New Yorker Stephen Merritt was an interesting man. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, he served Christ as both a minister and an undertaker. (He was the undertaker for the funeral of Ulysses S. Grant.) In addition to these two roles, he also worked tirelessly with overseas missions as well as his ministry to New York’s impoverished destitute. His ministry to the destitute was especially notable because he himself was a wealthy man who lived in a fashionable section of the city.
Merritt once extended an open invitation for all the homeless and outcast to attend a supper in his mission. Afterward, when he went to leave the supper, he found that some of the invitees had cruelly filled his hat with bacon rinds and other unsavory items. The act infuriated him, and he climbed atop a chair and passionately scolded the crowd for their ingratitude. He even threatened to call the police.
But before Merritt could finish his rebuke, the Holy Spirit brought the words of 1 Corinthians chapter 13 to his mind:
Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself; is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. (1 Corinthians 13:4-7, K.J.V.)
Convicted by the Spirit in this way, Merritt quickly stopped his tirade and right then and there apologized to the crowd, admitting to them that He had grieved His Lord. Then he invited them all to another dinner the following night. When he was finished, the practical jokers confessed their prank. That next night forty men accepted Christ as Savior.