by Dr. Jack
Electronic Printing by FFEP
Duty. I will say it again and again and again. The
word "duty," The most important word in the entire Christian language
concerning service for God.
Would you open your Bibles to Ecclesiastes chapter 12
and verse 13. Ecclesiastes chapter 12, verses 13 and 14.
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear
God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God
shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be
good, or whether it be evil."
In verse 13 it says here is the conclusion of the
whole thing. He said I have finished the book now. I want to tell you a
little summary of what I have said He said, "Fear God, and keep his
commandments: for this is the whole duty of man."
Our Heavenly Father, I thank you from the bottom of my
heart for this place, for those early days and now through these years for
these tremendous achievements and accomplishments and blessings and this
tremendous progress we have seen here on this place, for this miracle place,
for these miracle people and for a miracle-working God who has wrought so
much here. Now Father, I give you myself tonight. You know how much I want
to be a blessing and you know how much I want to be appropriate for this
occasion. So I pray that you will speak to my heart and through me. I pray
that you will speak to those who share with me this hour. In Jesus' name,
"Pastor, I have lost my burden for soul winning. There
was a day when soul winning was an opportunity. I used to enjoy passing out
gospel tracts on the street corner. I used to enjoy going soul winning. I
used to enjoy knocking on doors and winning folks to Christ. But, Pastor,
something has happened to me. I have lost my burden for soul winning. I
don't like to go soul winning anymore.
"Pastor, I will be honest with you. I do not enjoy the
Bible like I once enjoyed the Bible. There was a day when the Bible was to
me like a love letter from Heaven. God wrote it in bold letters just for me
and I loved to read its pages. But, Pastor, when I read the Bible now
somehow or other it doesn't speak to me like it used to speak to me. Pastor,
what is wrong? Why do I not enjoy the Bible like I once enjoyed it?"
"Pastor, I will be honest with you. I don't want to
come to church sometimes. There was a day when I delighted to come to
church. When the choir would sing the opening song, it did something for me
that nothing else had ever done. And, Pastor, when you used to preach I used
to enjoy the message and I used to enjoy sitting in the congregation. My,
how sweet the special music was and how wonderful the fellowship was. But,
Pastor, something has happened to me. All of a sudden I find myself not
enjoying the church service anymore.
"Pastor, my prayers seem to bounce off the ceiling. I
used to love to pray. I used to love to come into the presence of God and to
me it was like having an audience with the King of Kings. I used to love to
bow on my knees and spend hours in prayer. I used to love to fellowship with
God and He walked with me and He talked with me and He told me I was His own
and the joys we shared as we tarried there, none other has ever known. But,
Pastor, something has happened to me. All of a sudden I don't enjoy praying
anymore. It is no longer a thrill. It seems like my prayers bounce off the
ceiling and it seems like they just go out into the air. It seems like God
doesn't hear me anymore. I will be honest with you, Pastor, I just don't
really enjoy praying anymore.
"Pastor, I would like to talk to you. My Sunday school
class has become a burden to me. I used to enjoy teaching. I will not
forget, ever, the day that you invited me to take that Sunday school class.
As I stood with the open Bible in front of my little class of boys or girls
I recall, Pastor, how I enjoyed teaching the Bible and what a thrill and
excitement it was every Sunday. But, Pastor, I don't enjoy it. I find myself
sometimes not even wanting to come to Sunday school and I wish I didn't even
have a Sunday school class anymore. Pastor, what's wrong with me?"
"Pastor, my bus route, I used to like it. It used to
be that I couldn't wait for Saturday to come when I could go out and spend
four or five or six or seven or eight hours calling on the bus route. But,
Pastor, all of a sudden now I don't enjoy it. It is a drudgery to me.
Pastor, what's wrong?"
Right here, right here the men are separated from the
boys. The first step in backsliding is right here. When the day comes (and
it will come) that Bible reading is no longer an excitement to you and you
no longer want to do it, but you do it because it is right, you have become
a good Christian then.
That day when you don't want to go out soul winning,
that day when you don't desire to go soul winning and you wish you could
stay home and it is no longer an inspiration, it is no longer an enjoyment
but you do it not because you want to do it but because it is your duty to
do it, that is the day you mature in the Christian life.
When you do that which you ought to do because you
ought to do it and not because you like to do it that is the day the men are
separated from the boys.
Here is the difference between a great church and a
good church. A great church serves God when the tingle is gone, the
inspiration is gone, the excitement is gone, the thrill is gone. But the
church keeps on going. When they feel good about it and bad about it they
keep on going.
Here is the difference between rearing good children
and bad children. That person who says, "I have my sixth child now, or my
seventh child, and I don't enjoy anymore saying, 'This little piggy went to
market, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy had roast beef, and
this little piggy had none, and this little piggy cried wee, wee, wee all
the way home.' I don't enjoy it anymore. We used to get up at two o'clock in
the morning and feed the baby a warm bottle. Now with number seven, we just
prop the cold bottle on a pillow and go back to bed. Pastor, the enjoyment
Listen to me. You are not a good Christian because you
do what you like to do when you enjoy doing it. You become a good Christian
when you come to that place in your Christian life where the Bible is no
longer an enjoyment but you read it because you are supposed to read it.
When you transfer inspiration for obligation in Bible reading, in prayer, in
soul winning, in Sunday school teaching, in bus ministry and, yes, at the
Bill Rice Ranch as you work this summer, then you are a good Christian.
Hey, it is exciting here right now. This is June. You
just got here. The cowboy town has been dedicated. Boy this is great. Look
at this crowd. But long about the middle of July when it gets hotter and
hotter and hotter and damper and damper and damper and you get tireder and
tireder and tireder and it gets rainier and rainier and rainier and muddier
and muddier and muddier and you stay down here with your salary and you get
"broker" and "broker" and "broker." All of a sudden the cookout breakfast
which used to be fun, becomes work.
You used to say at the cookout, "Boy oh boy, look at
them pull that trigger and shoot that can of milk." Now you say, "Boy, they
are shooting that stupid can of milk again!" It is no longer a delight and
Listen, when you say by the grace of God I will do
what I am supposed to do, not because I want to, not because I am inspired,
not because I feel a great delight, but I will do what I do because I am
supposed to do it. Then I say, ladies and gentlemen, that duty is the single
most important word in the entire English language for the Christian.
Rescue the perishing, Duty demands it;
Strength for thy Labor the Lord will provide;
Back to the narrow way Patiently win them;
Tell the poor wand'rer a Savior has died.
Duty. Now I will be honest with you. I hate to admit
it. Many of the things I do I do because I am supposed to do them and not
because I want to do them.
I was thinking Monday morning about this subject. I
was thinking of all the things that morning I had done I didn't want to do.
It starts off with getting up. Somebody said, "I wish I were like Dr. Jack
Hyles. A bundle of energy, just bounce out of bed every morning." I don't
get up in the morning. I get resurrected every morning ! My left foot says
to my right foot, "Move." And my right foot says, "I moved first yesterday
morning. It's your time to move I never like to get up.
"But," you say, "Brother Hyles, what time do you get
Five forty-five. Every morning. Five forty-five on
Monday. Five forty-five on Tuesday. Five forty-five on Wednesday. Five
forty-five on Thursday.
You say, "Why? Don't you want to?"
No, I don't want to. I do not remember the last time I
wanted to get up.
"Well," you say, "why do you do it?"
Because I am supposed to do it, that's why. It is my
duty I am supposed to do it.
That is one reason why we ought to rally to this
Ranch, those of us who are friends of the Ranch, we ought to rally to Dr.
Bill III and Dr. Cathy and Pete and those others who lead us in the work
here. Why? Because we have sworn our friendship to them and as a friend of
the Bill Rice Ranch it is my pleasure to help. But if it is not my pleasure
to help it is my duty to help and my obligation to help. And when that time
comes where you do not want to send an offering because you are not
inspired, you send it because you are supposed to send it. And you send your
young folks here because you are supposed to send them here. And you do that
which you ought to do because it is your duty to do it.
When I was a kid my mother said, "Son, eat your okra."
said, "Mama, you don't eat okra, you suck it down. You go slurp and it's
She said, ''Eat it.''
And J said, "Mama, I don't like it."
She said, "Eat it."
And my mama taught me it was my duty to eat my okra. I
will guarantee you one thing there was no other real good reason to eat it!
There came a time in my life when the dear Lord looked
down and said, "Ole Jack eats his okra because he is supposed to eat it. Now
I am going to let him enjoy eating it."
This afternoon I got off the airplane. I drove to
Murfreesboro to a certain restaurant downtown that always has good old
country vegetables. I prayed for 35 minutes from the airport they would have
okra on the menu! I love okra. I mean I love the slimy, gooey, sloppy stuff.
I love the little old seeds inside of it that I used to hate because they
got hung in my throat. I love it. I walked down to the restaurant on a
corner of downtown Murfreesboro where I always try to go and get some fresh
vegetables when I am in town. I said to myself, "Praise the Lord!
Hallelujah! They've got boiled okra."
The waitress came and said, "What do you want?"
And I said, "I want a vegetable plate."
And she said, "What do you want on it?"
I said, "Give me some boiled okra, some green beans,
and some boiled okra."
And she brought me one helping of green beans and two
helpings of boiled okra. Bless God, I had the time of my life. You can have
your T-bone steak. You can have your prime rib. You can have your chateau-brian
(You didn't know I knew those big words, did you?) and you can have your
pheasant and you can have your lobster. You can have anything you want to
have. You just give me some old-fashioned boiled okra. You know why? Because
I ate that stupid stuff, pardon me, I sucked that stupid stuff and I sucked
it for years and years and years and years and years. I did it because it
was my duty and there came the day when God let me enjoy it.
God is saying, "I want to see if he will do what he
should because he loves me, not because it makes him tingle, not because he
enjoys it, not because it is delightful. I want to find out if he does it
because he loves me when it is not enjoyable, he does not tingle and it is
not delightful. The Christian who has character keeps on doing it. Why?
Because he is supposed to do it. It is his duty. And you keep on doing it
and one day the dear Lord looks down and says, "I think he is going to do it
anyhow. Holy Spirit, make it fun. Make it fun for him again." And the Lord
makes it fun.
I hate to say this. I don't always like to preach. Now
I usually do but sometimes I don't want to Preach.
"Well," you say, "Brother Hyles, what do you do?
I preach anyhow.
Two weeks ago our son David received a doctors degree
from a college in Florida. The commencement services were on Sunday night.
It was one of the greatest days of his life and his dad was not there. Why?
Because God has called me to pastor the First Baptist Church of Hammond,
Indiana. It is m duty. That night when I walked into my pulpit my mind was
twelve hundred miles away. But I preached. Why? It was my duty.
I challenge and charge you workers of this Ranch and
those of us who are friends of this Ranch. Let's renew our vows to God
Almighty to serve when we want to serve and serve when we don't want to
serve. To give when we would like to give and give when we would not like to
give. I charge you to say, "By the grace of God, this is my responsibility.
It is my duty. And when the day comes when it is no longer fun I will still
do it because it is my duty."
Someone said, "I slept and dreamed that life was
beauty. I woke and found that life was duty."
Another has said, "Duty is the cement which binds the
whole moral edifice together."
It was Heintzelman who said (now hang on every word of
this statement), "Be and continue poor, young man, while others around thee
grow rich by fraud and disloyalty. Be without place and power while others
beg their way upward. Bear the pain of disappointed hopes while others gain
the accomplishment of theirs by flattery. Wrap yourselves in your own virtue
and seek a friend and y our daily bread. If you have in your own cause grown
gray with unbleached honor, you can bless God and die,"
What America needs is a generation of young people who
will say I will do what I ought to do. I will (10 what I am supposed to do.
If in this service tonight I could inspire you to go
soul winning and you were to say, "I am inspired to go soul winning," it
would probably last until you witnessed to the first fellow at the first
service station on the way home. But if I could give you a truth that has
molded my life (and by the way, it has molded the life of Dr. Bill Rice, Dr.
John Rice, Dr. Bob Jones, Sr., Dr. Bob Gray, Dr. Lee Roberson, and every
other successful man of God who has ever lived), if I could give you not an
inspiration to do right but an obligation to do right and you will say, I
will go soul winning not because I feel like it but because I am supposed to
go," this service could change your life.
Somebody said, "Greatness consists not in one seeking
his own pleasure or things or advancement or glory but in seeking one's own
Edmund Burke said, "Never despair But if you do
despair, work on in despair."
One word separates the A's in Hyles-Anderson College
from the C's and that one word is duty. Somebody said, "He is a brain. She
is a brain." No sir. She does her duty. He does his duty.
One word separates the young man who sells his decency
and morality for an evening of enjoyment and pleasure from that young man
who walks down the aisle pure and clean and virgin. And that one word is
I am tired of people saying, "Well, Brother Hyles, I
am just highly passionate. I am just excessively sexually stimulated."
Oh phooey on you!
The difference between decency and indecency and
morality and immorality and virginity and purity is not who is stimulated
physically. It is the one who says, "It is my duty to be clean. It is my
duty to be pure. It is my duty to have honor. It is my duty to have
There is one word that separates that young lady who
walks down the marriage aisle clean and pure and gives herself to her groom
a clean, chaste virgin and that young lady who gives herself a spoiled,
soiled, unchaste, unclean body to her young bridegroom and that word is
That lovely girl is tempting to all of us. Those
beautiful lips appeal to all of us. That desire to embrace her is in all of
us. That desire to be lazy is in all of us. That desire not to work is in
all of us. That desire to sleep late in the morning is in all of us. The
difference between us is that some have given themselves to doing that which
they are inspired to do and some have given themselves to doing that which
they are supposed to do. Duty!
The difference in that loyal assistant pastor and that
turncoat, disloyal Benedict Arnold is duty.
The difference in that pastor who builds a great work
and that pastor who fails is the word duty.
Listen, there is not much difference between the
preaching of the great preachers in America and the preaching of those who
are mediocre. The difference is not in pulpit performance. The difference is
in obeying the alarm clock in the morning. The dif.ference is not in
preaching. It is in sweating.
I think I know what I am talking about for God did not
give me the gift He has given to others. God did not make me a ten-talented
man. I know my limitations. I do not have the brains or the depth of a John
Rice. I do not have the winsomeness and the strong leadership of Lee
Roberson. Nor do I have the eloquence of an R. G. Lee. But I learned one
time that I can get up as early as any of them. And I can stay up as late as
any of them. I can work as hard as any of them. And though I do not have
those natural gifts I can do that which God has called me to do. I can obey.
If you want to find what secret there is to my little ministry, you just
come to First Baptist Church of Hammond and you follow me around and you
will find that I have set me a schedule and that schedule is my boss and I
obey that schedule. When my schedule says get up, I get up. When my schedule
says go to work, I go to work. When my schedule says pray, I pray. When my
schedule says study, I study. When my schedule says counsel, I counsel.
I learned one time the spoil is not to the handsome. I
learned one time the spoil is not for the learned. I learned one time the
spoil is not for the scholarly. I learned one time the spoil is not for the
big. I learned one time the spoil is not for the humorous. I learned one
time the spoil is not for the dynamic. I learned one time the spoil is for
the one who says, ''I am to do it and I will do supposed it.''
I am going to support this Ranch. I am going to
support it whether Dr. Bill Rice is director or Dr. Bill III is director or
Pete is director or Cathy is director J am going to support this Ranch. Why?
Because J believe God has let this Ranch and the people here cross my path
and I believe God let the Ranch cross my path because God wanted me to be a
friend to this Ranch, It is my delight and my pleasure but when it ceases to
be a delight or pleasure J will transfer my motive from inspiration to
obligation and be a supporter of this Ranch.
Now, you are on the staff here and you say, "Boy, I'll
tell you. This is great. Oh boy, I am going to get to hear all these great
men preach and see all these deaf weeks. Oh boy, I'll tell you, I can't
Yes, you may last two weeks. But for those of you who
say, "I am down here to work, it is my duty, my obligation," you are the
kind that is going to get the job done. It is my duty.
I tell my Hyles-Anderson students the day is going to
come when you won't have the excitement of Hyles-Anderson College or the
thrill of the First Baptist Church of Hammond or the inspiration of Dr. Jack
Hyles and others The day is going to come when you are out on the field and
there is nothing to make you go soul winning but duty. It will be hot. You
won't have a good prospect in your file. All you are going to do is walk
down a street and knock on some doors. And J say, ''You listen to me, you
listen to me. When you go soul winning that afternoon God records a few
rewards in Heaven for you because it is y our duty to go.''
George Washington's motto was one wordóDuty. General
Wellington, that famous man who conquered Napoleon, said these words,
''There is little in life worth living for but to go straightforward and do
our duty. In one tough battle he said to his men, Stand steady, lads. Think
of what they will think of us in England.''
And they replied, ''Never fear, sir. We know our
Do you know why I don't watch Edge of Night? Do you
know why I don't watch The Secret Storm? And by the way, if you do, you need
to hit the mourners bench. You know why I don't watch all that sex-oriented
garbage with filth and drinking and martinis and lust and immorality and
indecency and broken homes and triangular affairs? You know why?
You say, "Brother Hyles, it's because you don't enjoy
I've got the same flesh you've got. I don't watch it
because it is my duty not to watch it.
A fellow came to my church about two years ago from a
seminary. He was writing a book on the great churches in America. He spent a
few days at our church. He wrote a book and he said, "The First Baptist
Church of Hammond is a church where Archie Bunker would feel at home." And I
didn't know who Archie Bunker was. The first question I asked him, I said,
"Where does he pastor?" The last time I watched a television program during
prime time was eleven years ago. I didn't even know who Archie Bunker was!
Somebody said, "He is a television star."
I said, "When does he come on?"
"Well he has reruns in the afternoon.
So, during a meeting, I got to my motel room one
afternoon. I was going to find out who would enjoy our church. Boy, I
thought it would be some guy that was testifying for Jesus. Do you know
what? I watched one time. He is the funniest thing I have ever seen in my
life. Honestly. Man, I would love to watch him every afternoon but I do not.
Do you know why? Well, because the program I watched told about his
son-in-law becoming sexually impotent. The entire program was around getting
his potency back. Now, I enjoyed the humor, It was fabulous.
"Brother Hyles, I know why you don't watch it. Because you don't like that
kind of garbage. "
Yes, I do like that kind of garbage. Now not the
immoral part, but I like his humor. I think he is funny. But I would not
turn my television dial in my living room to that garbage for all the money
in the world. Why? It is my duty to stay clean and pure and decent. That's
If you are a good Christian, you fulfill your duty.
You do what you ought to do.
Admiral Nelson had as his watchword these words,
"England expects every man to do his duty." His last words were these, "I
have done my duty. Praise God for it." At Trafalgar, the great battle there,
he raised the banner and on the banner were these words, written so his men
could see it as they marched to battle, "Not glory, not victory, riot honor,
not country, but duty." Duty!
Somebody asked me, "Brother Hyles, why do you preach
so much? You have about preached your voice away.
You notice I cough a lot. I have done it for years as
you well know. I get embarrassed about it. In fact, for years I thought I
had cancer of the throat. Most everything a guy could have, I thought I had!
I wouldn't go to the doctor for the same reason a lot of you folks don't
come to hear me preach, I didn't want to hear bad news! I knew I had cancer!
Why go and have it confirmed! Then one night about seventeen
months ago one of the doctors in my church came to me on
the way to church, and said, "Pastor, I think you are bad sick."
Well, boy, I got sick in a hurry. I said, "What?
He said, "I think you are bad sick. You better report
to the hospital."
The next day I checked into Billings Hospital in
Chicago. One of the most famous in the world. I had tests. They put me into
a little mini skirt, a little gown that came down just above my knees. And
you ought to see my knees. They are really something to behold, It tied in
the back but it didn't come all the way together in the back. They sat me
down, of all places, in the hallway of the hospital. That big, giant
University of Chicago Hospital and there I was sitting out in the hallway
holding my skirt together in the back. And I said to myself, "Lord, don't
let anybody come by that I know," You won't believe this but it is true,
Honest, It is true. The first fellow that came by was one of my deacons.
He looked at my mini skirt and saw my condition and
then he said, "Pastor, how darling."
I said, "Just shut up and keep going."
For days they gave me tests. They checked my head and
found it was empty! They checked my heart and found it was cold! Then came
the day when they gave me minor surgery and put me underneath a big old
light. They were going to run a big thing down inside my throat. It was
about forty-two inches long with a T.V. camera on the end of it. The doctor
watched the television screen while a camera went down inside my throat.
Somebody said, "Have you been on television lately?"
"No," I said, "but my gizzard has!"
The thing was about the size of a battery cable and
had a television camera on the end of it.
The nurse said, "We've got to put you to sleep."
I said, "No, I am going to stay awake."
She said, "We have to."
I said, "No, you don't. You can give me local
She gave me some shots in the throat and deadened my
throat. And I said, "Doc, tell me the truth. I want to know what is wrong.
He said, "Pastor, I will be honest with you.
Did anybody here ever have one of those things down
your throat? You know what it is like. I couldn't wait until it got to the
voice box because I just knew I had nodes, growths, or cancer, or something
on the voice box.
And I said, "Doctor, have you gotten to the voice box
"No, I haven't gotten to the voice box yet, Pastor.
"Well, will you tell me when you get to the voice
And he said, "Yes, Pastor. I will tell you when I get
to the voice box. "
"Doctor, are you going to tell me the truth?"
He said, "I am going to tell you the truth."
And then I said, "Doctor, are you down to the voice
He said, "No, I am not down there yet." Finally, he
said, "Pastor, I am down in the voice box now. "
What do you see?"
And he said, "Pastor, there is no growth at all on
your voice box. You can preach as far as I can tell now the rest of your
Did you ever shout with a battery cable down your
"Hallelujah! Glory to God! Amen! Amen! Praise the
Lord! Praise the Lord! Hallelujah! Glory to God! Amen!"
I got up and the doctor said, "You don't have a
A hiatus is a valve at the bottom of your esophagus
that opens up when the food goes down and when the food goes down it closes
up again. I don't have one so my food is just like an elevator. It goes down
and up and down and up. I am eating last Wednesday's breakfast right now! I
am like the cows out here on the Ranch. I put it down there and then bring
it up and eat it a little while later! Over and over and over and over
again. That's why I cough and clear my throat, because I have food down
there. Brother, it may bother you but it doesn't bother me. I walked out of
that hospital and ran up and down the University of Chicago campus with my
shoes off; it was about freezing and it was raining. I hollered, "Hey, I can
preach! I can preach! I can preach! I can preach!" One longhaired freak
looked at me and said, "I'll bet you could. I really bet you could!"
The doctor said, "If you will just preach three times
a week you won't have that trouble."
I said, "I will just keep the trouble."
You say, "Why?"
Because God has given me the ear of young preachers
across this country and as long as I have it, it is my duty to preach to
them. And if I've got to croak while I preach, I will croak while I preach.
I am not going to be like some of you lazy rascals. Some of you preachers
don't even know the sun comes up gradually! You don't even go to work in the
morning until you take your kids to school and then you go to work. You tell
your wife to take them! Or better still, let them walk. Or get them a
bicycle. I am not going to let kids start to school in the morning before
Jack Hyles gets to work. Get up! Why? Because it is your duty. Work! Why? It
is your duty. Be busy! Why? It is your duty. Duty. There is nothing like it
in the Christian life.
Epictetus said, "In life's drama we do not choose our
own parts and have nothing to do with those parts. Our simple duty is
confined to playing our part well."
As I said a while ago, if I have any greatness at all
(and I do not think I do) it is caused by doing my duty. Greatness is not in
the recital. Greatness is found in the practice room. Greatness is not in
the performance. Greatness is in the preparation. Greatness is not found in
the pulpit. Greatness is found in the study. Greatness is not an A on a
test. Greatness is in proper studying for that test.
Greatness is not in the dining room. Greatness is in
the kitchen. The greatness of that meal a while ago was not our eating it in
the dining room. The greatness of that meal was somebody diligently prepared
that meal for us. Greatness is not the World Series. Greatness is in spring
training. Greatness is not one inspired to great heights but one who works
in great depths. Greatness is not found on the ball field. Greatness is
found on the practice field. Greatness is not found in performing many great
feats. Greatness is found in performing many small duties. For if you are
what you ought to be in the practice room, your recital will take care of
itself. And if you are what you ought to be in preparation, the performance
will take care of itself. And if you are what you ought to be in the study
the sermon will take care of itself. And if you are what you ought to be in
spring training, the World Series will take care of itself. And if you are
what you ought to be in performing those little tasks and little duties that
God has given you as your obligation, then the performance and the result
and the record will take care of themselves.
You don't have to copy Jack Hyles and try to have
15,000 in Sunday school. You copy Jack Hyles when the alarm goes off at 5:45
in the morning.
I have watched Dr. John Rice through these years, I
saw him last night at First Baptist Church of Hammond, Indiana sitting in a
wheel chair. In a wheel chair in the room outside the auditorium about ready
to preach. In a wheelchair! He stood and preached to the First Baptist
Church in Hammond last night like he did 25 years ago. He had a heart attack
recently. He is not supposed to climb stairs. You bring him into the service
right about time to preach. He walks up and preaches and then as soon as he
is finished preaching he goes out in the car and goes back to his room to
get enough energy to preach the next time. By every right, the old man
should not be preaching. You say, "Why does he?" I'll tell you why he does.
It is his duty.
I wish I could transplant some of that into you. You
say, "I wish I had enough talent so I could be a great man.
It is not talent.
You say, "I wish I had a dynamic personality."
It is not a dynamic personality.
It is fortitude. It is character. It is decency. It is
integrity. It is honor. It is obedience. It is schedule. It is punctuality.
My mother used to say to me, "'Son, bathe."
I bathed because it was my duty and I still don't like
to bathe. You can't read while you bathe. You can't write while you bathe.
All you can do is bathe while you bathe. I detest doing something when you
can't do something else while you are doing it! But I bathed.
First thing I do in the morning is to get up. I don't
want to get up. The second thing I do is go to the bathroom and weigh
myself. I don't want to weigh myself. The darkest hour of my day is wh en I
step on those scales and I want to say like they said to the prophets of
old, "Speak peace, speak smooth things to me." But the scales always speak
harsh words, unkind words to me. I get up. I do not want to do that. I
weigh. I do not want to do that. I bathe. I do not want to do that. But it
is my duty.
I wrote these words one day: Duty determines my
schedule and my schedule determines my duties.
Most of the time, I hate to admit it, but most of the
time when I read my Bible I don't want to.
There are times when the Bible is right here and a
Sports Illustrated is right here. I look at that Sports Illustrated magazine
and you say, "What do you do, Brother Hyles?"
It is Bible reading time. I read the Bible.
Because I am supposed to.
"You mean Dr. Jack Hyles sometimes does not like to
read his Bible?"
Yep, a lot of times he doesn't like to read the Bible.
"Why do you do it?"
It is my duty.
I'll say this. Most of the time I don't want to go
soul winning. I said most of the time I don't want to go soul winning.
"Hold it, didn't you write a book on Let's Go Soul
"Didn't you write a book on Jack Hyles' Favorite Soul
"Didn't you make a tape on soul winning?"
"Didn't you make a record on soul winning?"
"Don't you teach soul winning courses in big con-y en
"You don't want to go soul winning?"
Yes, you are right. But once I start, I never want to
finish, And I start because it is my duty.
Tuesday morning I was standing at the checkout window
of a beautiful hotel. A very cultured, refined lady was checking me out and
I knew I was supposed to witness to her. It was my duty. And I said, "Could
I ask you a question, please?"
She said, "Yes."
"Do you know... "
And she said, "Know what?"
And I said, "That it is hot outside!" I chickened out.
I got a yellow streak down my spine.
You say, "Brother Hyles, you mean to tell me that Dr.
Jack Hyles chickened out?"
Yep, big chicken, too. I mean a giant.
"What did you do?"
I knew that if I waited any longer I would never do it
so I blurted it out. "Are you going to Heaven when you die?" Fifteen folks
were waiting in line behind me. I didn't want to do it. It was a resort
hotel and nobody at a resort hotel talks about Jesus or the Bible. When I
said, "Would you go to Heaven if you died?" she dropped her pen.
She said, "What did you ask me?"
"Are you going to Heaven when you die?" A tear dropped from her eye and she
said, "No, but I would like to know. "
With fifteen folks listening and waiting their time to
pay their bill, I told her how to be saved and she prayed the sinner's
prayer and got converted. She promised to walk the aisle the next Sunday in
a church. She finished the bill. I started to walk away. The folks behind
were almost popping because I was leaving and she said, "Wait a minute. I
want to say something to you."
I said, "What is it?"
She said, "I have been trying to find a church I liked
but I couldn't find one. I'd go from church to church and couldn't find one
I liked. Now I know. I wasn't looking for a church. I was looking for
And the folks back here were stunned. We were having
preaching and testifying right there in the hotel lobby. By the time she got
through, Man, I wanted to go to every doorman, to every porter, to every
waitress, and witness to everybody in that hotel!
You say, "You wanted to then."
Yes, I did but the starter is duty.
I was up in New Brunswick, Canada up near Nova Scotia.
One morning I got on the elevator and I wanted to
get back to my room right quick and two little boys got on. I was on the
eleventh floor. I was getting on after breakfast and the little boys wanted
to have some fun. They pushed every stinking button on that elevator! It
took us five minutes to get to the eleventh floor. I never wanted to wring
little boys necks in my life so bad. That night . I got through preaching. I
was waiting at the elevator. I was tired and weary. It was late. One man was
standing beside me. I said, "What floor are you going to?"
I said, ''Me too.''
The old Devil said, "He thinks you are pretty smart.
He probably thinks you are an attorney or a doctor and now you are going to
tell him you are a preacher."
I said, "Do you know if you died you would go to
lie said, ''No, I don't
I said, "Could I show you how to go to Heaven?"
He said, "I don't have time."
I said, ''If you had time, would you listen?''
He said, "Yes, I would."
I said, "Give me five minutes."
He said, ''I can't. I don't have time.''
We got on the elevator. As we got on, I quickly
punched the buttons for eleven floors!
He turned around and said, "This car is going to stop
at all these floors?''
"Yes, I think so." I got my testament out and said,
'You told me if you had five minutes, I know how long it takes to get up
there." By the time we got to the top floor he was interested and we got on
our knees on the top floor and he got saved.
Now that's what I am saying.
You say, "Brother Hyles, what did you do then?"
I got on the elevator and went back down and out on
the streets and did some soul winning. That's what I did.
Because I was inspired to do the second one. But I was
obligated to do the first one.
Choir member, when you joined the choir it became your
duty to go to practice,
Deacon when you were set aside to be a deacon it
became your duty to be faithful to deacons' meetings.
Usher when you were chosen to be an usher it became
your duty to man your post every time the church doors are open.
Sunday school teacher when you took that class it
became your duty to teach that class every Sun-day. I said every Sunday! I
said every Sunday!
It is your duty this year to give your best to this
Ranch. It is our responsibility to support it. As long as I have breath to
breathe and a sound and sane mind (and there are those who think I have
already crossed that line) but as long as I have breath to breathe and a
sound and sane mind, I am going to be a friend of the Bill Rice Ranch. I
want to. But there will be times when I will have pressing responsibilities
at Hammond, there will be times when I will not be able to see the financial
sunrise in my own ministry; that does not lessen my obligation to support
this work here, It is my duty.
I pastored (for almost seven years) the Miller Road
Baptist Church of Garland, Texas. When the church was running about 1,500 in
Sunday school I used to stand outside in the front and shake hands with
everybody who came in.
There was a shopping center across the street and we
used the parking lot of that shopping center for our service, for parking. I
looked across the street one Sunday morning and I saw a good looking couple
coming across the street. He was about six foot two. By the way, he was
built a lot like Dr. Bill Rice when he was a younger man. He was tall. His
clothes fit perfectly.
This fellow was a tall, good looking, handsome fellow.
His clothes were just a perfect fit. Everything matched just right. He had
beside him his little wife and she was less than five feet tall and I guess,
weighed less than a hundred pounds an(l just as cute as a bug. They were
striking. If they walked in that door back there tonight and you saw them.
you would say, ''I wonder who they are?'' They walked across the street and
I walked out and I said, ''My name is Jack Hyles.''
He said, "My name is Paul Sand.''
I said, "Is this Mrs. Sand?" He said, ''Yes, it is,''
"Are you folks new in town," I asked.
"Yes, we are. I am with the telephone company in
Garland. We just moved here. We live down at the bottom of the hill on
Miller Road. We have to drive by the church here every Sunday and we thought
we would just come to visit you this morning."
I said, "Well, I am so glad to have you. Welcome to
Garland and welcome to Miller Road Baptist Church and welcome to our
services."And they said, "Thank you."
They walked in, sat through Sunday school, stayed for
preaching, and both of them were saved that morning. Both of them were
baptized that night. They became model Christians. If I wanted to point to
somebody and say, "Those are Miller Road Baptist members," I would say,
"That's the couple, Paul Sand and Mrs. Sand." They were always present on
Sunday morning. Sunday night they were faithful. Wednesday night they were
always there. On Monday night visitation they were always there. I gave them
Sunday school classes.
One Wednesday night I asked my assistant pastor, "Do
you see Paul Sand?"
He said, "Pastor, I don't see him,"
The next Wednesday night they came back and again the
next Wednesday night. And then, again, they missed a Wednesday.
That's right where some of you folks are right now.
You go to church when the pastor is preaching on "When Will Russia Invade
Palestine" or if the pastor has a good sermon on the unpardonable sin you
go. But if you don't want to go you don't go. You say, "Oh, I don't always
get anything out of his sermons". You don't go to get something out of them,
You go because it is your duty to go. By the way, when you develop duty
performing then you will have gotten more out of it than you ever got out of
a sermon in your life!
I looked out one Sunday night and Paul Sand was
He came back the next Sunday night two or three weeks
in a row and then he dropped out again. Right where some of you are now. I
mean you are just half in and half out and half on and half off and you just
do what you are inspired to do when you ought to do what you are supposed to
And then Sunday mornings he missed and took a few
weekend trips. I hate weekend trips with a purple passion I hate them.
''Well,'' you say, "we always visit other churches. "Try that in the army,
Go AWOL and visit other army camps down south while you are gone. See how
that sets with the general up north.
Then the day came. Paul Sand came to my office and
said, ''Pastor, I am resigning my Sunday school class.''
I said, 'Paul, you shouldn't do that.''
He said, "Pastor, I feel the Lord is leading me."
Isn't it amazing how you can hide your backslidden
condition behind the will of God? God never leads any Christian to go
backwards. If God leads you to resign your Sunday school class it is because
He wants you to have a bigger one or to go preach somewhere.
I said, "Paul, you know you are backslidden. Paul, you
know you have been missing Wednesday night and Sunday night and weekend
trips have taken you from your class and sometimes you don't even tell us
you are going to be gone. Why don't you become the old Paul Sand? You know
how you used to be. You don't come to soul winning on Monday night. You
don't come to prayer meeting all the time, Paul, . in God's name, you are
going to backslide."
And Paul said, "Never mind. God wants me to resign the
He took his class record book and tossed it on my desk
like that and walked away. That has been twenty-two years ago.
The other day I was opening a big stack of mail. I
came to a letter. The upper left hand corner said Paul Sand.
Paul Sand. Paul Sand. Paul.. .yeh, the tall good
looking guy. Works for the telephone company. Had that cute little petite
wife. Sure. Taught a junior boys Sunday school class. Yeh, Miller Road
Baptist Church. Over 20 years ago. Paul Sand. I didn't even know he knew I
existed anymore. I am glad to get a letter from Paul Sand, I thought. I
opened the letter. Upper left hand corneróare you listeningówas his name and
the name of a Texas penitentiary.
It went something like this:
"Dear Brother Hyles, You may not remember me. My name
is Paul Sand. I lived on Miller Road down at the bottom of the hill. I
worked for the telephone company. My wife and I both were saved at Miller
Road Baptist Church. J taught a Sunday school class and so did she. J am in
the penitentiary. You see, Brother Hyles, a few weeks ago, I caught my wife
making love to another man in the parking lot of a shopping center. J got in
my car and drove home and got the gun out of the closet and J murdered the
other man and I murdered my wife."
I couldn't even comprehend. That handsome young man
murdering that cute little wife,
"Brother Hyles, J am now serving a life sentence in a
Texas penitentiary. P.S."
Are you listening?
"P.S. It all started the day I resigned my Sunday
Here's when it started. It started when he no longer
enjoyed doing what he was supposed to do and he did not transfer inspiration
to obligation as a motive for service.
Sit up straight and listen to me for a minute.
Listen. How about you? How about your responsibilities
here at the Ranch, in your church, at home. How about it? How about it? Is
there something that is no longer fun to do? Something you no longer feel
inspired to do? You have not transferred your motivation from inspiration to
Listen to me. J do not have the depth of a John Rice
nor the impressive look of Lee Roberson nor the brilliance of a Bob Jones
nor the eloquence of an R. G. Lee nor the mighty pen of a John Rice nor the
winsome personality of a Bill Rice.
You say, "How in the world do you do it?"
One word. For 32 years my watchword has been duty.
Duty. Duty. Duty. Duty. Duty.
I slept and dreamed that life was beauty, I woke and
found that life was duty.
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole
Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the
whole duty of man."
I call the workers at this Ranch to task tonight and
charge you to fulfill every duty of your office and responsibility this
year. And I charge every single one of us who are friends of this ministry
to support it until we face God and meet again our beloved Dr. Bill because
duty demands it.
Duty. Don't forget it.
Duty. Don't escape it.
Duty. Don't neglect it.
That's the difference between mediocrity and
greatness. And when mediocrity becomes greatness and goodness becomes best
is when the individual comes to a place where that which he ought to do is
no longer fun to do but he does it because it is his duty.
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