ARTHUR STACE became known as Mr Eternity to the people of Sydney in the 1930s and his message went round the world in later years and is still circulating today.
Was he one of the rich and famous? No.
Arthur Stace was an illiterate drunkard.
Born in Sydney, Australia in 1884, to alcohol addicted, poverty-stricken parents, Arthur was neglected. He spent his time stealing milk and bread and searching for food in garbage cans. His schooling was almost non-existent. He could not read or write. He became a state ward at 12. He was sent to jail at 15. In his 20s he was a scout for his sister’s brothels.
On the night of 6th August 1930, Arthur Stace stumbled into St Barnabas’ Church and heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He realised he was a sinner and that saving grace was the gift of God through His Son. He repented of his sin and received Christ as Saviour. He experienced peace with God and immediately his whole life changed.
A few years later at the Burton Street Baptist Tabernacle in Darlinghurst he heard John G Ridley preach on “The echoes of eternity” from Isaiah 57:15.
John Ridley constantly used the word “Eternity” in his message, and at one stage he laid aside his notes and out of character for this disciplined speaker, he raised his voice and cried out “Eternity! Eternity! I wish I could shout out that word to everyone in the streets of Sydney. Everyone has to meet eternity. Where will you spend eternity?”
Arthur Stace had been a teachable, active and obedient servant since his conversion. His heart responded to the message and he cried to the Lord, “Here am I. Send me.”
In his own words, Arthur Stace said,
“Eternity went ringing through my brain and suddenly I began crying. I felt a powerful call from the Lord to write Eternity. I had a piece of chalk in my pocket and outside the Church I bent down right there and wrote it . . . . . The funny thing is that before I wrote that word I could hardly write my own name. I had no schooling and I couldn’t have spelt “Eternity” for a hundred quid. But there it was. It came out smoothly, in a beautiful copperplate script. I couldn’t understand it, and I still can’t.”
Arthur Stace spent the rest of his life writing Eternity over the pavements of Sydney, estimated to be at least 500,000 times. He was dubbed Mr Eternity by the Sydney press. Testimonies of how this word affected people have been heard ever since.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the centre of a great fireworks display on New Year’s Eve each year. For the 2000 event, an extra spectacular display was seen and it finished with the word Eternity blazing its span. Images of this spread throughout the world via the internet.
Arthur Stace, an illiterate drunkard, a petty thief, a pimp, a “no-hoper”
in an instant became a new creation in Christ
and lived the rest of his life
seeking to tell others of the free salvation
available only through Jesus Christ.
For the penalty of sin is death;
but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Jesus said “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
No one comes to the Father, except by Me.
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Thank you for the encouraging post. Being mindful of eternity, will hopefully impact the way we live our lives, on a daily basis! As Rob mentioned, even thinking about eternity can be a huge burden, when we realize we are not living according to the will of the Lord! That is a burden, that I don’t want to carry around!
The thought of eternity brings joy to the believer but dread to the non-believer. Many people try to convince themselves that the grave is the end. I have found that planting the seed of eternity has caused many to start thinking on spiritual lines.
I agree, Angela. Carrying around the uncertainty of eternity, is what I consider burdensome. Therefore, it definitely causes me to think along spiritual lines. “Being mindful of eternity, will hopefully impact the way we live our lives, on a daily basis.”
God bless you!
The concept of eternity can be either a tremendous comfort if we are certain that our eternal destiny is secure in Christ. If we are uncertain of what the afterlife holds for us, eternity can become a huge burden that will bear upon us until the day we die. In either case, our eternity cannot be simply ignored and pushed to the back of our minds.
Bro. Stace understood this fact and did everything in his power to get all of us to think about what our eternity holds. What a wise, Godly man he must have been.
Thanks for the encouraging account of his life.
He certainly was a wise man – but not as the world defines wisdom. He had no schooling and there was nothing wise about the way he lived before he met Christ.
Arthur Stace shows the truth of 1 Corinthians 1:27-28:
God chose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise,
and weak things of the world to confound the mighty
and base things of the world and things which are despised.
Arthur Stace WAS those things but when He responded to the claims of Christ, he became a NEW CREATION and countless people now thank God for him and his ministry.
Thanks for your encouragement Rob
That account of Arthur Stace’s transformation is nothing short of awesome! Thanks a lot for this post.
And many years after his passing from this life, his story is still told – even by those in power who used it for the fireworks display that reached billions. Sydney and beyond was also flooded with tracts of the story of Arthur Stace after that event.
God uses the weak things of this world to confound the mighty.
| God uses the weak things of this world to confound the mighty. |
Thanks for this, what a great story. Don’t you just love it when you know God has underlined a truth in your heart.
It takes me back to my early days as a Christian time and again someone would hear the Gospel and confess themselves powerless to resist God’s call, and they’d be born again.
I think The Lord is crying out for more tears in “The Church”, and a fresh appreciation of His son.
We were asked to sit during a chorus on Sunday, but a Down Syndrome girl simply stood up and praised her Saviour! I thought that was a fine example to the 90 odd other people in the room.
Oh that I would respond more sincerely to the love of Jesus, and give him the praise, and lead a transformed life…..
“If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out” Luke 19:40
That word “Eternity” written so faithfully by Arthur Stace, still cries out decades after he left this world. People read/hear his story and are convicted. Only the living God could change a life like that!
May we be as faithful in our God-given ministry!
Amen. Oh, what the power and blood of Christ can do in a sinner’s life.
His life was so radically changed – and many have been changed since through his testimony.
What a Saviour!