A Sermon to One Hearer

September 5, 2007

“The Rev. Dr. Branner once promised to preach for a country minister in England, and when the Sabbath came it was terribly stormy, cold, and uncomfortable. It was in the middle of the winter, and the snow was piled high along the roads, so that traveling was hard. Still the minister urged his horse through the drifts. He put his animal in the shed, and went into the church. No hearers had arrived as yet. After looking around, the young man took his seat in the pulpit. Soon the door opened, and one man walked up the aisle, looked about, and took a seat, the hour came for the service to begin, but there was only one hearer.

The minister wondered whether he should preach for such a small audience, but very soon he decided. He felt he had a duty to do, and he had no right to refuse to do it because only one man would hear it. So he went through the whole service: praying, reading, singing, preaching, and the benediction, with only ONE hearer. When he had finished, he hurried down from his pulpit to speak to his hearer, but he had gone away.

Such an unusual thing was spoken of occasionally, but twenty years later it was brought to the minister’s mind in the following way.

The doctor being on a journey stepped down from his coach one day in a pleasant village. A gentleman walked up and said, “Good morning, Dr. Branner!”

“I do not remember you,” said the doctor.

“I suppose not,” said the stranger, “but we once spent two hours together in a house, alone in a storm.”

“I do not recall it, sir,” added the old man. “Tell me when it was.”

“Do you remember preaching twenty years ago, in such a place, to a single person?”

“Yes, yes,” said the doctor, grasping his hand, “I do, indeed; and it you are the man I have been wishing to see you ever since.”

“I am the man, sir; and that sermon was used of God to my salvation. I have become a minister of the Gospel, and out there is my church! The converts of that sermon, sir, are many.”

This story shows that God’s Word is very true, “For where two or three are gathere in My Name, there I am in the midst of them” (Matt. 18:20).”

From: “Religious Stories for Young and Old” by J.R. Beeke


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