We're making big changes. Please try out the beta site at beta.ccel.org and send us feedback. Thank you!
« Prev 98. WHATSOEVER YE DO, DO IT HEARTILY, AS TO THE… Next »

98

"WHATSOEVER YE DO, DO IT HEARTILY, AS TO THE LORD."

God, in his word, opposes every tendency and every effort to break up life into two parts; one for ourselves and one for God. He allows no division, no separation; no six days of the week for us and Sunday for God. No unconsecrated life interspersed with consecrated moments. No unhallowed existence through which at distances a sacred thread is interwoven. No life apart from religion marked here and there with piety. No, the claim of Scripture on this point is absolute, and though it seems strange to us, the claim remains: ""Pray without ceasing;" in everything give thanks; rejoice in God always; and: "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord" (Col. 3:23).

To Thessalonica Paul writes: "Pray without ceasing. Rejoice evermore. In everything give thanks" (I Thess. 5 : 16, 17, 18) . To the Philippians: "Rejoice in the Lord always" (Phil. 4:4). And to those at Colosse: '"Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord" (Col. 3:23). There is no respite given. No compact made with you. God takes no pleasure with anything less than all of your life. Where faith becomes the rule of life, its dominion aims to be absolute. No finds, no excuses, no half-measures are tolerated. He who would live this life as a child of God, as a servant of Jesus Christ, inspired by the Holy Ghost, must 533 be led and carried in everything by faith. He who divides and makes distinctions robs God of a part that is God's. If you would love God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength, every subterfuge is closed off, and the all-claiming and all-demanding character of faith is founded in Love itself.

Every division works injury to your life, and to your religion. He who makes division here, and does too much for religion, neglects his family or his calling. And he who divides and is not pious, gives the lion-share to the world, and with an avaricious heart deducts from what he pretends to set aside for God in strength, time and money. He who would have the blessing of nearness unto God and of going through life in secret fellowship with God, can not cultivate it spasmodically. With him God must be known in everything he undertakes to do. God must be the sole end and aim, God must be entreated and given thanks. This can not be done in a formal way with closing of eyes and folding of hands and muttering of words, but in the inmost chamber of the heart and in that hidden recess of self-consciousness whence are the issues of life as well as of prayer.

This is opposed by the idea that a clergyman can continually turn this fellowship with God into a reality in life, but not a business man; that the man or woman who is zealous for missions, philanthropy or evangelization, stands in holy service before God, but not the father and mother in the family. The work of a clergyman, missionary or nurse is then called consecrated labor, and the work performed by the gardener, merchant or seamstress is said to be secular. This false representation 534 of the matter has worked much injury to piety and to vital godliness.

It goes without saying that he who ministers in the sanctuary is of itself more closely engaged with holy things, and enjoys an uncommon privilege, of which he shall give an account before God. Nor can it be denied that at the exchange and in the shop it takes more effort and victory over self to continue in everything near unto God. This is a greater struggle in which God knows what we are made of, and is mindful that we are dust. But by the side of this stands the fact that ministering in the sanctuary brings with it in no small measure the danger of becoming accustomed to holy things, and of handling the same more and more with unholy hands, whereby judgment is made so much the heavier. In best churches and in most excellent missions also evil times returned again and again, in which priests and priestesses profaned the sanctuary, and when not from among them, but from among plain patrons and working people and shop-keepers and merchants the new action arose, which restored the holy to honor. A pious preacher, a godly missionary, a consecrated nurse, and likewise a truly godly warden, elder or deacon, represents a glorious power. But it is a mistake to think that of itself the more consecrated calling brings true godliness with it. Young preachers of tender consciences, have frequently been bound to confess that they were put to shame by the godliness of many a plain member of their congregation. 535 Moreover, it must be granted that in our extremely defective condition certain definite and special consecration of a part of our life, of our strength and of our money to religious activities and interests is necessary. You can not serve God all the days of your life in such a way but that the day of rest retains its supreme significance. You can not continue near unto God in everything you do in such a way, but that the particular moments of direct prayer, of worship in the Word, and of thanksgiving and praise continue to be a need of the heart. Neither can you practice justice and compassion in everything in such a way, but that setting apart of special gifts for the service of God is appreciated by you as a sacred duty.

In the Jerusalem above this duality also shall fall away. The church triumphant in heaven shall not stand in, nor by the side of, the life of glory, but shall be that life itself. But such it is not as yet here. It can not be otherwise but that here this duality continues. The church is something else than the family or the shop. The mighty antithesis between things of this world and things of the Kingdom demands this. But this may never allow religion, piety or godliness so to withdraw itself within the sacred domain as to become a churchly life with godliness by the side of a life in the world without godliness. Godliness may find a more exalted utterance within the sacred domain, and impart strength for daily 536 life, but to be true and genuine, it must be a golden thread that maintains its glistening brightness throughout all of life.

It all depends on whether you truly believe that God is almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth. Whether you believe and consider that every material you handle is his creature; that every article of food and drink on your table is his creature and his gift; that your body and all your senses are his embroidery; that every force of nature with which you come in contact, is his omnipresent working; that every circumstance you encounter has been appointed you by God; that every relation in which you are placed by blood, by marriage, by appointment or choice, has come to you under and by his providential plan; that your every exigency and difficulty has been put in your way by God; that every task or duty to which you are called comes to you from God and has a definite significance in his government; that you can not think of anything so high or so low on earth but it all forms a link, great or small, in the chain of his dispositions; that no joy is enjoyed and no suffering suffered, but God measures it out to you; in brief, that nothing can be thought of in heaven or on earth, and nothing can exist, but God, who created heaven and earth, maintains and governs it, has a holy purpose with it all, in everything is God who disposes and ordains, and who in all things uses his people, which includes you, to carry out his counsel. To make an exception of 537 anything whatever with reference to this, is unbelief.

When, therefore, the Apostle says: "Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord," he says nothing but what immediately flows from your confession that you believe in God the Father Almighty, the Creator of heaven and earth. For then there is nothing in your personal life, or in your family life, or in your study and work, or in anything you do, that would separate you from God, and that should not rather, provided it is rightly interpreted, lead you to God. You can, indeed not sin as to the Lord. Sin separates, breaks fellowship and throws you back upon yourself. But for the rest, whether you stand behind the counter or work at your trade; whether you sit in your office; whether you lose yourself in study or devote yourself to art; whether you are at home or in other company--it all can and must be one working, one activity with strength imparted of God, in things Divinely created, for a purpose which God has ordained.

Hence the question is whether your faith, not in the mysteries of salvation, no, but your faith first of all in God as Creator of heaven and earth floats with you as a drop of oil on the waters, or whether it permeates all of your life and is applied by you to everything. In case of the latter there is no division anywhere, and the man who plows and sows, the carpenter at the bench or the stone layer, the mother who cares for her children and her home, in brief, every man and woman, in any 538 position of life whatsoever, never labor apart from God, but always in his creation and in his service.

Then to be near unto God, the fellowship with the Eternal, the secret walk with him who knoweth the heart, is no sweet-smelling savor by the side of life, but the breath of life itself, spreading its sweet perfume upon your whole existence. Then in everything you are glad, because the majesty and the grace of God breathes upon you from everything and in everything. Then, in everything, you pray, not with the lips, but in the heart, because, in whatsoever you do, you feel your deep dependence upon his Almighty power. Then in everything you give thanks, because all trouble is outcome of his grace. And every adversity is intended to stimulate you, with the aid of ever more grace, to greater exertion of strength. Then everything will be done heartily, i. e., not mechanically, not slavishly, not of necessity, but willingly and gladly, because in this way you are permitted to do it in his service. And thus you attain that high level of existence where godliness and fulfillment of duty are one, because whatsoever you do, in quiet and restful nearness unto God, you are permitted to do as to the Lord.

« Prev 98. WHATSOEVER YE DO, DO IT HEARTILY, AS TO THE… Next »



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |