1 Corinthians 10:31

As the guests came into the

 beautifully lighted parlors at 

the home of Mabel Ashton that

 cold winter evening, there was

 nothing unusual in the way the

 rooms looked to indicate that

 this party was going to be any

 different from the many other

 parties they had been attending

 that winter. Some of the 

teenagers, as they greeted 

Mabel, noticed that she was

 unusually nervous, but, they

 thought it was just the 

excitement of the evening, and

 all were soon busy talking with

 each other.

The musicians were in their

 places, and the young people

 were beginning to wonder why

 the signal was not given for the

band to strike up, when Mabel 

Ashton, her sweet face first red,

 then white, walked up to stand

 by the band. She closed her 

eyes for a moment, and 

everyone stopped talking. Then

 in a voice that shook at first but was clear and steady, she said:

“Friends, I know you’re going to

 think me very strange; but 

before we do anything else, I 

have to tell you a little story.

“I had a dream last night, which

 has impressed me so much that

 I have to tell it to you. I 

dreamed that tonight had 

arrived, and you had all 

assembled here, when a guest

 came to the door and was

 ushered in. He seemed 

strangely familiar, and yet I 

couldn’t recognize Him. He had

 an unusual face, peaceful, yet 

a little sad, and His eyes were 

more penetrating than any I had

ever before seen. He was 

dressed in neat yet very plain

 clothing, but there was

something about the way he

 looked that set him apart as no

 ordinary man.

“While I was trying to think

 where I had seen him, he came

 over to me, took my hand, and 

said, gently, ‘You don’t 

recognize me, Mabel?’

“Surprised at this greeting from

 a stranger, I could only say, 

‘Your face, sir,

seems familiar, but I can’t

 remember your name.’

“‘But you have invited me here

 this evening, both you and your

 parents have extended many

 invitations to be present here

 anytime I can come. You’ve

 even invited me to live here;

 and I came tonight to join you

 and your friends.’

“‘I am very sorry,’ I replied, ‘but

 I’m even more confused, please

 tell me who you are.’

“Then he held out the palms of 

his hands, and I could plainly 

see the print of nails there. He

 looked right through me with

 those piercing yet tender eyes;

 and I didn’t need Him to say, ‘I

 am Jesus Christ your Lord.’

“To say that I was startled 

would be to express only a very

 small part of my feelings. For a

 moment I stood still, not 

knowing what to do or say. Why

 couldn’t I fall at His feet and

 say with all my heart, ‘I am so

 glad to see you here, Lord 


“With those eyes looking into

 mine, I couldn’t say it; because

 it wasn’t true. For some reason,

 that at the time I only half 

understood, I was sorry He had

 come. It was an awful thought,

 to be glad to have all my friends here, but sorry to see my

 Saviour! Was I ashamed of Him,

 or was I ashamed of something

 in myself?

“I finally recovered enough to 

say, ‘I’m sure you’d like to talk 

to my parents.’

“‘Yes, Mabel,’ He said, as He

 followed me to where my

 mother and father sat, ‘But I 

came this evening to be with 

you and your friends; for I have

 often heard you talk in the

 young people’s meetings about

 how wonderful it would be if 

you could have me visibly 

present with you.’

“I felt my face grow hot as the 

thought flashed through my 

mind, tomorrow night is prayer

 meeting night; I would have 

loved to see Him then. But why

 not tonight? I led Him to my 

parents, and somewhat 

shamefacedly, introduced Him.

“They both started in surprise,

 but, convinced by His 

appearance that there was

no mistake, my father welcomed

 Him and offered Him a seat,

 remarking that this was an

 unexpected pleasure. After a

 somewhat lengthy pause, he

 explained to Jesus that I had

 been so busy with my 

schoolwork and had so little

 variety in my life that I had 

been allowed to invite a few 

friends over for the evening. He

 explained that he believed 

dancing to be healthful exercise

 and the church looked upon it

 differently than it did forty 

years ago.

“As my father stammered on I 

felt myself flush crimson with 

shame both for my dear father 

and myself. Why should he 

apologize at all for what he 

considered absolutely right? It

 sounded so hollow there in the

 presence of the Lord! Didn’t 

Jesus know that my schoolwork

 wasn’t so pressing but that I 

could keep late hours, 

sometimes several nights a 

week, at parties?

“Then father, anxious to relieve

 my embarrassment, said ‘I am

 sure we can leave these young

 people safely to themselves,

and nothing would please me

 better than to take You, my Lord Jesus, off into my study 

for a talk.’

“‘No,’ said Jesus, ‘Mabel has

 often invited me, and I came

 tonight especially to be with

 her. Will you introduce me to

 your friends, Mabel?’

“Of course, all this time you,

 friends, were looking at us, 

wondering at our 

embarrassment, and perhaps

 guessing that we had been

 made uncomfortable by the

 arrival of a not altogether 

welcome guest. I

led Him first to some of the 

church members among you, 

and there was not one of you 

who looked so comfortable after

 the introduction as before.

“As it became known Who the 

guest was, faces changed color,

 and some of you looked very

 much as if you wanted to leave

 the room. It really seemed as if

 the church members were less

 willing to meet Jesus than 

those who were not Christians.

“One of you came up quietly and

 whispered to me, ‘Shall I tell 

the musicians not to play the 

dance music. But to look up 

some sacred pieces?’ Jesus 

heard the question, and, looking

 us both squarely in the face, He

 simply asked, ‘Why should you?’

 and we couldn’t answer. Some 

one else suggested that we 

could have a very nice evening

 if we changed our plans, and 

asked Jesus to talk to us. And

 He also was met with the 

searching question, ‘Why should

 My presence change your 


“After I had introduced the Lord

 Jesus to you all, and no one 

knew what to do next, Jesus 

turned to me and said: ‘You 

were planning for dancing, 

weren’t you? It is high time you

 began, or you can’t finish

your party before daylight. 

Won’t you tell the band to begin,


“I was so embarrassed. If my 

original plan was all right, His 

presence should only add joy to 

the occasion; yet here were all

 my friends, and myself, made

wretchedly uncomfortable by 

the presence of Him whom most

 of us called our best Friend.

“Determined to throw off this

 feeling and be myself, I told the

 band to play for the first dance.

“The young man with whom I 

was supposed to dance this first

 dance did not come for me, and

 no one went out on the floor. 

This was still more 


The band played again, and two

 or three couples, more for me

 than for any other reason, 

began to dance in a rather 

formal manner. I was almost

 beside myself with shame and

 confusion. Jesus turned to me

and said, ‘Mabel, your guests 

don’t seem comfortable. Why 

don’t you, as their hostess,

 make them feel better by 

dancing, yourself? Would it help

 you any if I offered to dance

 with you?’

“My confusion gave way almost

 to horror, as I looked into those

 tenderly sad eyes and cried, 

‘You dance! You can’t mean it!’

“‘Why not, Mabel? If my disciple

 may dance, may not I? Did you

 think all this winter, when you

 and others of My disciples have

 gathered for the dance, the

card-party, or at the theater,

 that you left Me at home or in

 the church? You prayed for My

 presence in the prayer meeting;

you didn’t quite want it here; 

but why not, My dear child? Why

 haven’t you welcomed Me 

tonight, Mabel? Why has My 

presence spoiled your fun? 

Though I am a ‘Man of sorrows,

 and acquainted with grief,’ yet 

I love to share and increase the

pure joys of My disciples. Is it 

possible that you leave Me out 

of any of your fun,

Mabel? If so, isn’t it because 

you feel that they don’t help you

 to become like Me and to 

glorify Me? Have you done these

 things for the glory of God?’

“I saw it all now. Overcome with

 self reproach and profound 

sorrow, I threw myself on the

 floor at His feet, and sobbed

out my repentance.

“With, ‘Daughter, go in peace;

 thy sins be forgiven thee,’ He

 was gone. “I woke up and found

 that it was all a dream. And 

now I want to ask you, my 

friends, shall we go on with the

 program tonight, or shall we 

discuss for a time the question, 

‘What can young people do to 

make the world better for their 

having lived in it?’”

Everyone voted in favor of the

 latter plan.

V. Markwell