Proverbs 11:30

An Exposition of the Book of Proverbs
Charles Bridges

"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life,
and he who wins souls is wise."

Here is the fruit of the flourishing branch (verse 28). The whole course of the righteous--his influence, his prayers, his instruction, his example--is a tree of life. What the tree of life was in paradise and what it will be in heaven, that he is in this wilderness: fruitful, nourishing, healing. And surely he, who by these means wins souls to righteousness and salvation, is wise indeed. He only who purchased them by his blood can win them to himself (and he who knows that work will give him all the praise!); yet he has set apart men for the work of drawing souls to God and to the love of him, sweetly gaining and making a holy conquest of them to God.

This was the wisdom of our Divine Master. He taught the people as they were able to bear it, accommodating himself to their convenience and their prejudices, if that he might win their souls. And truly were these opportunities "his meat and drink." For when wearied with his journey he sat down on the well thirsting for water, far more intensely did he thirst for the soul of the poor sinner before him; and having won her to himself, he forgot his own need in the joy of her salvation.

In close walking after this pattern of wisdom did the great Apostle "become all things to all men, that he might by all means gain some." God grant that no Minister of Christ may spend a day without laboring to win at least one soul for heaven!

But this fruit, this wisdom, is not confined to the sacred calling. Do we love our Lord? Arise, let us follow in this happy work, and he will honor us. The righteous wife wins her husband's soul by the wisdom of meekness and sobriety. The godly neighbor wins his fellow sinner by the patient energy of faith and love. No man in the true Church of God lives unto himself. The Christian who neglects his brother's salvation fearfully hazards his own. He is gone back to his native selfishness if he does not exhibit that "love and kindness of God which has appeared unto men." We should be diamonds in the luster of grace, magnets for our attractive power in winning souls. How poor is the miter or the crown, and how debasing the wisdom of the philosopher, the scholar, or the statesman compared with this wisdom! For wise indeed we must be to win souls, so hard are they to be won! If only one soul be taken, the honor passes thought. As Quesnel states, "A soul is a kingdom. As many as we can bring back to God are so many kingdoms reconquered." No ambition so great, no results so glorious. "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever" (Dan. 12:3).

Every soul won by this wisdom will be a fresh jewel in the Savior's crown, a polished stone in that temple in which he will be honored throughout eternity.

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