I have a vintage collection of little books I inherited from my late father. Most were published in the 19th century. I enjoy gleaning literary morsels from their yellowed, sometimes fragile pages.
One book in particular, despite its small size, stands tall in my view. It’s titled, The Traveller’s Guide From Death to Life. Imagine my surprise to learn over five million copies of this book have been printed in various editions. That is a lot of books even by today’s best-seller standards!
My copy, an early edition, describes its contents as being, “150 short and telling illustrations of God’s way of peace.” F. B. Meyer, who was a personal friend of evangelist D. L. Moody, is quoted in the book’s front matter. He writes, “It is like a collection of the leaves of the Tree of Life. Every page has enough gospel in it to bring a sinner to Christ.”
Meyer’s words reminded me of the stark contrast between his day and mine. He lived at a time when the majority of people in Britain, Meyer’s home, were reasonably acquainted with the God of the Bible. They knew what sin was, they also knew of Christ’s atoning death for sin. Thus the book’s appeal was to an audience familiar with the Bible. As such, the book largely urges its readers to put their trust in God’s work for them, to believe the gospel—God’s way of peace.
Today, however, the book’s content is likely to be lost on our Western society, one not familiar with the Bible. To illustrate this fact, a copy of the book offered for sale on eBay recently had this seller’s description, “Quirky book… A very strange book indeed…”
My attention was drawn to the publisher’s stated intent for The Traveller’s Guide. It was designed for giving away or for leaving in train stations, on board ships and in public waiting rooms. The intent is premised by these observations,
A good book will go anywhere, sea or land,
Gets into cabin or palace,
Reaches those otherwise unreachable,
Waits its time to be heard–Is never tired of speaking.
Can travel further and cheaper than any;
Is unaffected by climate, untouched by fever.
Once started off, calls for no salary,
Costs nothing to feed or clothe,
Never changes its voice, lasts forever—“
I couldn’t help but think how relevant these observations are even today. A good book still remains a powerful tool, one God can and does use to speak words of life into hearts and minds of inquiring souls.
GoodSeed resources are designed with this same outreach potential. Every GoodSeed book, as F. B. Meyer described, “… has enough gospel in it to bring a sinner to Christ.” Indeed, every GoodSeed book can be compared to a large gospel tract, one that doesn’t assume too much.
We who are privileged to work at GoodSeed International regularly hear stories from those who have come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, this through reading a GoodSeed book that someone prayerfully put into service.
As I was writing this post, it occurred to me that my little vintage book was given away more than a century ago by a concerned believer in Jesus Christ living somewhere in Britain. It eventually found its way to my library in North America via Australia where my father acquired it. Now, many miles and many years later, it feeds my soul and serves as tangible evidence that “a good book will go anywhere!”
Where might God take your GoodSeed book? What may be the lives impacted for eternity by its leaves of life? Many years from now, someone might write of you, though unknown, thanking you for putting a book into service, a book to minister God’s way of peace.