Working For God! Part 2

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It is for good works that we have been new created in Christ Jesus: It is when men see our good works that our Father in Heaven will be glorified and have the honour which is His due for His workmans.h.i.+p. In the parable of the vine our Lord insisted on this: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same beareth much fruit.' Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.' Nothing is more to the honour of a husbandman than to succeed in raising an abundant cropa"much fruit is glory to G.o.d.

What need that every believer, even the feeblest branch of the Heavenly Vine, the man who has only one talent, be encouraged and helped, and even trained, to aim at the much fruit. A little strawberry plant may, in its measure, be bearing a more abundant crop than a large apple-tree. The call to be fruitful in every good work is for every Christian without exception. The grace that fits for it, of which the prayer, in which our words are found, speaks, is for every one. Every branch fruitful in every good worka"this is an essential part of G.o.d's Gospel.

Bearing fruit in every good work.' Let us study to get a full impression of the two sides of this Divine truth. G.o.d's first creation of life was in the vegetable kingdom. There it was a life without anything of will or self-effort, all growth and fruit was simply His own direct work, the spontaneous outcome of His hidden working. In the creation of the animal kingdom there was an advance. A new element was introduceda"thought and will and work. In man these two elements were united in perfect harmony. The absolute dependence of the gra.s.s and the lily on the G.o.d who clothes them with their beauty were to be the groundwork of our relations.h.i.+pa"nature has nothing but what it receives from G.o.d. Our works are to be fruit, the product of a G.o.d-given power.

But to this was added the true mark of our G.o.dlikeness the power of will and independent action: all fruit is to be our own work. As we grasp this we shall see how the most absolute acknowledgment of our having nothing in ourselves is consistent with the deepest sense of obligation and the strongest will to exert our powers to the very utmost. We shall learn to study the prayer of our text as those who must seek all their wisdom and strength from G.o.d alone. And we shall boldly give ourselves, as those who are responsible for the use of that wisdom and strength, to the diligence and the sacrifice and the effort needed for a life bearing fruit in every good work.

1. Much depends, for quality and quant.i.ty, on the healthy life of the tree. The life of G.o.d, of Christ Jesus, of His Spirit, the Divine life in you, is strong and sure.



2. That life is love. Believe in it. Act it out. Have it replenished day by day out of the fulness there is in Christ.

3. Let all your work be fruit; let all your willing and working be inspired by the life of G.o.d. So will you walk worthily of the Lord with all pleasing.

XIII.

Always abounding in the Work of the Lord Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.'a"1 Cor. 15:58 We all know the fifteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians, in its Divine revelation of the meaning of Christ's resurrection, with all the blessings of which it is the source.

It gives us a living Saviour, who revealed Himself to His disciples on earth, and to Paul from heaven. It secures to us the complete deliverance from all sin. It is the pledge of His final victory over every enemy, when He gives up the kingdom to the Father, and G.o.d is all in all. It a.s.sures us of the resurrection of the body, and our entrance on the heavenly life. Paul had closed his argument with his triumphant appeal to Death and Sin and the Law: O Death, where is thy victory? The sting of Death is Sin, and the power of Sin is the Law. But thanks be to G.o.d, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.' And then follows, after fifty-seven verses of exultant teaching concerning the mystery and the glory of the resurrection life in our Lord and His people, just one verse of practical application: Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.' The faith in a risen, living Christ, and in all that His resurrection is to us in time and eternity, is to fit us for, is to prove itself ina"abounding work for our Lord!

It cannot be otherwise. Christ's resurrection was His final victory over sin, and death, and Satan, and His entrance upon His work of giving the Spirit from heaven and extending His kingdom throughout the earth. Those who shared the resurrection joy at once received the commission to make known the joyful news. It was so with Mary and the women. It was so with the disciples the evening of the resurrection day. As the Father sent Me, I send you.' It was so with all to whom the charge was given: Go into all the world, preach the Gospel to every creature.' The resurrection is the beginning and the pledge of Christ's victory over all the earth. That victory is to be carried out to its complete manifestation through His people. The faith and joy of the resurrection life are the inspiration and the power for the work of doing it. And so the call comes to all believers without exception: Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye always abounding in the work of the Lord!'

In the work of the Lord.' The connection tells us at once what that work is. Nothing else, nothing less than, telling others of the risen Lord, and proving to them what new life Christ has brought to us. As we indeed know and acknowledge Him as Lord over all we are, and live in the joy of His service, we shall see that the work of the Lord is but one worka"that of winning men to know and bow to Him. Amid all the forms of lowly, living, patient service, this will be the one aim, in the power of the life of the risen Lord, to make Him Lord of all.

This work of the Lord is no easy one. It cost Christ His life to conquer sin and Satan and gain the risen life. It will cost us our life, tooa"the sacrifice of the life of nature. It needs the surrender of all on earth to live in the full power of resurrection newness of life. The power of sin, and the world, in those around us is strong, and Satan does not yield his servants an easy prey to our efforts. It needs a heart in close touch with the risen Lord, truly living the resurrection life, to be stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. But that is a life that can be liveda"because Jesus lives.

Paul adds: Forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not vain in the Lord.' I have spoken more than once of the mighty influence that the certainty of reward for work, in the shape of wages or riches, exerts on the millions of earth's workers. And shall not Christ's workers believe that, with such a Lord, their reward is sure and great? The work is often difficult and slow, and apparently fruitless. We are apt to lose heart, because we are working in our strength and judging by our expectations. Let us listen to the message: O ye children of the resurrection life, be ye always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know your labour is not in vain in the Lord.' Let not your hands be weak; your work shall be rewarded.' You know that your labour is not vain in the Lord.'

In the Lord.' The expression is a significant one. Study it in Romans 16 where it occurs ten times, where Paul uses the expressions: Receive here in the Lord;' my fellowworker in Christ Jesus;' who are in Christ, in the Lord;' beloved in the Lord;' approved in Christ;' who labour in the Lord;' chosen in the Lord.' The whole life and fellows.h.i.+p and service of these saints had the one marka"they were, their labours were, in the Lord. Here is the secret of effectual service. Your labour is not in vain in the Lord.' As a sense of His presence and the power of His life is maintained, as all works are wrought in Him, His strength works in our weak ness; our labour cannot be in vain in the Lord. Christ said: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.' Oh! let not the children of this world, with their confidence that the masters whose work they are doing will certainly give them their due reward, put the children of light to shame. Let us rejoice and labour in the confident faith of the word: Your labour is not in vain in the Lord. Wherefore, beloved brethren, be ye always abounding in the work of the Lord.'

XIV.

Abounding Grace for Abounding Work.

And G.o.d is able to make all grace abound unto you, that ye may abound unto every good work.'a"2 Cor. 9:8.

In our previous meditation we had the great motive to abounding worka"the spirit of triumphant joy which Christ's resurrection inspires as it covers the past and the future. Our text to-day a.s.sures us that for this abounding work we have the ability provided: G.o.d is able to make all grace abound, that we may abound to all good works. Every thought of abounding grace is to be connected with the abounding in good works for which it is given. And every thought of abounding work is to be connected with the abounding grace that fits for it.

Abounding grace has abounding work for its aim. It is often thought that grace and good works are at variance with each other. This is not so. What Scripture calls the works of the law, our own works, the works of righteousness which we have done, dead worksa"works by which we seek to merit or to be made fit for G.o.d's favour, these are indeed the very opposite of grace. But they are also the very opposite of the good works which spring from grace, and for which alone grace is bestowed.

As irreconcilable as are the works of the law with the freedom of grace, so essential and indispensable are the works of faith, good works, to the true Christian life. G.o.d makes grace to abound, that good works may abound. The measure of true grace is tested and proved by the measure of good works. G.o.d's grace abounds in us that we may abound in good works. We need to have the truth deeply rooted in us: Abounding grace has abounding work for its aim.

And abounding work needs abounding grace as its source and strength.

There often is abounding work without abounding grace. Just as any man may be very diligent in an earthly pursuit, or a heathen in his religious service of an idol, so men may be very diligent in doing religious work in their own strength, with but little thought of that grace which alone can do true, spiritual effective work. For all work that is to be really acceptable to G.o.d, and truly fruitful, not only for some visible result here on earth, but for eternity, the grace of G.o.d is indispensable. Paul continually speaks of his own work as owing everything to the grace of G.o.d working in him: I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of G.o.d which was with me' (1 Cor. 15:10). According to the gift of that grace of G.o.d which was given me according to the working of His power' (Eph. 3:7).

And he as frequently calls upon Christians to exercise their gifts according to the grace that was given us' (Rom. 12:6). The grace given according to the measure of the gift of Christ' (Eph. 4:7). It is only by the grace of G.o.d working in us that we can do what are truly good works. It is only as we seek and receive abounding grace that we can abound in every good work.

G.o.d is able to make all grace abound unto you, that ye may abound in all good works.' With what thanksgiving every Christian ought to praise G.o.d for the abounding grace that is thus provided for him. And with what humiliation to confess that the experience of, and the surrender to, that abounding grace has been so defective. And with what confidence to believe that a life abounding in good works is indeed possible, because the abounding grace for it is so sure and so Divinely sufficient.

And then, with what simple childlike dependence to wait upon G.o.d day by day to receive the more grace which He gives to the humble.

Child of G.o.d! do take time to study and truly apprehend G.o.d's purpose with you, that you abound in every good work! He means it! He has provided for it! Make the measure of your consecration to Him nothing less than His purpose for you. And claim, then, nothing less than the abounding grace He is able to bestow. Make His omnipotence and His faithfulness your confidence. And live ever in the practice of continual prayer and dependence upon His power working in you. This will make you abound in every good work. According to your faith be it unto you.

Christian worker, learn here the secret of all failure and all success.

Work in our own strength, with little prayer and waiting on G.o.d for His spirit, is the cause of failure. The cultivation of the spirit of absolute impotence and unceasing dependence will open the heart for the workings of the abounding grace. We shall learn to ascribe all we do to G.o.d's grace. We shall learn to measure all we have to do by G.o.d's grace. And our life will increasingly be in the joy of G.o.d's making His grace to abound in us, and our abounding in every good work.

1. That ye may abound to every good work.' Pray over this now till you feel that this is what G.o.d has prepared for you.

2. If your ignorance and feebleness appear to make it impossible, present yourself to G.o.d, and say you are willing, if He will enable you to abound in good works, to be a branch that brings forth much fruit.

3. Take into your heart, as a living seed, the precious truth: G.o.d is able to make all grace abound in you. Trust His power and His faithfulness (Rom. 4:20, 21 ; 1 Thess. 5:24).

4. Begin at once by doing lowly deeds of love. As the little child in the kindergarten. Learn by doing.

XV.

In the Work of Ministering.

And he gave some to be apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, unto the work of ministering, unto the building up of the body of Christ.'a"Eph. 4:11, 12 The object with which Christ when He ascended to heaven bestowed on His servants the various gifts that are mentioned is threefold. Their first aim isa"for the perfecting of the saints. Believers as saints are to be led on in the pursuit of holiness until they stand perfect and complete in all the will of G.o.d.' It was for this Epaphras laboured in prayer.

It is of this Paul writes: Whom we preach, teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfect in Christ' (Col. 4:12; 1:28).

This perfecting of the saints is, however, only a means to a higher end: unto the work of ministering, to fit all the saints to take their part in the service to which every believer is called. It is the same word as is used in texts as these: They ministered to Him of their substance; Ye ministered to the saints and do minister' (Luke 4:30, 8:3; 1 Cor. 16:15; Heb. 6:10; 1 Pet. 4:11).

And this, again, is also a means to a still higher end: unto the building up of the body of Christ. As every member of our body takes its part in working for the health and growth and maintenance of the whole, so every member of the body of Christ is to consider it his first great duty to take part in all that can help to build up the body of Christ. And this, whether by the helping and strengthening of those who are already members, or the ingathering of those who are to belong to it. And the great work of the Church is, through its pastors and teachers, so to labour for the perfecting of the saints in holiness and love and fitness for service, that every one may take his part in the work of ministering, that so, the body of Christ may be built up and perfected.

Of the three great objects with which Christ has given His Church apostles and teachers, the work of ministering stands thus in the middle. On the one hand, it is preceded by that on which it absolutely dependsa"the perfecting of the saints. On the other, it is followed by that which it is meant to accomplisha"the building up of the body of Christ. Every believer without exception, every member of Christ's body, is called to take part in the work of ministering. Let every reader try and realise the sacredness of his holy calling.

Let us learn what the qualification is for our work. The perfecting of the saints' prepares them for the work of ministering.' It is the lack of true sainthood, of true holiness, that causes such lack and feebleness of service. As Christ's saints are taught and truly learn what conformity to Christ means, a life like his, given up in self-sacrifice for the service and salvation of men, as His humility and love, His separation from the world and devotion to the fallen, are seen to be the very essence and blessedness of the life He gives, the work of ministering, the ministry of love, will become the one thing we live for. Humility and Lovea"these are the two great virtues of the sainta"they are the two great powers for the work of ministering.

Humility makes us willing to serve; love makes us wise to know how to do it. Love is inventive; it seeks patiently, and suffers long, until it find a way to reach its object. Humility and love are equally turned away from self and its claims. Let us pray, let the Church labour for the perfecting of the saints' in humility and love, and the Holy Spirit will teach us how to minister.

Let us look at what the great work is the members of Christ have to do.

It is to minister to each other. Place yourself at Christ's disposal for service to your fellow Christians. Count yourself their servant.

Study their interest. Set yourself actively to promote the welfare of the Christians round you. Selfishness may hesitate, the feeling of feebleness may discourage, sloth and ease may raise difficultiesa"ask your Lord to reveal to you His will, and give yourself up to it. Round about you there are Christians who are cold and worldly and wandering from their Lord. Begin to think what you can do for them. Accept as the will of the Head that you as a member should care for them. Pray for the Spirit of love. Begin somewherea"only begin, and do not continue hearing and thinking while you do nothing. Begin the work of ministering' according to the measure of the grace you have. He will give more grace.

Let us believe in the power that worketh in us as sufficient for all we have to do. As I think of the thumb and finger holding the pen with which I write this, I ask, How is it that during all these seventy years of my life they have always known just to do my will? It was because the life of the head pa.s.sed into and worked itself out in them.

He that believeth on Me,' as his Head working in him, the works that I do shall he do also.' Faith in Christ, whose strength is made perfect in our weakness' will give the power for all we are called to do.

Let us cry to G.o.d that all believers may waken up to the power of this great truth: Every member of the body is to live wholly for the building up of the body.

1. To be a true worker the first thing is close, humble fellows.h.i.+p with Christ the Head, to be guided and empowered by Him.

2. The next is humble, loving fellows.h.i.+p with Christ's members serving one another in love.

3. This prepares and fits for service in the world.

XVI.

According to the Working of each several Part That we may grow up in all things into Him, which is the Head, even Christ; from whom all the body fitly framed and knit together through that which every joint together supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part, maketh the increase of the body unto the building up of itself in love.'a"Eph. 4:15, 16 The Apostle is here speaking of the growth, the increase, the building up of the body. This growth and increase has, as we have seen, a double reference. It includes both the spiritual uniting and strengthening of those who are already members, so as to secure the health of the whole body; and also the increase of the body by the addition of all who are as yet outside of it, and are to be gathered in. Of the former we spoke in the previous chaptera"the mutual interdependence of all believers, and the calling to care for each other's welfare. In this chapter we look at the growth from the other sidea"the calling of every member of Christ's body to labour for its increase by the labour of love that seeks to bring in them who are not yet of it. This increase of the body and building up of itself in love can only be by the working in due measure of each several part.

Think of the body of a child; how does it reach the stature of a full-grown man? In no other way but by the working in due measure of every part. As each member takes its part, by the work it does in seeking and taking and a.s.similating food, the increase is made by its building up itself. Not from without, but from within, comes the work that a.s.sures the growth. In no other way can Christ's body attain to the stature of the fulness of Christ. As it is unto Christ the Head we grow up, and from Christ the Head that the body maketh increase of itself, so it is all through that which every joint supplieth, according to the working in due measure of each several part. Let us see what this implies.

The body of Christ is to consist of all who believe in Him throughout the world. There is no possible way in which these members of the body can be gathered in, but by the body building itself up in love. Our Lord has made Himself, as Head, absolutely dependent on His members to do this work. What nature teaches us of our own bodies, Scripture teaches us of Christ's body. The head of a child may have thought and plans of growtha"they will all be vain, except as the members all do their part in securing that growth. Christ Jesus has committed to His Church the growth and increase of His body. He asks and expects that as wholly as He the Head lives for the growth and welfare of the body, every member of His body, the very feeblest, shall do the same, to the building up of the body in love. Every believer is to count it his one duty and blessedness to live and labour for the increase of the body, the ingathering of all who, are to be its members.

What is it that is needed to bring the Church to accept this calling, and to train and help the members of the body to know and fulfil it?

One thing. We must see that the new birth and faith, that all insight into truth, with all resolve and surrender and effort to live according to it, is only a preparation for our true work. What is needed is that in every believer Jesus Christ be so formed, so dwell in the heart, that His life in us shall be the impulse and inspiration of our love to the whole body, and our life for it. It is because self occupies the heart that it is so easy and natural and pleasing to care for ourselves. When Jesus Christ lives in us, it will be as easy and natural and pleasing to live wholly for the body of Christ. As readily and naturally as the thumb and fingers respond to the will and movement of the head will the members of Christ's body respond to the Head, as the body grows up into Him, and from Him maketh increase of itself.

Let us sum up. For the great work the Head is doing in gathering in from throughout the world and building up His body, He is entirely dependent on the service of the members. Not only our Lord, but a peris.h.i.+ng world is waiting and calling for the Church to awake and give herself wholly to this worka"the perfecting of the number of Christ's members. Every believer, the very feeblest, must learn to know his callinga"to live with this as the main object of this existence. This great truth will be revealed to us in power, and obtain the mastery, as we give ourselves to the work of ministering according to the grace we already have. We may confidently wait for the full revelation of Christ in its as the power to do all He asks of us.

XVII.

Women adorned with Good Work.

Let women adorn themselves; not with braided hair, and gold or pearls or costly raiment; but through good works. Let none be enrolled as a widow under threescore years old, well reported of for good works; . .

. if she hath diligently followed every good work.a" 1 Tim. 2:10, 5:9, 10.

In the three Pastoral Epistles, written to two young pastors to instruct them in regard to their duties, good works' are more frequently mentioned than in Paul's other Epistles. In writing to the Churches, as in a chapter like Romans 12 he mentions the individual good work by name. In writing to the pastors he had to use this expression as a summary of what, both in their own life and their teaching of others, they had to aim at. A minister was to be prepared to every good work, furnished completely to every good work, an ensample of good works. And they were to teach Christiansa"the women to adorn themselves with good works, diligently to follow every good work, to be well reported of for good works; the men to be rich in good works, zealous of good works, ready to every good work, to be careful and to learn to maintain good works. No portion of G.o.d's work presses home more definitely the absolute necessity of good works as an essential, vital element in the Christian life.

Our two texts speak of the good works of Christian women. In the first they are taught that their adorning is to be not with braided hair, and gold or pearls or costly raiment, but, as becomes women preferring G.o.dliness, with good works. We know what adornment is. A leafless tree in winter has life; when spring comes it puts on its beautiful garments, and rejoices in the adornment of foliage and blossom. The adorning of Christian women is not to be in hair or pearls or raiment, but in good works. Whether it be the good works that have reference to personal duty and conduct, or those works of beneficence that aim at the pleasing and helping of our neighbor or those that more definitely seek the salvation of soulsa"the adorning that pleases G.o.d, that gives true heavenly beauty, that will truly attract others to come and serve G.o.d, too, is what Christian women ought to seek after. John saw the holy city descend from heaven, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.' The fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints' (Rev.

21:2, 24:8). Oh! that every Christian woman might seek so to adorn herself as to please the Lord that loved her.

In the second pa.s.sage we read of widows who were placed upon a roll of honour in the early Church, and to whom a certain charge was given over the younger women. No one was to be enrolled who was not well reported of for good works.' Some of these are mentioned: if she has been known for the careful bringing up of her children, for her hospitality to strangers, for her was.h.i.+ng the saints' feet, for her relieving the afflicted; and then there is added, if she hath diligently followed every good work.' If in her home and out of it, in caring for her own children, for strangers, for saints, for the afflicted, her life has been devoted to good works, she may indeed be counted fit to be an example and guide to others. The standard is a high one. It shows us the place good works took in the early Church. It shows how woman's blessed ministry of love was counted on and encouraged. It shows how, in the development of the Christian life, nothing so fits for rule and influence as a life given to good works.

Good works are part and parcel of the Christian life, equally indispensable to the health and growth of the individual, and to the welfare and extension of the Church. And yet what mult.i.tudes of Christian women there are whose active share in the good work of blessing their fellow-creatures is little more than playing at good works. They are waiting for the preaching of a full gospel, which shall encourage and help and compel them to give their lives so to work for their Lord, that they, too, may be well reported of as diligently following every good work. The time and money, the thought and heart given to jewels or costly raiment will be redeemed to its true object.

Religion will no longer be a selfish desire for personal safety, but the joy of being like Christ, the helper and saviour of the needy. Work for Christ will take its true place as indeed the highest form of existence, the true adornment of the Christian life. And as diligence in the pursuits of earth is honoured as one of the true elements of character and worth, diligently to follow good works in Christ's service will be found to give access to the highest reward and the fullest joy of the Lord.

1. We are beginning to awaken to the wonderful place woman can take in church and school and mission. This truth needs to be brought home to every one of the King's daughters, that the adorning in which they are to attract the world, to please their Lord, and enter His presence isa"good works.

2. Woman, as the image of the weakness of G.o.d,' the meekness and gentleness of Christ,' is to teach man the beauty and the power of the long-suffering, self-sacrificing ministry of love.

3. The training for the service of love begins in the home life; is strengthened in the inner chamber; reaches out to the needy around, and finds its full scope in the world for which Christ died.

XVIII.

Rich in Good Works.

Charge them that are rich in the present world, that they do good, that they be rich in good works, that they be ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on the life which is life indeed.'a"1 Tim. 6:18 If women are to regard good work as their adornment, men are to count them their riches. As good works satisfy woman's eye and taste for beauty, they meet man's craving for possession and power. In the present world riches have a wonderful significance. They are often G.o.d's reward on diligence, industry, and enterprise. They represent and embody the life-power that has been spent in procuring them. As such they exercise power in the honour or service they secure from others.

Their danger consists in their being of this world, in their drawing off the heart from the living G.o.d and the heavenly treasures. They may become a man's deadliest enemy: How hardly shall they that have riches enter the kingdom of heaven!

The gospel never takes away anything from us without giving us something better in its stead. It meets the desire for riches by the command to be rich in good works. Good works are the coin that is current in G.o.d's kingdom: according to these will be the reward in the world to come. By abounding in good works we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven. Even here on earth they const.i.tute a treasure, in the testimony of a good conscience, in the consciousness of being well-pleasing to G.o.d (1 John 3) in the power of blessing others.

There is more. Wealth of gold is not only a symbol of the heavenly riches; it is actually, though so opposite in its nature, a means to it. Charge the rich that they do good, that they be ready to distribute, willing to communicate, laying up for themselves a good foundation.' Make to yourselves friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness, that, when it fails, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles.' Even as the widow's mite, the gifts of the rich, when given in the same spirit, may be an offering with which G.o.d is well pleased (Heb. 13:16). The man who is rich in money may become rich in good works, if he follows out the instructions Scripture lays down.

The money must not be given to be seen of men but as unto the Lord. Nor as from an owner, but a steward who administers the Lord's money, with prayer for His guidance. Nor with any confidence in its power or influence, but in deep dependence on Him who alone can make it a blessing. Nor as a subst.i.tute for, or bringing out from that personal work and witness, which each believer is to give. As all Christian work, so our money-giving has its value alone from the spirit in which it is done, even the spirit of Christ Jesus.

What a field there is in the world for acc.u.mulating these riches, these heavenly treasures. In relieving the poor, in educating the neglected, in helping the lost, in bringing the gospel to Christians and heathen in darkness, what investment might be made if Christians sought to be rich in good works, rich toward G.o.d. We may well ask the question, What can be done to waken among believers a desire for these true riches?

Men have made a science of the wealth of nations, and carefully studied all the laws by which its increase and universal distribution can be promoted. How can the charge to be rich in good works find a response in the hearts that its pursuit shall be as much a pleasure and a pa.s.sion as the desire for the riches of the present world?

All depends upon the nature, the spirit, there is in man. To the earthly nature, earthly riches have a natural affinity and irresistible attraction. To foster the desire for the acquisition of what const.i.tutes wealth in the heavenly kingdom, we must appeal to the spiritual nature. That spiritual nature needs to be taught and educated and trained into all the business habits that go to make a man rich.

There must be the ambition to rise above the level of a bare existence, the deadly contentment with just being saved. There must be some insight into the beauty and worth of good works as the expression of the Divine lifea"G.o.d's working in us and our working in Him; as the means of bringing glory to G.o.d; as the source of life and blessing to men; as the laying up of a treasure in heaven for eternity. There must be a faith that these riches are actually within our reach, because the grace and Spirit of G.o.d are working in us. And then the outlook for every opportunity of doing the work of G.o.d to those around us, in the footsteps of Him who said, It is more blessed to give than receive.'

Study and apply these principlesa"they will open the sure road to your becoming a rich man. A man who wants to be rich often begins on a small scale, but never loses an opportunity. Begin at once with some work of love, and ask Christ, who became poor, that you might be rich, to help you.

1. What is the cause that the appeal for money for missions meets with such insufficient response? It is because of the low spiritual state of the Church. Christians have no due conception of their calling to live wholly for G.o.d and His kingdom.

2. How can the evil be remedied? Only when believers see and accept their Divine calling to make G.o.d's kingdom their first care, and with humble confession of their sins yield themselves to G.o.d, will they truly seek the heavenly riches to be found in working for G.o.d.

3. Let us never cease to plead and labour for a true spiritual awakening throughout the Church.

XIX.

Working For God! Part 2

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