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, 


“Surprised at this greeting from a

stranger, I could only say, ‘Your face, sir,

seems familiar, but I can’t remember your


“‘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 Jesus.’?

“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 in

vited 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 plans?’

“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, Mabel?’

“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


“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 embarrassing.

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 host

ess, 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


V. Markwell