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Ministering To His Pleasure
“Wheresoever the gospel shall be preached... that also which this woman hath done shall be spoken of” (Mark 14:9).
Why did the Lord say this? Because the Gospel is meant to produce this. It is what the Gospel is for. The Gospel is not just to satisfy sinners. Praise the Lord, sinners will be satisfied! but their satisfaction is, we may say, a blessed by-product of the Gospel and not its primary aim. The Gospel is preached in the first place so that the Lord may be satisfied.
I am afraid we lay too much emphasis on the good of sinners and we have not sufficiently appreciated what the Lord has in view as His goal. We have been thinking how the sinner will fare if there is no Gospel, but that is not the main consideration. Yes, Praise God! the sinner has his part. God meets his need and showers him with blessings; but that is not the most important thing. The first thing is this, that everything should be to the satisfaction of the Son of God. It is only when He is satisfied that we shall be satisfied and the sinner will be satisfied. I have never met a soul who has set out to satisfy the Lord and has not been satisfied himself. It is impossible. Our satisfaction comes unfailingly when we satisfy Him first.
But we have to remember this, that He will never be satisfied without our ‘wasting’ ourselves upon Him. Have you ever given too much to the Lord? May I tell you something? One lesson some of us have come to learn is this, that in Divine service the principle of waste is the principle of power. The principle which determines usefulness is the very principle of scattering. Real usefulness in the hand of God is measured in terms of ‘waste’. The more you think you can do, and the more you employ your gifts up to the very limit (and some even go over the limit!) in order to do it, the more you find that you are applying the principle of the world and not of the Lord. God’s ways with us are all designed to establish in us this other principle, namely, that our work for Him springs out of our ministering to Him. I do not mean that we are going to do nothing; but the first thing for us must be the Lord Himself, not His work.
But we must come down to very practical issues. You say: ‘I have given up a position; I have given up a ministry; I have foregone certain attractive possibilities of a bright future, in order to go on with the Lord in this way. Now I try to serve Him. Sometimes it seems that the Lord hears me, and sometimes He keeps me waiting for a definite answer. Sometimes He uses me, but sometimes it seems that He passes my by. Then, when this is so, I compare myself with that other fellow who is in a certain big system. He too had a bright future, but he has never given it up. He continues on and he serves the Lord. He sees souls saved and the Lord blesses his ministry. He is successful—I do not mean materially, but spiritually—and I sometimes think he looks more like a Christian than I do, so happy, so satisfied. After all, what do I get out of this? He has a good time; I have all the bad time. He has never gone this way, and yet he has much that Christians today regard as spiritual prosperity, while I have all sorts of complications coming to me. What is the meaning of it all? Am I wasting my life? Have I really given too much?’
So there is your problem. You feel that were you to follow in that other brother’s steps—were you, shall we say, to consecrate yourself enough for the blessing but not enough for the trouble, enough for the Lord to use you but not enough for Him to shut you up—all would be perfectly all right. But would it? You know perfectly well that it would not.
Takes your eyes off that other man! Look at your Lord, and ask yourself again what it is that He values most highly. The principle of waste is the principle that He would have govern us. ‘She is doing this for Me.’ Real satisfaction is brought to the heart of the Son of God only when we are really, as people would think, ‘wasting’ ourselves upon Him. It seems as though we are giving too much and getting nothing—and that is the secret of pleasing God.
Oh, friends, what are we after? Are we after ‘use’ as those disciples were? They wanted to make every penny of those three hundred pence go to its full length. The whole question was one of obvious ‘usefulness’ to God in terms that could be measured and put on record. The Lord waits to hear us say: ‘Lord, I do not mind about that. If I can only please Thee, it is enough’.
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