Question Four: Am I a winner of men?
Not, Am I a professional? Not, Am I a secretary, an officer, or a committee-man of the Young Men’s Christian Association? Not, Do I belong to some band or training class to do personal work? But, Do I win men? Have I a consuming love that so constrains me that I cannot keep silent if I am placed side by side with a needy life? I saw Sir George Williams a few years ago. His very presence was a blessing and a benediction. He was a man less in talents and education than perhaps the majority of those in this room. And yet we are members today of an Association a million strong, because that man was a winner of men. Six of the original twelve members of the first association [SVM] were won by him through hours of prayer and faithful witnessing. When an old man of eighty-four, he said to my friend, Mr. Mott, “Are you ever thrown with a man that you do not speak to him about Jesus Christ?” He was a winner of men.
The other day in New York I met an old friend on the street, and, as I remembered how he had been blessed to my own life in former years, I recalled Tennyson’s phrase, “I am a part of all that I have met.” [from Ulysses paragraph 3] There was a time when, as I worked with that man, I had complained that in my place I had no opportunity, that it was secular work. But later I found out that he had had time in my place, years before, to touch at least four men a day in interviews. Now he is off at sea on his way to a distant land, and wherever he goes on land or sea he touches men. Do you? Do I? Are you and I winners of men?
The above excerpt is derived from the volume Students and the Present Missionary Crisis, which is the complete record of all messages delivered at the 1910 Student Volunteer Movement Rochester Convention. The volume is public domain. The book can be viewed online.