Alert For Souls

    Frances Ridley Havergal tells us how she missed gathering fruit near at hand for the heavenly kingdom. When she was at home in the country during school vacation, she used to have some of the village girls at the rectory to teach them singing. She was very eager to help them, and after the singing class, used to walk with them down the drive to the gate, chatting with them, seeking to bring a little sunshine into their lives, but never getting to personal spiritual talk.

    Years afterwards, she was asked to visit a dying woman, and on going, discovered she was one who attended the singing class as a girl. As Miss Havergal sat at the bedside, the woman said to her: "I often wished in those days that you would speak to me about my soul, and I often lingered at the gate after the others had gone, hoping you would do so, but you never did. Some time afterwards, someone else led me to the Savior, but I ought to have been yours, Miss Frances, I ought to have been yours."

    Miss Havergal says that often in the days which followed, when she felt inclined to neglect any opportunity or shirk any duty, she seemed to hear the plaintive words of the dying woman, "I ought to have been yours, Miss Frances, I ought to have been yours." Fortunately the fruit was gathered by other hands, but Miss Havergal missed the privilege of being the fruit-gatherer. And tragically, sometimes the fruit we neglect spoils and is forever lost, because no one gathers it!

    From Hand-Gathered Fruit by Edward Last.