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Facing the Wind
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 12, 1905.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, SEPTEMBER 28, 1876.
"But you, brethren, be not weary in doing good," 2 Thessalonians 3:13
THE Christian church ought to be an assembly of holy men. Its members should, all of them, be eminently peaceable, honest, upright, gracious and Christlike. In the main and in spite of all our failures I trust these characteristics may be seen in the churches of our Lord Jesus Christ. But, still, from the beginning there has been a mixture. Judas in the sacred college of the 12 Apostles seemed to be a prophecy to us that there would always be troubles in Israel. It was so in the Church at Thessalonica to which Paul wrote two Epistles, part of the last of which we have just now been reading. There was evidently, then, a class of people who because the charity of the church was very large, imposed upon it and, under pretense of great spirituality, refused to work, busying themselves instead in doing mischief according to the old adage that—
"Satan finds some mischief still For idle hands to do."
We sometimes complain of our churches now. I very greatly question whether an average church of Christ in modern times is not considerably superior to any church that we have read of in the New Testament—certainly very superior to some of them. In the Church at Corinth they tolerated a brother who lived in incest. I trust there is no Christian church, at least in our own denomination, that would endure such a thing for an hour! And when this man had been put out by Paul's command and proved penitent, then the Church at Corinth, which was a church that did not believe in ministry, you know, (there is a class of Christians of that sort, now, which resembles greatly these Corinthians), because they had once put him out, refused to receive him again though he was penitent and wanted to return.
I scarcely know a Christian church that would refuse to receive into its membership again, a brother who had erred if he showed signs of true repentance. The churches of today, compared with the early churches of Christ, can say that the Grace of God has been extended to us, even as unto them—and we now have no right to be continually crying down the operations of the Holy Spirit in the churches by making unfair comparisons between them and the churches of old. They had their faults, as we have ours. They came short in many respects, even as we do. Instead of bringing a railing accusation against churches as they are, the best thing is for everyone of us to do his best in the sight of God to make them what they should be, by seeking our own personal sanctification and endeavoring that the influence of a holy life shall, in our case, help to leaven the rest of the mass.
Paul turns from the consideration of those who had grieved him in the church to speak to the rest of the brethren and says to them, "But you, brethren, be not weary in doing good." In expounding these words we shall, first, notice that our text contains a summary of Christian life—it is called, "doing good." Secondly, we shall see it gives out a very distinct warning against weariness and it hints at some of the causes of weariness in the Christian life. In the third place, I shall close the discourse by giving some arguments to meet the reasoning of our soul when, at times, it seems to plead its own weariness as an excuse.
I. First, then, Brothers and Sisters, our text contains A SUMMARY OF CHRISTIAN LIFE. It is "doing good." This is all you have to do—you that have been redeemed by the blood of Jesus and renewed in the spirit of your minds. You have to spend your lives in doing good!
Now this is a very comprehensive term and we are certain that it includes the common acts of daily life. You perceive the Apostle had been speaking of some who would not work—"working not at all," he says, and he commands them that they should labor and should eat their own bread. It is clear, then, from the connection, that the work by which a man earns his daily bread is a part of the doing good to which he is called. It is not only preaching and praying and going to meetings that are to be commended. These are useful in their place. But doing good consists in taking down the shutters and selling your goods, tucking up your shirt sleeves and doing a good day's work—sweeping the carpets and dusting the chairs if you happen to be a domestic servant. Doing good is attending to the duties that arise out of our relationships in life—attending carefully to them and seeing that in nothing we are eye-servers and men-pleasers—but in everything are seeking to serve God. I know it is difficult to make people feel that such simple and ordinary things as these are doing good. Sometimes stopping at home and mending the children's clothes does not seem to a mother quite so much "doing good" as going to a Prayer Meeting. And yet it may be that the going to a Prayer Meeting would be doing ill if the other duty had to be neglected. It is still a sort of superstition among men that the cobbler's lap stone and the carpenter's adze are not sacred things and that you cannot serve God with them—you must get a Bible and break its back at a revival meeting, or give out a hymn and sing it lustily in order to serve God.
Now, far am I from speaking even half a word against all the zeal and earnestness that can be expended in religious engagements. These things you ought to have done, but the other things are not to be left undone, or to be depreciated in any way whatever. When Peter saw the sheet come down from Heaven, you remember it contained all manner of beasts and creeping things. God said even of the creeping things that He had cleansed them and they were not to be counted common—from which I gather, among a great many other things, that even the most menial of the forms of service— even the most common actions of life—if they are done as unto the Lord, are cleansed and become holy things and are by no means to be despised. Do not cry down your church, but make your house also your church! Find fault as you like with vestments, but make your ordinary smock-frock your vestment and be a priest in it to the living God! Away with superstition! Kill it by counting every place to be holy, every day to be holy and every action that you perform to be a part of the high priesthood to which the Lord Jesus Christ has called every soul that He has washed in His precious
That these common things are doing good is very evident if you will only think of the result of their being left undone. There is a father and he thinks that to go to his work—such common work as his—cannot be especially pleasing in God's sight. He means to serve God and so he stays home! He is upstairs in prayer when the factory bell is ringing and he ought to be there. He hears that there is a conference in the morning, so he attends that—and then he has another period of prayer—he spends all the week like that and then on Saturday night there is nothing for his wife. Now, you see, directly, that he has been doing ill because it was his duty to provide for his own household. And if a man, being a husband and a father, neglects to find daily food for his wife and little children, all the world cries shame on him! Does not Nature, itself, say, "This man cannot be engaged in doing good"? It cannot possibly be so. Though at first sight the ordinary toil for daily bread looks to be a very commonplace thing, yet if you only suppose it to be neglected, the leaving of it out is no commonplace thing, but brings all manner of mischief.
Suppose, on the other hand, that the Christian woman were to become so very devout—so ashamed to be like Martha—so certain not to be cumbered with much serving that she would not serve at all in Martha's direction, but always sat still and read and prayed, and meditated leaving the children unwashed and nothing done for the household? The husband—perhaps a worldly man—may be driven away from the house by the lack of comfort in it and sent into ill company. He may, indeed, he ruined. You can all see that whatever pretence there might be of doing good about the wife's conduct, it would not, it could not really be doing good, for the first business of the Christian woman placed in that position is to see to it that her household is ordered aright, even as Jesus Christ would have it. Oh, dear Friends, it is an art to balance duties so as never to sacrifice to God one duty stained red with the blood of another duty that you have destroyed in getting this one ready for the sacrifice! Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's and unto God the things that are God's. Give to husband and child and to the household the share that is due and then—I will not say give God the rest—but give God that service and all besides! He would not have you bring robbery for burnt offering and He will accept that as done to Him which you have, as a matter of duty, done to others. So then, common life is included in the term, "doing good."
I think, also, from the connection, that anyone would conclude that attending to the poor and doing good to all that are in need is included in the term, "doing good." The connection seems to say that there were certain persons in the Thessalonian Church who had abused Christian charity—living upon it instead of working and eating their own bread. The Apostle says, "But you, brethren be not weary in doing good." Do not say, as some do, "There are really so many imposters that I shall give nothing at all. I have been deceived so many times and have given to persons who have only put my gift to bad use, that I do not intend to open my wallet any more, but shall keep what I have or lay it out in some other way." "No," says the Apostle, "you must not do that—be not weary in doing good." It is the part of a Christian to seek as much as lies in him to do good unto all men—and especially to those of the household of faith. It is one of Christ's precepts to "Give to him that asks of you and turn him not away who would borrow from you." A general spirit of generosity to those in need is synonymous with the Gospel—the reverse may be suitable to the Law with its rigor—but not to the Gospel with its noble-hearted love! Christian Brothers and Sisters, you must remember those who are in need as being, as yourself, a part of the body of Christ! As much as lies in you, "comfort the feeble-minded, support the weak, be patient towards all men."
So we see that within the range of "doing good" is included a kind and tender consideration of all those who are in need.
But, Brothers and Sisters, the circle of "doing good" which is to be the Christian's life, though it makes a wide sweep, includes the things that are nearer the center ' 'Doing good" means that I love the Lord, my God, with all my heart—that I commune with Him—that I dedicate myself to Him and give all that I have to the extension of His Kingdom and to the honoring of His glorious name!
If you want to know what doing good is, I will give you a few hints and tests. Everything is doing good that is done in obedience to a Divine command. If you have God's Word for it, it is doing good. Some may call you imprudent, but it is doing good if you do what God bids—and it is prudent, too. In the long run you shall find it so. When God says, "Do this," let it be done at once—that is doing good. And if He says, "You shall not," the doing good is fleeing from the accursed thing! Let not your own wisdom and prudence ever fly in the teeth of a positive command of God! When you are doing what God bids you, you are doing well—and you need have no difficulty in defending yourself. God will not allow that man ever to be confounded who makes the will of God to be the law of his life. So may it always be with us.
Taking the first condition for granted, in the next place everything is doing good that is done in faith.' 'Whatever is not of faith is sin." That is to say, even though the thing you do is right, if you do not believe it to be right it is not right for you. There are many things that I may do that you must not do because you do not think it would be right to do them. Therefore you must refrain. Even, I say again, if the thing is not in itself a wrong thing, yet if it seem wrong to you, it will be wrong to you—therefore do it not. Paul could eat the meat that had been offered to idols without being troubled in his conscience, but there were some who thought that if they ate it, they would be partakers with the idol. Paul did not think so and, moreover, he said, "An idol is nothing in the world. Whatever is sold in the shambles, I eat asking no question for conscience sake." Still, "he that doubts is condemned if he eats." If he has his doubts about it and thinks he should not do it, he must not do it. He will not be practicing the art of doing good if he does that concerning which his conscience raises any scruple. If you can say with Scripture warrant, "God permits this and I can do it, feeling that He permits it," you are doing well in so doing.
Again, everything that is done out of love to God is doing good. Ah, this is a motive that sways no man till he is born-again. But when God, who is Love, has begotten us into His own likeness, then we love God and love becomes the motive of all our actions. I hope, Beloved, this is the mainspring of our doings and goings—that you would be God's servants or God's ministers because you love God—that you seek to bear up under poverty or to use with discretion and liberality the riches with which you are entrusted because you love God. If a man loves not God, how little there can be of doing good about him! Yes, he lacks the very root of it all if he has not love to God.
Doing good includes doing what we do in the name of the Lord Jesus. How this should stop some professors in a great many actions. Have we not the exhortation, "Whatever you do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus"? If there is anything you cannot do in the name of the Lord Jesus, do it not, for to do it will not be doing good! In the name of the Lord Jesus you may go to your daily labor, for He went to His for 30 years and worked in the carpenter's shop. In the name of the Lord Jesus you may undertake all the duties of your calling if that calling is a right one. But if it is not, you have no right to be in it at all, but should get out of it at once! You may do in the name of the Lord Jesus all that men would do if you are a saved soul and your heart is right towards Him.
Still further, doing good includes that which we do in Divine strength. There is no doing good except we get power to do it from the Holy One of Israel. The Spirit of God is the Author of all true fruit in the Christian life. Except we abide in Christ and receive the sap of the Sacred Spirit from Him, we cannot bring forth fruit, for, "without Me," He says, "you can do nothing." But to work in the Divine strength is doing good. Poor and feeble though it is, if I do it out of love to Christ and with the little strength I have, acknowledging that I would not even have that but for His Grace, my act is an act of doing good. Even though I have to mourn my failures and mistakes, nevertheless I may feel that with a true heart I am striving to glorify God and that I am surrendering myself to the Divine impulses so as to be ready to do everything as unto my Master. Then am I living as a Christian should live in doing good.
Brothers and Sisters, we are very great at wishing well and "if wishes were horses, beggars might ride." If wishing well meant anything, there would be some very great saints about! But the practice of a Christian should be to do what he knows should be done—doing good. Resolving well is a very common habit. Suggesting well and criticizing well are tempers of mind familiar to most of us. Some of you could take a high degree in admirably criticizing everybody else that does anything—and putting your own hands into your pockets and keeping them there! Talking well is also a great deal more common than doing good. But the Christian life lies in none of these things. If God has given you the life of the Spirit, you will not bring forth only buds and blossoms and flowers, but there will be fruit—the fruit of doing good!
So much concerning the first point.
II. Now let us turn to the second point which is this—there is A WARNING AGAINST WEARINESS IN DOING GOOD. Is it possible, you say, "that a child of God can ever grow weary of doing good?" I suppose so, for I remember another text which says, "Let us not be weary in doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not." And the marginal reading of this text, itself, is, "Faint not." I suppose that blessed as it is to be doing good and to be living unto God, yet while the spirit is willing, the flesh is weak and there is a danger of our getting weary in the most happy exercise.
The first danger is mentioned in the context. There is a tendency to cease from doing good because of the unworthy receivers of our good deeds. As I have already said, there were those in the Thessalonian Church who received the gifts of the faithful and who sat still and did nothing that was of any good. They became a pest and nuisance to their neighbors. Now, the natural tendency of others in the Church would be to say, "Well, I do not know what others think about it, but I shall give no more." "No," says the Apostle, "be not weary in doing good." It is bad that that man should make a bad use of your gifts, but it will be worse, still, if he should induce you to harden your heart! It is a loss, perhaps, to give to a man who wastes, but it will be a greater loss not to give at all! I remember one who spoke on the missionary question one day saying, "The great question is not, 'Will not the heathen be saved if we do not send them the Gospel?' but, 'Are we saved, ourselves, if we do not send them the Gospel?'" And so it is with regard to Christian gifts. It is not so much a question how far this or that man is benefitted or hurt by what we give, but what about ourselves if we have no heart of compassion for a Brother or Sister who is in need? What about the hardening influence on our own soul if we get, at last, into a condition that we say, "I am weary in having done what I have done because I see to what an ill use it is turned"? I believe that to be a common temptation of the present age and I see that all the political economists and the newspaper men almost as good as tell us that it is one of the most wicked things we can ever do, to help the poor at all—it is indeed a dreadful thing unless we do it through that blessed machinery of the poor Law which seems to be the next thing to the Kingdom of Heaven in their estimation! There seems to me to be, however, a very long distance between them and I trust that Christians will continually, by their actions, bear their protest against the steeling of the believing Christian's renewed heart against their fellow men because they seem to pervert the doing good into evil.
We have need of warning because idle examples tempt others to idleness. If there were in the Church at Thessalonica some who did not work, there would no doubt be others who would say, "We will do the same. Since that fellow never does a hand's-turn, but only goes about and talks and makes a good thing of it, why should not I do likewise?" "No," says the Apostle, "be not weary in doing good. Do not give up your daily work. Do not give up any form of service because others have done so, for you can see, if you look at them, that they turn out to be busybodies. You do not need to
become mischief-makers such as they are! Therefore shun their conduct—avoid it with all your might—and do not weary in doing good even if you see others who apparently prosper by doing nothing at all."
Again, I think the Apostle would say to us, "Be not weary in doing good because of unreasonable and wicked men." We read about them just now and I made a remark about them. [In the Exposition printed at the end of the sermon.] Whenever anybody gets very earnest for Christ and lays himself out for God's Glory, there is sure to be a little lot of unreasonable and wicked men who get round him. The birds go flying through the orchard and they do not say a word to one another till they come to a cherry tree where the cherries are very sweet and ripe. Then they all fall at once and begin to peck away with all their might! So of an ordinary Christian who is doing little for his Master—nobody says much, except, perhaps, "He is a very good respectable man. Never bothers anybody with his religion." But let him become earnest—let his fruit be ripe and sweet before the Lord and, believe me, more birds than you ever thought were about will come—and they will peck at the ripe fruit. That which God approves most will be just that which they most violently condemn! If you get into such a case as that, my Brothers and Sisters, be not weary of doing good because of your critics. Does it matter, after all, what men think of us? Are we their servants? Do we live on the breath of their nostrils? Do they think that their praises inflate and exalt us? Do they dream that their censures can make us sleep a wink less or even ruffle our spirits? I trust, if we know the Lord aright, we are of the mind of Ann Askew, who, after she had been racked, sat up with every bone out of joint and, as full of pain as she could live, said to her tormentors—
"I am not she that lists
My anchor to let fall
For every drizzling mist.
My ship's substantial."
And she bore out the storm and did not intend to cast anchor because of her persecutors! Glory be to God when He shall have delivered you altogether from the bleating of the sheep and from the howling of the wolves, too, and make you willing to let your enemies say their say—and say it over again as long as it pleases them—but as for you, your heart is fixed to go on in what you know to be doing good till your Master, Himself, shall say to you, "Well done!"
Once more. There is a temptation to cease from doing good not only because of unreasonable and wicked men outside the church, but, according to the context—and I am keeping to that—because of busybodies inside the church. Some of these are men—some of them are not. There are busybodies about everywhere. They do not speak out very distinctly—they whisper and they do it with a sigh! Perhaps nothing is said, but there is a shrug of the shoulders. "So-and-So is an excellent woman." "What a wonderful work she is doing for Christ!" "Well—yes, but—such-and-such a man! How greatly God honors him in the winning of souls." "Yes—ah, yes—I suppose i t is so." That is the style. And then straightway there are ambiguous voices sounding abroad and depreciating things said! I have known some of tender heart that have suffered—I dare not think how much—from the insinuations of idle people who, I hope, did not know the suffering they were causing or they would have run to give help instead. But there is so much of this thoughtless babbling of innuendos even among those who, we trust, are God's people, that if any such are here I would earnestly entreat them to give up that bad business! And if any Brother or Sister here has suffered from such people, do not suffer more than you can help it, for this idle chatter is not worth a thought!
Do not let it prey upon your mind because, well, there is nothing in it! All the dirt that people can fling will brush off when it is dry. You do not expect, do you, to go to Heaven on a grassy path that is mowed and rolled for you every morning with all the dew swept off? If you expect that, you will be mistaken. You may even learn something from what these busybodies say about you. It is not true, of course, but, Brother, if they had known you better, they might have said something worse that wastrue! They picked a fault where there was none. Well, but you know there aresome faults that they do not know and had not you better amend them lest they should pick those next time? The eagle eyes of envy and malice should even be sanctified to our good to keep us the more watchful—and to make us more earnestly seek to be diligent in doing good. Courage, faint heart—it will all be over, by-and-by, and we shall be before that Judgment Seat where the talk of friends and the threat of foes will go for nothing! We are being examined here by this and that, but what matters the result of the examination? The Lord weighs the spirits and if in those great scales we shall, at last by Divine Grace, escape from having the sentence pronounced, "You are weighed in the balance and found wanting," it will be a theme for everlasting joy! Let us look to that verdict and not care for the praise or blame of men.
III. Now I am going to close by bringing up A FEW ARGUMENTS TO KEEP MY DEAR BRETHREN WITH
THEIR FACES TO THE WIND. I want you that are going uphill for Christ and find the wind blowing very sharp, to set a hard face against a strong wind and to go right straight on all the same. If you have to fight your way to Heaven through every inch of your life, I would encourage you to keep on. May God's Spirit give you strength to do so!
And first, you say, "Oh, but this service—keeping your garments always white—is hard work. Doing good needs so much effort. I am afraid I shall be weary." Now, I would ask you to remember that when you had just begun business and you needed to make a little money, how early you rose in the morning, how many hours you worked in the day! Why, you that are getting gray now knew that in those days everybody wondered at you because you threw such strength into everything—you did the work of two or three men! What was all that effort for? For yourself, was it not? My dear Brother, can you put all those exertions forth for yourself and cannot you put out as much effort for Christ? That was only for the worldly things—shall there not be something like that in the spiritual things? It is enough to shame some people—the way they toil to get on in business and then the little energy they show in the things of Christ!
I used to tell a story of a Brother I once knew who, at the Prayer Meeting, was accustomed to pray in such a way that I was always sorry when he got up, for nobody could hear him. And I always thought that he had a very feeble voice. I had indistinctly heard the Brother mutter something to God and I felt that we had better not ask him again, for his voice was so thin. But I stepped into his shop one day—he did not know that I was there and I heard him say, "John, bring that half-hundred weight." "Oh," I thought, "there is a very different tone in the business from what there is in the Prayer Meeting!" It is symbolical of a great many people. They have one voice for the world and another voice for Christ. What weight they throw into the ordinary engagements, but what little force and weight there is when they come to the things of God! If that should touch any Brother here, I hope he will carefully take it to himself. I am afraid it has to do with a great many of us and I put it thus—if for the poor things of this world we have often manifested so much vigor, what ought to be expected of us—of us who are under such obligations to Divine Grace—in the service of such a Master in reference to eternal things?
"But," says one, "such doing good requires so much self-denial I trust I am a Christian, but I sometimes hesitate because to deny one's self again and again and again and to lead a life of constant self-denial is, I am afraid, too much for me." Yes, but, dear Brother, recollect what Paul bids you remember. He was thinking of the men that went to the boxing matches and the men that went to the races among the Greeks—how they had to contend for a crown that was only of parsley or laurel. Weeks and months before they ran, they kept under their body, brought it into subjection and denied themselves all sorts of things they would have rejoiced in, till they got the muscles well out and by degrees pulled the flesh off their bones to get them into condition to enter into the arena. Now, says the Apostle, they do it for a corruptible crown, but we for an incorruptible! I am sure the hardships to which some of those champions in the public games put themselves were enough to make the cheek of professors mantle with crimson when they think that the little self-denials of their life are often too severe for them! May God in Infinite Mercy help us not to be weary in doing good since these stand before us as examples!
"Yes," says one, "but I grow weary because, though I could deny myself, continued doing good brings such persecution. I am surrounded by people who have no sympathy with me. On the contrary, if they could stamp out the little spark of spiritual religion that I have in me, they would be glad to do it." Now, my dear Brother, be not weary in doing good because of this, but look up yonder! I can see in vision a white-robed throng. Each one bears a palm branch and together they sing an exultant song of triumph. Who are these that thus wear a ruby crown?—
"These are they who bore the cross, Faithful to their Master died, Suffered in His righteous cause, Followers of the Crucified/"
Take down Master Fox's Book ofMartyrs and read a dozen pages—and after that see whether you are able to put yourselves on a par with the saints of old. "You have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin." Your persecution is only a silly joke or two against you, a bit of frivolous jesting—that is all. These things break no bones! O Sirs, ask Divine Grace to enable you to rejoice and to be exceedingly glad when they say all manner of evil against you falsely for Christ' s sake! For so they prosecuted the Prophets that were before you—therefore be not dismayed.
But another says, "No, Sir, I could bear anything for Christ, but do you know I have been trying to do good to my neighbors, to the children of my class, and to the others—and I really think that the more I try to do good to people, the worse they are—doing good is followed by so little result. I have labored in vain and spent my strength for nothing and, you know, Sir, that hope deferred makes the heart sick. They seem to refuse and reject my message though I put it very kindly." Now listen to me, if ever you listened in your life! You must not—you dare notcomplain of this because—and I know you well, there once came to your door one who loved you better than you love these people—He knocked with a hand that had been pierced for you and you refused Him admission! He knocked and knocked again, and said, "Open to Me, for My head is filled with the dew and My locks with the drops of the night." But you would not open to Him. Then He went His way and you were much worse than before. Sometimes you said you would open, but you did not. And by the month together—ah, perhaps I do not exaggerate when I say, by the yeartogether—"that Man of Love, the Crucified," came to you again and again and again and pleaded His wounds and blood with you and yet you refused Him! You have now admitted Him, but no thanks to you—you would never have done it if He had not put in His hand by the hole of the door and then your heart was moved for Him. Then He came into your soul and He is still supping with you. Now, after that, you must never say a word when they shut the door against you! You must, say, "This is how I treated my Master. It has come back to me and in good measure, but not pressed down or running over. And so I am well content to bear rebuffs for His sake since He bore them from me, even from me."
"Still," says one, "I have gone on and on, trying to do good in my sphere. I have given much and I still desire to do the same, but I do not appear to get much return—doing good does not earn much gratitude. If I had some thanks I would not so much mind. Indeed, I do not seem to be doing any good, either. If I saw some results I would not be weary." Once more I speak and then I am done. Do you not know that there is One who thus every day bade the showers descend upon the earth? And when they fell, He did not say to the raindrops, "Fall on the crops of the grateful farmers and let the Christian men have all the benefit of the shower." No, He sent the clouds and they poured out the rain that fell on the churl's land and watered his property! Tomorrow morning when the sun rises, it will light the blasphemer's bed as well as the chamber of the saint. And tonight God lends His moon to those that break His Laws with a high hand and defile themselves as well as to those who go forth on ministries of mercy. He stops neither rain nor sun nor moon, nor makes a star the to shine less, nor sends less oxygen into the atmosphere, or less health in the winds because man sins!
And there are whole nations where, when God gives His bounties, idols and images are thanked and not the gracious Giver! There are other nations where, when God makes the vine to produce its fruit, the people turn it into drunkenness. And when He bids the corn be multiplied, they turn it into gluttony and surfeit and pride. Yet He does not restrain His gifts. Therefore you keep on even as the great God continues to work unweariedly. He has done good to you and to thousands like you. If you were to skip doing good to men, what would you be saying to God? "Lord, this race does not deserve that You should do it any good. Do not do any more good." Your conduct in saying that your fellow creatures do not deserve that you should do them any good says, in the most emphatic manner, that you do not think God ought to do them any good, either, for if God should do them good, much more should you who are so much less than He. And if you stop your hand and say, "It is no use doing any more good," you, in effect, pray God never to do any more good to your fellow men! That is an inhuman prayer and tempts God. I pray you let not the action which incarnates such a prayer ever spring from us again!
Come, Brothers and Sisters, the Lord Jesus Christ has blotted out our sins. He has bought us with His blood! We belong to Him and whatever service He gives us to do, He will give us the strength to do it! So let us go back to our work with joy. If we have been grumbling—if we have complained at all—let us ask His forgiveness and buckle our harness on anew, saying, "Master, You shall not find me skulking, but as long as the day lasts and You give me strength, I will reap in Your fields, or work in Your vineyards according to Your bidding, thankful for the great honor of being permitted to do anything for You and even for having to put up with inconvenience for Your sake. Seeing that You did endure so much for me, why should I not bear something for You?"
You may have to face a gale of wind, but you may face it gaily in the strength of your Lord! Keep on and keep on keeping on! You shall be more than conquerors through Him that loved you, over all the oppositions of men. Why, be comforted, beloved fellow laborers, and let no Brother's heart fail him because of anything that has happened to him.
Let no Sister's hands hang down, but, "be you steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as you know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." I pray God to lead many others to enlist in this service, but they must first believe in Jesus Christ. When they have done so, then they may also come and share in the blessed warfare—and they shall have their reward! The Lord bless you, for Christ's sake.
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