One of my spiritual heroes is Rufus Moseley. I have read and re-read his books over the past twenty years. His thinking has influenced my life and I hope that he will influence yours as well.
Dr. Wayne McClain was greatly affected by Moseley and has written extensively about him. The thoughts in this article come from McClain’s book, “Heavenly View.”
Who is Rufus Moseley?
Rufus Moseley was born in 1870 and died 1954. Moseley served as a professor at Mercer University in Macon, Georgia from 1894 to 1899. He devoted his life to the poor and the sick, to men in religion and politics. He also witnessed to the leading individuals of these areas. A famous Methodist missionary to India, E. Stanley Jones, said of Moseley, “He is the most Jesus centered man I know.” In the early 1920s Moseley began writing editorials and a weekly column for the Macon Telegraph. The thoughts in this article come from Moseley’s writings for the newspaper. In some instances I have paraphrased his thoughts.
Who is Rufus Moseley – in his own words?
Question – What do you call yourself?
Moseley – I would like to be in close enough touch with the Lord so he would call me his friend, and I would like to have enough of his love in me so that I could be a friend to everyone.
Question – What is your religion?
Moseley – Jesus Christ did not come into the world to establish a new religion, but that we might have life and have it more abundantly.
Question – What do you aspire after?
Moseley – What I aspire after, and yet draw back from, is to be wholly alive in Christ, with his love firing my heart and his mind lighting up my mind. I would like to be every bit whole. What we all need is to have and live the life he came down and gave and gives to the world.
In what way is love at the heart of Jesus’ life?
Suppose there were a plague stricken district and here was a doctor with medical skill. If love should be at the heart of his skill, would he not carry that skill down into the heart of the plague stricken district to cure it?
Here is an appallingly ignorant people and here is a wise man. If love should be at the heart of his wisdom, would he not carry that wisdom down into the heart of that ignorance and bear with its limitations to cure it?
Here is a famine stricken people and here is a man with wealth. If love should be at the heart of his wealth, would he not go down into the famine stricken section to share it?
Here is a section where impurity and sin have spread their death and here is a good man. If love should be at the heart of his goodness, would he not carry his goodness into the heart of the evil, bear with it, take on himself the shame of it, let it break his heart if necessary to save people from that evil?
Here we are with the appalling plague of sin upon us and here is God, whose very nature is love. What will he do about it? To get into it to cure it will mean bearing it, and bearing it will mean his death on a cross.
What happens when we put God first?
No one can put God first and the things of God first without quickly getting back to God. No one can put anything else first, even the good things of life, without those things separating that person from the companionship, fellowship and discipleship of Christ.
We are led by our desire, affection or love. Whatever we love most shapes our whole inner life, and in the end, our outer life as well. Seek first the lower things and you lose the highest first of all. In the end, you lose the lower things as well. Seek first the highest and get the highest and also everything else.
God requires us to put and keep him first because it is the only way he can keep us in union with himself. In this union, he keeps us out of evil and tragedy and gives us the best kind of life. We can’t abide in Christ unless we love him best of all. As we love him best of all, we will keep his commandments.
God will work out everything in relation to you, your families, your business, your community and to the kingdom of God as you put him and his kingdom first. He will surprise you all the way with his wisdom as well as with his marvelous love and care. He that had all, gave all, and became the poorest of the poor that we may become rich. Because he gave and gives his all that we may have the all of God in and with him, we no longer belong to ourselves.
What do you think about capital punishment?
It is the worst thing that collective society does in times of peace. To have a man in your hands so you can do anything you please with him and then do the worst you can to him (i.e. execute him) is like killing war prisoners. Capital punishment is the extreme opposite of the true way—the Christ way—of overcoming evil with good.
You will never get rid of murder until you lift the people to an abhorrence of cruelty, unkindness and unmercifulness. When you fight the devil with fire, he always beats you for he has more fire than you have.
From the very nature of good and evil, evil will never be overcome except with good any more than darkness will be overcome except with light.
If evil could be overcome with evil, it would no longer exist. After all, it has been tried long enough and terribly enough to have been overcome. In this world, like produces like. It takes goodness to produce goodness and mercy to produce mercy. In the same way, evil only produces evil. There is no power to overcome evil except the power of good. God has this power and it is his goodness that brings an individual to repentance and to goodness.