There is another strength in weakness which it is well for us to have. I believe that, when we preach in conscious weakness, it adds a wonderful force to the words we utter. When Mr. Knill went out to distribute tracts among the soldiers, he tells us that there was one wicked man who said to his comrades, “I will cure him of coming to us with his tracts;” so, when a ring was made around the minister and the blasphemer, he cursed Mr. Knill with awful oaths. Hearing those profane words, Mr. Knill burst into tears, and said how he longed for the man’s salvation. Years after, he met that soldier again, when the man said to him, “I never took notice of your tracts, or of anything that you said; but when I saw you cry like a child, I could not stand it, but gave my heart to God.” When we tell our people how we are hampered, but how much we long for their souls’ salvation; when we ask them to excuse our broken language, for it is the utterance of our hearts, they believe in our sincerity, for they see how our hearts are breaking, and they are moved by what we say. The man who grinds out theology at so much a yard has no power over men; the people need men who can feel,—men of heart, weak and feeble men, who can sympathize with the timid and sorrowful. It is a blessed thing if a minister can weep his way into men’s souls, or even stammer a path into their hearts. So, brethren, do not be afraid of being weak, but rejoice to be able to say, with the apostle, “When I am weak, then am I strong.”
An All-Round Ministry: Addresses to Ministers and Students (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2009), 220–221.