Commentary

Every Wallace Counts

God doesn’t only befriend people whom we happen to like

Abraham Lincoln was known for his compassion. The story is told that two women, relatives of General Lou Wallace, once came to the White House when Lincoln was president. They inquired about Wallace, who had been in a hard-fought battle, and wanted to know whether he had survived.

After learning that their loved one had made it, they spoke rather freely of their joy. In the battle there had been a casualty named Wallace but they were thankful it had not been “our Wallace.” Calmly and soberly, Lincoln responded, “Yes, but it was somebody’s Wallace, wasn’t it?”

Our Lord Jesus has given us the command to go and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28). There is not a single person in this world of five billion for whom God has not intended his wonderful message of forgiveness of sins and eternal life in Christ.

In the Old Testament we find this remark: “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!” (Ezekiel 18:32). In the New Testament we read, “[He] is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9b).

Could it happen that we conduct ourselves as if we were concerned only about “our own Wallaces”? If we had a choice of what kind of people join our local church, would we look only for those of certain personalities or backgrounds? Do we give our full attention to the fact that, no matter who it is, the Lord has redeemed this person’s soul and has a purpose for his or her life?

News of a death grieves us. Every Wallace counts. How much greater is the grief if we know a soul has perished without faith in the Savior? Pray that God would have us fix our eyes each day on the value of every single soul with whom we come in contact. Jesus had this view. He even gave his own life for every soul. He is the Good Shepherd who leaves the 99 in the open country, to look for the one lost soul.
Remember, “There is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).

The nineteenth century English preacher Charles Spurgeon once said, “In heaven’s courts there are today men that once were murderers and thieves and drunkards and whoremongers and blasphemers and persecutors; but they have been washed, they have been sanctified. Ask them from where the brightness of their robes has come, and where their purity has been achieved, and they with united breath will tell you that ‘they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb’” (Revelation 7:14b).Every soul is precious in the sight of our heavenly Father.
Every Wallace counts!

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Moldstad is the President of the Evangelical Lutheran Synod (ELS), based in Mankato, Minnesota. This article is reprinted with permission, from the September 2006 issue of the denomination’s church publication, Lutheran Sentinel.