requires a struggle; but the soul must submit to God before it can be renewed in holiness.”2

“What you need to understand is the true force of the will. . . . Everything depends on the right action of the will. The power of choice God has given to men; it is theirs to exercise. You cannot change your heart, you cannot of yourself give to God its affections; but you can choose to serve Him. You can give Him your will; He will then work in you to will and to do according to His good pleasure. Thus your whole nature will be brought under the control of the Spirit of Christ; your affections will be centered upon Him, your thoughts will be in harmony with Him.”3 Weak though our will may be, once it is expressed, the door is opened for the will of God to do its work. The more we will, the more we can will. The more we submit to the will of God, the less submission will there be for us, because the fruits of the Spirit make us will to do those things that please God. At last, doing the will of God is actually following our own will.

Many years ago there came to my dispensary an old man who wanted some medicine to put on his broken thumb. As I took off the dirty rag that covered it, I was shocked to find that the thumb was dead and black and rotting off. The broken bone stuck through the skin, and already blood poisoning had set in. In genuine alarm I said, “Uncle, uncle, sit right down and let me cut that thumb off. It is dead, and there is no medicine that will make that thumb better.”

“No, no, Thara,” he pleaded, “put some medicine on it. You put some medicine on Saw Wa’s broken arm and tied it up with a stick and some rag, and it got better.”

“But, uncle,” I argued, “it is too late now. If you had come ten days ago, then maybe I could have put some medicine on it and tied it up with a stick, but now I must cut it off, or else you will die.”

“But, Thara, I want some medicine on—”

I thought he was just afraid that I didn’t know how to cut thumbs off, so I reached up among my bottles for a finger I had preserved in spirits. “Look, uncle, here is a finger. I cut it off, and it didn’t hurt. I have medicine and—”

He looked but was not the least bit impressed. “No, no, Thara, just put—”

“My dear man,” I said earnestly, “we have no time to lose. Come, let me do it now.”

“Oh, no, not now, Thara, not now, Thara,” he whispered fearfully, almost convinced that I was telling the truth. “Not now, Thara. I want some medicine on it first. There’s a medicine man in the village across the valley from where I live. He’s got some strong medicine. I’ll go and try his medicine for ten days, and then if it is no better, I’ll come and let you cut it off.”

“But you can’t live for ten days, uncle, with that dead thumb sticking onto you,” I pleaded. “Come on. I have the medicine; I have time; I can do it now.”

“Not now, Thara, not now, Thara. After ten days I’ll come,” he answered and I watched him go slowly toward the riverbank.

Every day I inquired of the patients who came from that direction whether they knew anything about Pati Soo Sar, who had the broken thumb, but I got no response until about the ninth day.

“Oh, you mean the old man from Thakwekla?”

“Yes, yes. How is he?” I eagerly inquired.

“Oh, we burned him five days ago,” was the sad reply.

Now, why did Pati Soo Sar die? Was it because he broke his thumb?


Was it because there was no balm in Gilead and there was no physician there?

No! It was because he was not willing. If anyone ever misses eternal life it will not be because he was a sinner, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, but it will be because he was not willing.

God give us ability and patience to develop and mold the wills of our juniors so that they may be willing now.

The Man to Be

Someday the world will need a man of courage in a time of doubt,
And somewhere, as a little boy, that future hero plays about.
Within some humble home, no doubt, that instrument of greater things
Now climbs upon his father’s knee or to his mother’s garments clings.
And when shall come that call for him to render service that is fine,
He that shall do God’s mission here may be your little boy or mine.

Long years of preparation mark the pathway for the splendid souls,
And generations live and die and seem no nearer to their goals,
And yet the purpose of it all, the fleeting pleasure and the woe,
The laughter and the grief of life that all who come to earth must know
May be to pave the way for one—one man to serve the will divine,
And it is possible that he may be your little boy or mine.

Someday the world will need a man! I stand beside his cot at night
And wonder if I’m teaching him, as best I can, to know the right.
I am the father of a boy—his life is mine to make or mar—
For he no better can become than what my daily teachings are;
There will be need for someone great—I dare not falter from the line—
The man that is to serve the world may be that little boy of mine.

Perhaps your boy or mine may not ascend the lofty heights of fame;
The orders for their births are hid. We know not why to earth they came;
Yet in some little bed tonight the great man of tomorrow sleeps,
And only He who sent him here, the secret of His purpose keeps.
As fathers, then, our care is this—to keep in mind the great design—
The man the world shall need someday may be your little boy or mine.


(Next week: “Unfailing Springs.”)

1. Eph. 1:9.
2. Steps to Christ, p. 47.
3. Ibid., p. 52.
4. This poem is from The collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest, copyright 1934; used by permission of The Reilly & Lee Co., Chicago, Illinois.

Copyright © 1973 by Eric B. Hare. Used by permission.

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