Work and the Life
God is the source of life and light and
joy to the universe. Like rays of light from the sun, like the streams of water
bursting from a living spring, blessings flow out from Him to all His creatures.
And wherever the life of God is in the hearts of men, it will flow out to others
in love and blessing.
Our Saviour's joy was in the uplifting
and redemption of fallen men. For this He counted not His life dear unto
Himself, but endured the cross, despising the shame. So angels are ever engaged
in working for the happiness of others. This is their joy. That which selfish
hearts would regard as humiliating service, ministering to those who are
wretched and in every way inferior in character and rank, is the work of sinless
angels. The spirit of Christ's self-sacrificing love is the spirit that pervades
heaven and is the very essence of its bliss. This is the spirit that Christ's
followers will possess, the work that they will do.
When the love of Christ is enshrined in
the heart, like sweet fragrance it cannot be hidden. Its holy influence will be
felt by all with whom we come in contact. The spirit of Christ in the heart is
like a spring in the desert, flowing to refresh all and making those who are
ready to perish, eager to drink of the water of life.
Love to Jesus will be manifested in a
desire to work as He worked for the blessing and uplifting of
humanity. It will lead to love,
tenderness, and sympathy toward all the creatures of our heavenly Father's care.
The Saviour's life on earth was not a
life of ease and devotion to Himself, but He toiled with persistent, earnest,
untiring effort for the salvation of lost mankind. From the manger to Calvary He
followed the path of self-denial and sought not to be released from arduous
tasks, painful travels and exhausting care and labor. He said, "The Son of
man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give His life a
ransom for many." Matthew 20:28. This was the one great object of His life.
Everything else was secondary and subservient. It was His meat and drink to do
the will of God and to finish His work. Self and self-interest had no part in
So those who are the partakers of the
grace of Christ will be ready to make any sacrifice, that others for whom He
died may share the heavenly gift. They will do all they can to make the world
better for their stay in it. This spirit is the sure outgrowth of a soul truly
converted. No sooner does one come to Christ than there is born in his heart a
desire to make known to others what a precious friend he has found in Jesus; the
saving and sanctifying truth cannot be shut up in his heart. If we are clothed
with the righteousness of Christ and are filled with the joy of His indwelling
Spirit, we shall not be able to hold our peace. If we have tasted and seen that
the Lord is good we shall have something to tell. Like Philip when he found the
Saviour, we shall invite others into His presence. We shall seek to present to
the attractions of Christ and the
unseen realities of the world to come. There will be an intensity of desire to
follow in the path that Jesus trod. There will be an earnest longing that those
around us may "behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the
world." John 1:29.
And the effort to bless others will
react in blessings upon ourselves. This was the purpose of God in giving us a
part to act in the plan of redemption. He has granted men the privilege of
becoming partakers of the divine nature and, in their turn, of diffusing
blessings to their fellow men. This is the highest honor, the greatest joy, that
it is possible for God to bestow upon men. Those who thus become participants in
labors of love are brought nearest to their Creator.
God might have committed the message of
the gospel, and all the work of loving ministry, to the heavenly angels. He
might have employed other means for accomplishing His purpose. But in His
infinite love He chose to make us co-workers with Himself, with Christ and the
angels, that we might share the blessing, the joy, the spiritual uplifting,
which results from this unselfish ministry.
We are brought into sympathy with
Christ through the fellowship of His sufferings. Every act of self-sacrifice for
the good of others strengthens the spirit of beneficence in the giver's heart,
allying him more closely to the Redeemer of the world, who "was rich, yet
for your sakes . . . became poor, that ye through His poverty might be
rich." 2 Corinthians 8:9. And it is only as we thus fulfill the divine
purpose in our creation that life can
be a blessing to us.
If you will go to work as Christ
designs that His disciples shall, and win souls for Him, you will feel the need
of a deeper experience and a greater knowledge in divine things, and will hunger
and thirst after righteousness. You will plead with God, and your faith will be
strengthened, and your soul will drink deeper drafts at the well of salvation.
Encountering opposition and trials will drive you to the Bible and prayer. You
will grow in grace and the knowledge of Christ, and will develop a rich
The spirit of unselfish labor for
others gives depth, stability, and Christlike loveliness to the character, and
brings peace and happiness to its possessor. The aspirations are elevated. There
is no room for sloth or selfishness. Those who thus exercise the Christian
graces will grow and will become strong to work for God. They will have clear
spiritual perceptions, a steady, growing faith, and an increased power in
prayer. The Spirit of God, moving upon their spirit, calls forth the sacred
harmonies of the soul in answer to the divine touch. Those who thus devote
themselves to unselfish effort for the good of others are most surely working
out their own salvation.
The only way to grow in grace is to be
disinterestedly doing the very work which Christ has enjoined upon us--to
engage, to the extent of our ability, in helping and blessing those who need the
help we can give them. Strength comes by exercise; activity is the very
condition of life. Those who endeavor to maintain Christian life by passively
accepting the blessings that come through the means of grace, and
doing nothing for Christ, are simply
trying to live by eating without working. And in the spiritual as in the natural
world, this always results in degeneration and decay. A man who would refuse to
exercise his limbs would soon lose all power to use them. Thus the Christian who
will not exercise his God-given powers not only fails to grow up into Christ,
but he loses the strength that he already had.
The church of Christ is God's appointed
agency for the salvation of men. Its mission is to carry the gospel to the
world. And the obligation rests upon all Christians. Everyone, to the extent of
his talent and opportunity, is to fulfill the Saviour's commission. The love of
Christ, revealed to us, makes us debtors to all who know Him not. God has given
us light, not for ourselves alone, but to shed upon them.
If the followers of Christ were awake
to duty, there would be thousands where there is one today proclaiming the
gospel in heathen lands. And all who could not personally engage in the work,
would yet sustain it with their means, their sympathy, and their prayers. And
there would be far more earnest labor for souls in Christian countries.
We need not go to heathen lands, or
even leave the narrow circle of the home, if it is there that our duty lies, in
order to work for Christ. We can do this in the home circle, in the church,
among those with whom we associate, and with whom we do business.
The greater part of our Saviour's life
on earth was spent in patient toil in the carpenter's shop at Nazareth.
Ministering angels attended the Lord of
life as He walked side by side with
peasants and laborers, unrecognized and unhonored. He was as faithfully
fulfilling His mission while working at His humble trade as when He healed the
sick or walked upon the storm-tossed waves of Galilee. So in the humblest duties
and lowliest positions of life, we may walk and work with Jesus.
The apostle says, "Let every man,
wherein he is called, therein abide with God." 1 Corinthians 7:24. The
businessman may conduct his business in a way that will glorify his Master
because of his fidelity. If he is a true follower of Christ he will carry his
religion into everything that is done and reveal to men the spirit of Christ.
The mechanic may be a diligent and faithful representative of Him who toiled in
the lowly walks of life among the hills of Galilee. Everyone who names the name
of Christ should so work that others, by seeing his good works, may be led to
glorify their Creator and Redeemer.
Many have excused themselves from
rendering their gifts to the service of Christ because others were possessed of
superior endowments and advantages. The opinion has prevailed that only those
who are especially talented are required to consecrate their abilities to the
service of God. It has come to be understood by many that talents are given to
only a certain favored class to the exclusion of others who of course are not
called upon to share in the toils or the rewards. But it is not so represented
in the parable. When the master of the house called his servants, he gave to
every man his work.
With a loving spirit we may perform
humblest duties "as to the
Lord." Colossians 3:23. If the love of God is in the heart, it will be
manifested in the life. The sweet savor of Christ will surround us, and our
influence will elevate and bless.
You are not to wait for great occasions
or to expect extraordinary abilities before you go to work for God. You need not
have a thought of what the world will think of you. If your daily life is a
testimony to the purity and sincerity of your faith, and others are convinced
that you desire to benefit them, your efforts will not be wholly lost.
The humblest and poorest of the
disciples of Jesus can be a blessing to others. They may not realize that they
are doing any special good, but by their unconscious influence they may start
waves of blessing that will widen and deepen, and the blessed results they may
never know until the day of final reward. They do not feel or know that they are
doing anything great. They are not required to weary themselves with anxiety
about success. They have only to go forward quietly, doing faithfully the work
that God's providence assigns, and their life will not be in vain. Their own
souls will be growing more and more into the likeness of Christ; they are
workers together with God in this life and are thus fitting for the higher work
and the unshadowed joy of the life to come.