William Gladstone (1809-1898) was England’s prime minister four times, and one of the most important political figures of his era. He was also famous for being an active Christian.
Every day as Gladstone went up the steps of the Parliament building, he bought a newspaper from the same newsboy and said an encouraging word about how Jesus loved him.
One day, as Gladstone and his secretary were going into Parliament, another newsboy stopped them. “Hey, Mr. Gladstone, you know the bloke you usually get’cher paper from? Well, yesterday he was run over by a carriage and he’s going to die. He wants you to come get him in.”
“What do you mean, ‘get him in’?” Gladstone asked.
“You know—get him in to Heaven.”
Gladstone’s secretary protested. “No, no, no, you don’t have time to go see a newsboy! You know how important your speech today is. It could change the course of history!”
Gladstone thought a moment, then said, “One immortal soul is worth more than my speech in Parliament.” So he went to the little garret where the newsboy lay dying. Gladstone prayed with him to receive Jesus. He “got him in”—and then the boy died.
By the time Gladstone made it back to Parliament, a heated discussion was already under way. He gave his speech, and his side went on to win the vote.
Afterwards his secretary asked, “Sir, how could you have gone off like that and almost miss making such an important speech?”
“The speech was a very important and good thing,” Gladstone replied, “but getting that boy saved and into Heaven was a better, more important thing!”
—David Brandt Berg
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To comprehend a man’s life, it is necessary to know not merely what he does, but also what he purposely leaves undone. There is a limit to the work that can be got out of a human body or a human brain, and he is a wise man who wastes no energy on pursuits for which he is not fitted; and he still wiser who, from among the things that he can do well, chooses and resolutely follows the best.
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