Arthur Stace was brought up in Sydney, Australia, in a home in which his father was a drunkard and his mother ran a brothel. Early in life he began to drink himself, and alcohol got such a grip on his life that he was soon reduced to drinking methylated spirits and stealing food to stay alive.
When he was forty-six he found himself in a center for needy men, a place that provided food for those who were down and out but that required them to listen to a gospel message before they could have the refreshments. That day God spoke to Arthur and after the service he went out into University Park and kneeled under a fig tree and asked Jesus Christ to be his Saviour. There was a great change in his life and the Holy Spirit gave him the power to resist the temptation of alcohol, even when his friends continued to invite him to go out drinking with them.
About two years after his conversion he heard a preacher say he would like to go through the streets of Sydney shouting, “Eternity.” As Arthur listened he determined that he would go through the streets of Sydney and write the word Eternity on the roads and pavements. He did just that for the next thirty-three years until his death in 1967. Approximately every one hundred yards he wrote, “Eternity.” It is estimated that he wrote that one word half a million times.
News reports abounded about the word Eternity appearing all over Sydney. At first no one knew who the mysterious writer was, so he became known in the city as Mr. Eternity. In the 1990s an Australian TV network made a documentary about Arthur that was shown all across Australia. Then in July 1997 they erected a plaque in Sydney Square as a permanent memorial to him with the word Eternity on it. But the greatest acknowledgement of Arthur’s impact upon Sydney was the fact that as part of their millennium celebrations the city officials had the word Eternity displayed in lights on the Sydney Harbour Bridge for millions of viewers to see.
All Arthur Stace wanted people to do was to think about eternity and that is what I want to encourage you to do. As we have just entered into a new year the temptation is to be taken up with time, but let me exhort you to give earnest consideration to eternity. Remember, eternity is real, it will never end, and it is vital that you think of the question, Where will you spend eternity?
From the The Paper Pulpit by Rev. David McMillan, minister of Armagh Free Presbyterian Church in Northern Ireland.