‘In old age… blossom at the end like a night-blooming cereus.’ This statement was written by a missionary to India, the late Dr. E. Stanley Jones, native of Baltimore, Maryland. He made a profound impact on all those around him because of his extraordinary faith and service to others. Later in life his work was acknowledged by Franklin D. Roosevelt and Mahatma Gandhi. In spite of a stroke at age eighty-seven that disabled him and impaired his speech, he dictated his last book, The Divine Yes, and addressed a world congress in Jerusalem from his wheelchair shortly before he died in his beloved India.
The night-blooming cereus (a family of flowering cacti) that he spoke of brings a beauty to the desert when it opens up at nightfall. Some say these plants produce fruit large enough for people to consume. Dr. Jones certainly knew something about blossoming in the nighttime of life and producing fruit in plenty; consider all those he touched along his way. His is a worthy testimony of living a meaningful life during the journey to eternal life. Do we, the older generation, do the same? Are we producing fruit that replenishes others, or do we complain about our circumstances and drain others who look forward to living full lives? By our attitudes, do we make the younger dread the inevitable – growing old? Many elderly people, without realizing, taint the purpose God has for them: to impact the younger generations by exemplifying reliance on Him and hope in His unchanging promises. We should be content, for Jesus has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5). – Reverend Billy Graham, Nearing Home
“I’ve not read ‘The Christ of Every Road,’ but for years keep going back to ‘The Way to Poise and Power’ and ‘Abundant Living.’ I put aside ‘The Way to Poise and Power,’ and each morning I have incorporated ‘Abundant Living’ into my morning devotional. I hope to one day have all of E. Stanley Jones books. It is always so amazing to read what was written in the 1940s and still what we need to hear today.” – Patricia Dekeyzer
I was sitting there, in a noonday Lenten Service 50 years ago. This man came out to speak, and of course, he was a famous intellect, and he started by saying he had never been discouraged in 25 years. – I had never heard anything like that. But, I could not write him off as an odd ball because of his intellectual prowess, nor could I dispose of him as a crank, for he was scientific. His name was Dr. E. Stanley Jones. He was a missionary in India, who worked with the upper class and won them to Christ by the thousands with his orderly argument. On this occasion, he said the reason he had not been discouraged was due to a simple workable secret. Jones said he had been trying to carry everything himself. One night, in despair in Lucknow, India, while praying in church, the Lord said to him: ‘Look Stanley, are you ready to turn life over to me or do you want to hang on to it and ruin it? If you give it to me, I will give you health, long life, and no discouragements.’ ‘Seemed like a good deal to me, so I chose it on the spot,’ said Jones. That made a powerful impression on me, because I had been brought up differently. I had never heard anything like that.
Within the past year, my best friend, Daniel, and I have truly discovered the writings of your father and it has changed our lives. Daniel is a pastor in the Virginia Conference and I am a pastor in the Baltimore-Washington Conference. We meet each week with a small group of pastors for accountability, spiritual growth, and church leadership .For years, our mentor, Dennis Dorsch, has spoken about E. Stanley Jones and urged us to read his books. Fourteen years ago, Dennis took my confirmation class to Mount Olivet Cemetery. And now I join him as we take our confirmation classes there. However, it was not until this year that I really got into reading his works. Each week, Daniel and I end up sharing with our group what we have been reading from your father or which of his books we have been able to find for sale online. They are extremely difficult to obtain otherwise. I don’t know what to say other than to thank you since I cannot thank him. All of his work continues to bear much fruit as there are those of us of the next generation who have discovered the truth in his writings and have changed our lives and ministries because of that discovery. I have shunned almost all other things, especially anything written in the past 10 years in exchange for the opportunity to read his works. I wish we could have met your father. He is a great man.