Success in any line demands a definite aim. He who would achieve true
success in life must keep steadily in view the aim worthy of his endeavor.
Such an aim is set before the youth of today. The heaven-appointed
purpose of giving the gospel to the world in this generation is the
noblest that can appeal to any human being. It opens a field of effort
to everyone whose heart Christ has touched.
God's purpose for the children growing up beside our hearths is
wider, deeper, higher, than our restricted vision has comprehended. From
the humblest lot those whom He has seen faithful have in time past been
called to witness for Him in the world's highest places. And many a lad
of today, growing up as did Daniel in his Judean home, studying God's
word and His works, and learning the lessons of faithful service, will
yet stand in legislative assemblies, in halls of justice, or in royal
courts, as a witness for the King of kings. Multitudes will be called to
a wider ministry. The whole world is opening to the gospel. Ethiopia is
stretching out her hands unto God. From Japan and China and India, from
the still-darkened lands of our own continent, from every quarter of
this world of ours, comes the cry of sin-stricken hearts for a knowledge
of the God of love. Millions upon millions have never so much as heard
of God or of His love revealed in Christ. It is their right to receive
this knowledge. They have an equal claim with us in the Savior's mercy.
And it rests with us who have received the knowledge, with our children
to whom we may impart it, to answer their cry. To every household and
every school, to every parent, teacher, and child upon whom has shone
the light of the gospel, comes at this crisis the question put to Esther
the queen at that momentous crisis in Israel's history, "Who
knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as
this?" Esther 4:14.
Those who think of the result of hastening or hindering the gospel
think of it in relation to themselves and to the world. Few think of its
relation to God. Few give thought to the suffering that sin has caused
our Creator. All heaven suffered in Christ's agony; but that suffering
did not begin or end with His manifestation in humanity. The cross is a
revelation to our dull senses of the pain that, from its very inception,
sin has brought to the heart of God. Every departure from the right,
every deed of cruelty, every failure of humanity to reach His ideal,
brings grief to Him. When there came upon Israel the calamities that
were the sure result of separation from God,--subjugation by their
enemies, cruelty, and death, --it is said that "His soul was
grieved for the misery of Israel." "In all their affliction He
was afflicted: . . . and He bare them, and carried them all the days of
old." Judges 10:16; Isaiah 63:9.
His Spirit "maketh intercession for us with groanings which
cannot be uttered." As the "whole creation groaneth and
travaileth in pain together" (Romans 8:26, 22), the heart of the
infinite Father is pained in sympathy.
Our world is a vast lazar house, a scene of misery that we dare not
allow even our thoughts to dwell upon. Did we realize it as it is, the
burden would be too terrible. Yet God feels it all. In order to destroy
sin and its results He gave His best Beloved, and He has put it in our
power, through co-operation with Him, to bring this scene of misery to
an end. "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the
world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come."
"Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every
creature" (Mark 16:15), is Christ's command to His followers. Not
that all are called to be ministers or missionaries in the ordinary
sense of the term; but all may be workers with Him in giving the
"glad tidings" to their fellow men. To all, great or small,
learned or ignorant, old or young, the command is given.
In view of this command, can we educate our sons and daughters for a
life of respectable conventionality, a life professedly Christian, but
lacking His self-sacrifice, a life on which the verdict of Him who is
truth must be, "I know you not"?
Thousands are doing this. They think to secure for their children the
benefits of the gospel while they deny its spirit. But this cannot be.
Those who reject the privilege of fellowship with Christ in service,
reject the only training that imparts a fitness for participation with
Him in His glory. They reject the training that in this life gives
strength and nobility of character. Many a father and mother, denying
their children to the cross of Christ, have learned too late that they
were thus giving them over to the enemy of God and man. They sealed
their ruin, not alone for the future but for the present life.
Temptation overcame them. They grew up a curse to the world, a grief and
shame to those who gave them being.
Even in seeking a preparation for God's service, many are turned
aside by wrong methods of education. Life is too generally regarded as
made up of distinct periods, the period of learning and the period of
doing--of preparation and of achievement. In preparation for a life of
service the youth are sent to school, to acquire knowledge by the study
of books. Cut off from the responsibilities of everyday life, they
become absorbed in study, and often lose sight of its purpose. The ardor
of their early consecration dies out, and too many take up with some
personal, selfish ambition. Upon their graduation, thousands find
themselves out of touch with life. They have so long dealt with the
abstract and theoretical that when the whole being must roused to meet
the sharp contests of real life, they are unprepared. Instead of the
noble work they had purposed, their energies are engrossed in a struggle
for mere subsistence. After repeated disappointments, in despair even of
earning an honest livelihood, many drift into questionable or criminal
practices. The world is robbed of the service it might have received;
and God is robbed of the souls He longed to uplift, ennoble, and honor
as representatives of Himself.
Many parents err in discriminating between their children in the
matter of education. They make almost any sacrifice to secure the best
advantages for one that is bright and apt. But these opportunities are
not thought a necessity for those who are less promising. Little
education is deemed essential for the performance of life's ordinary
But who is capable of selecting from a family of children the ones
upon whom will rest the most important responsibilities? How often human
judgment has here proved to be at fault! Remember the experience of
Samuel when sent to anoint from the sons of Jesse one to be king over
Israel. Seven noble-looking youth passed before him. As he looked upon
the first, in features comely, in form well-developed, and in bearing
princely, the prophet exclaimed, "Surely the Lord's anointed is
before Him." But God said, "Look not on his countenance, or on
the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for the Lord
seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but
the Lord looketh on the heart." So of all the seven the testimony
was, "The Lord hath not chosen these." 1 Samuel 16:6, 7, 10.
And not until David had been called from the flock was the prophet
permitted to fulfill his mission.
The elder brothers, from whom Samuel would have chosen, did not
possess the qualifications that God saw to be essential in a ruler of
His people. Proud, self-centered, self-confident, they were set aside
for the one whom they lightly regarded, one who had preserved the
simplicity and sincerity of his youth, and who, while little in his own
sight, could be trained by God for the responsibilities of the kingdom.
So today, in many a child whom the parents would pass by, God sees
capabilities far above those revealed by others who are thought to
possess great promise.
And as regards life's possibilities, who is capable of deciding what
is great and what is small? How many a worker in the lowly places of
life, by setting on foot agencies for the blessing of the world, has
achieved results that kings might envy!
Let every child, then, receive an education for the highest service.
"In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thine
hand: for thou knowest not which shall prosper, whether this or
that," Ecclesiastes 11:6, R.V.
The specific place appointed us in life is determined by our
capabilities. Not all reach the same development or do with equal
efficiency the same work. God does not expect the hyssop to attain the
proportions of the cedar, or the olive the height of the stately palm.
But each should aim just as high as the union of human with divine power
makes it possible for him to reach.
Many do not become what they might, because they do not put forth the
power that is in them. They do not, as they might, lay hold on divine
strength. Many are diverted from the line in which they might reach the
truest success. Seeking greater honor or a more pleasing task, they
attempt something for which they are not fitted. Many a man whose
talents are adapted for some other calling, is ambitious to enter a
profession; and he who might have been successful as a farmer, an
artisan, or a nurse, fills inadequately the position of a minister, a
lawyer, or a physician. There are others, again, who might have filled a
responsible calling, but who, for want of energy, application, or
perseverance, content themselves with an easier place.
We need to follow more closely God's plan of life. To do our best in
the work that lies nearest, to commit our ways to God, and to watch for
the indications of His providence--these are rules that ensure safe
guidance in the choice of an occupation.
He who came from heaven to be our example spent nearly thirty years
of His life in common, mechanical labor; but during this time He was
studying the word and the works of God, and helping, teaching, all whom
His influence could reach. When His public ministry began, He went about
healing the sick, comforting the sorrowful, and preaching the gospel to
the poor. This is the work of all His followers.
"He that is greatest among you," He said, "let him be
as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For . . . I
am among you as he that serveth." Luke 22:26, 27.
Love and loyalty to Christ are the spring of all true service. In the
heart touched by His love, there is begotten a desire to work for Him.
Let this desire be encouraged and rightly guided. Whether in the home,
the neighborhood, or the school, the presence of the poor, the
afflicted, the ignorant, or the unfortunate should be regarded, not as a
misfortune, but as affording precious opportunity for service.
In this work, as in every other, skill is gained in the work itself.
It is by training in the common duties of life and in ministry to the
needy and suffering, that efficiency is assured. Without this the
best-meant efforts are often useless and even harmful. It is in the
water, not on the land, that men learn to swim.
Another obligation, too often lightly regarded,--one that to the
youth awakened to the claims of Christ needs to be made plain,--is the
obligation of church relationship.
Very close and sacred is the relation between Christ and His
church--He the bridegroom, and the church the bride; He the head, and
the church the body. Connection with Christ, then, involves connection
with His church.
The church is organized for service; and in a life of service to
Christ, connection with the church is one of the first steps. Loyalty to
Christ demands the faithful performance of church duties. This is an
important part of one's training; and in a church imbued with the
Master's life, it will lead directly to effort for the world without.
There are many lines in which the youth can find opportunity for
helpful effort. Let them organize into bands for Christian service, and
the co-operation will prove an assistance and an encouragement. Parents
and teachers, by taking an interest in the work of the young people,
will be able to give them the benefit of their own larger experience,
and can help them to make their efforts effective for good.
It is acquaintance that awakens sympathy, and sympathy is the spring
of effective ministry. To awaken in the children and youth sympathy and
the spirit of sacrifice for the suffering millions in the "regions
beyond," let them become acquainted with these lands and their
peoples. In this line much might be accomplished in our schools. Instead
of dwelling on the exploits of the Alexanders and Napoleons of history,
let the pupils study the lives of such men as the apostle Paul and
Martin Luther, as Moffat and Livingstone and Carey, and the present
daily-unfolding history of missionary effort. Instead of burdening their
memories with an array of names and theories that have no bearing upon
their lives, and to which, once outside the schoolroom, they
rarely give a thought, let them study all lands in the light of
missionary effort and become acquainted with the peoples and their
In this closing work of the gospel there is a vast field to be
occupied; and, more than ever before, the work is to enlist helpers from
the common people. Both the youth and those older in years will be
called from the field, from the vineyard, and from the workshop, and
sent forth by the Master to give His message. Many of these have had
little opportunity for education; but Christ sees in them qualifications
that will enable them to fulfill His purpose. If they put their hearts
into the work, and continue to be learners, He will fit them to labor
He who knows the depths of the world's misery and despair, knows by
what means to bring relief. He sees on every hand souls in darkness,
bowed down with sin and sorrow and pain. But He sees also their
possibilities; He sees the height to which they may attain. Although
human beings have abused their mercies, wasted their talents, and lost
the dignity of godlike manhood, the Creator is to be glorified in their
The burden of labor for these needy ones in the rough places of the
earth Christ lays upon those who can feel for the ignorant and for such
as are out of the way. He will be present to help those whose hearts are
susceptible to pity, though their hands may be rough and unskilled. He
will work through those who can see mercy in misery, and gain in loss.
When the Light of the world passes by, privilege will be discerned in
hardship, order in confusion, success in apparent failure. Calamities
will be seen as disguised blessings; woes, as mercies. Laborers from the
common people, sharing the sorrows of their fellow men as their Master
shared the sorrows of the whole human race, will by faith see Him
working with them.
"The great day of the Lord is near, it is near, and hasteth
greatly." Zephaniah 1:14. And a world is to be warned.
With such preparation as they can gain, thousands upon thousands of
the youth and those older in years should be giving themselves to this
work. Already many hearts are responding to the call of the Master
Worker, and their numbers will increase. Let every Christian educator
give such workers sympathy and co-operation. Let him encourage and
assist the youth under his care in gaining a preparation to join the
There is no line of work in which it is possible for the youth to
receive greater benefit. All who engage in ministry are God's helping
hand. They are co-workers with the angels; rather, they are the human
agencies through whom the angels accomplish their mission. Angels speak
through their voices, and work by their hands. And the human workers,
co-operating with heavenly agencies, have the benefit of their education
and experience. As a means of education, what "university
course" can equal this?
With such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might
furnish, how soon the message of a crucified, risen, and soon-coming Savior
might be carried to the whole world! How soon might the end come--the
end of suffering and sorrow and sin! How soon, in place of a possession
here, with its blight of sin and pain, our children might receive their
inheritance where "the righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell
therein forever;" where "the inhabitant shall not say, I am
sick," and "the voice of weeping shall be no more heard."
Psalm 37:29; Isaiah 33:24; 65:19.
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