The True Motive in Service
"Take heed that ye do not your righteousness before men, to
be seen of them." Matthew 6:1, margin .
The words of Christ on the mount were an expression of that which had
been the unspoken teaching of His life, but which the people had failed
to comprehend. They could not understand how, having such great power,
He neglected to use it in securing what they regarded as the chief good.
Their spirit and motives and methods were the opposite of His. While
they claimed to be very jealous for the honor of the law, self-glory was
the real object which they sought; and Christ would make it manifest to
them that the lover of self is a transgressor of the law.
But the principles cherished by the Pharisees are such as are
characteristic of humanity in all ages. The spirit of Pharisaism is the
spirit of human nature; and as the Saviour showed the contrast between
His own spirit and methods and those of the rabbis, His teaching is
equally applicable to the people of all time.
In the days of Christ the Pharisees were continually trying to earn
the favour of Heaven in order to secure the worldly honour and
prosperity which they regarded as the reward of virtue. At the same time
they paraded their acts of charity before the people in order to attract
their attention and gain a reputation for sanctity.
Jesus rebuked their ostentation, declaring that God does not
recognise such service and that the flattery and admiration of the
people, which they so eagerly sought, was the only reward they would
"When thou doest alms," He said, "let not thy left
hand know what thy right hand doeth: that thine alms may be in secret:
and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee
In these words Jesus did not teach that acts of kindness should
always be kept secret. Paul the apostle, writing by the Holy Spirit, did
not conceal the generous self-sacrifice of the Macedonian Christians,
but told of the grace that Christ had wrought in them, and thus others
were imbued with the same spirit. He also wrote to the church at Corinth
and said, "Your zeal hath stirred up very many." 2 Corinthians
Christ's own words make His meaning plain, that in acts of charity
the aim should not be to secure praise and honour from men. Real
godliness never prompts an effort at display. Those who desire words of
praise and flattery, and feed upon them as a sweet morsel, are
Christians in name only.
By their good works, Christ's followers are to bring glory, not to
themselves, but to Him through whose grace and power they have wrought.
It is through the Holy Spirit that every good work is accomplished, and
the Spirit is given to glorify, not the receiver, but the Giver. When
the light of Christ is shining in the soul, the lips will be filled with
praise and thanksgiving to God. Your prayers, your performance of duty,
your benevolence, your self-denial, will not be the theme of your
thought or conversation. Jesus will be magnified, self will be hidden,
and Christ will appear as all in all.
We are to give in sincerity, not to make a show of our good deeds,
but from pity and love to the suffering ones. Sincerity of purpose, real
kindness of heart, is the motive that Heaven values. The soul that is
sincere in its love, wholehearted in its devotion, God regards as more
precious than the golden wedge of Ophir.
We are not to think of reward, but of service; yet kindness shown in
this spirit will not fail of its recompense. "Thy Father which
seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly." While it is true
that God Himself is the great Reward, that embraces every other, the
soul receives and enjoys Him only as it becomes assimilated to Him in
character. Only like can appreciate like. It is as we give ourselves to
God for the service of humanity that He gives Himself to us.
No one can give place in his own heart and life for the stream of
God's blessing to flow to others, without receiving in himself a rich
reward. The hillsides and plains that furnish a channel for the mountain
streams to reach the sea suffer no loss thereby. That which they give is
repaid a hundredfold. For the stream that goes singing on its way leaves
behind its gift of verdure and fruitfulness. The grass on its banks is a
fresher green, the trees have a richer verdure, the flowers are more
abundant. When the earth lies bare and brown under the summer's parching
heat, a line of verdure marks the river's course; and the plain that
opened her bosom to bear the mountain's treasure to the sea is clothed
with freshness and beauty, a witness to the recompense that God's grace
imparts to all who give themselves as a channel for its outflow to the
This is the blessing of those who show mercy to the poor. The prophet
Isaiah says, "Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that
thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the
naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine
own flesh? Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine
health shall spring forth speedily. . . . And the Lord shall guide thee
continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought: . . . and thou shalt be
like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail
not." Isaiah 58:7-11.
The work of beneficence is twice blessed. While he that gives to the
needy blesses others, he himself is blessed in a still greater degree.
The grace of Christ in the soul is developing traits of character that
are the opposite of selfishness,-traits that will refine, ennoble, and
enrich the life. Acts of kindness performed in secret will bind hearts
together, and will draw them closer to the heart of Him from whom every
generous impulse springs. The little attentions, the small acts of love
and self-sacrifice, that flow out from the life as quietly as the
fragrance from a flower--these constitute no small share of the
blessings and happiness of life. And it will be found at last that the
denial of self for the good and happiness of others, however humble and
uncommended here, is recognised in heaven as the token of our union with
Him, the King of glory, who was rich, yet for our sake became poor.
The deeds of kindness may have been done in secret, but the result
upon the character of the doer cannot be hidden. If we work with
wholehearted interest as a follower of Christ, the heart will be in
close sympathy with God, and the Spirit of God, moving upon our spirit,
will call forth the sacred harmonies of the soul in answer to the divine
He who gives increased talents to those who have made a wise
improvement of the gifts entrusted to them is pleased to acknowledge the
service of His believing people in the Beloved, through whose grace and
strength they have wrought. Those who have sought for the development
and perfection of Christian character by exercising their faculties in
good works, will, in the world to come, reap that which they have sown.
The work begun upon earth will reach its consummation in that higher and
holier life to endure throughout eternity.
"When thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites
are." Matthew 6:5 .
The Pharisees had stated hours for prayer; and when, as often came to
pass, they were abroad at the appointed time, they would pause wherever
they might be-perhaps in the street or the market place, amid the
hurrying throngs of men-and there in a loud voice rehearse their formal
prayers. Such worship, offered merely for self-glorification, called
forth unsparing rebuke from Jesus. He did not, however, discountenance
public prayer, for He Himself prayed with His disciples and in the
presence of the multitude. But He teaches that private prayer is not to
be made public. In secret devotion our prayers are to reach the ears of
none but the prayer-hearing God. No curious ear is to receive the burden
of such petitions.
"When thou prayest, enter into thy closet." Have a place
for secret prayer. Jesus had select places for communion with God, and
so should we. We need often to retire to some spot, however humble,
where we can be alone with God.
"Pray to thy Father which is in secret." In the name of
Jesus we may come into God's presence with the confidence of a child. No
man is needed to act as a mediator. Through Jesus we may open our hearts
to God as to one who knows and loves us.
In the secret place of prayer, where no eye but God's can see, no ear
but His can hear, we may pour out our most hidden desires and longings
to the Father of infinite pity, and in the hush and silence of the soul
that voice which never fails to answer the cry of human need will speak
to our hearts.
"The Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy." James
5:11. He waits with unwearied love to hear the confessions of the
wayward and to accept their penitence. He watches for some return of
gratitude from us, as the mother watches for the smile of recognition
from her beloved child. He would have us understand how earnestly and
tenderly His heart yearns over us. He invites us to take our trials to
His sympathy, our sorrows to His love, our wounds to His healing, our
weakness to His strength, our emptiness to His fullness. Never has one
been disappointed who came unto Him. "They looked unto Him, and
were lightened: and their faces were not ashamed." Psalm 34:5.
Those who seek God in secret telling the Lord their needs and
pleading for help, will not plead in vain. "Thy Father which seeth
in secret Himself shall reward thee openly." As we make Christ our
daily companion we shall feel that the powers of an unseen world are all
around us; and by looking unto Jesus we shall become assimilated to His
image. By beholding we become changed. The character is softened,
refined, and ennobled for the heavenly kingdom. The sure result of our
intercourse and fellowship with our Lord will be to increase piety,
purity, and fervour. There will be a growing intelligence in prayer. We
are receiving a divine education, and this is illustrated in a life of
diligence and zeal.
The soul that turns to God for its help, its support, its power, by
daily, earnest prayer, will have noble aspirations, clear perceptions of
truth and duty, lofty purposes of action, and a continual hungering and
thirsting after righteousness. By maintaining a connection with God, we
shall be enabled to diffuse to others, through our association with
them, the light, the peace, the serenity, that rule in our hearts. The
strength acquired in prayer to God, united with persevering effort in
training the mind in thoughtfulness and care-taking, prepares one for
daily duties and keeps the spirit in peace under all circumstances.
If we draw near to God, He will put a word in our mouth to speak for
Him, even praise unto His name. He will teach us a strain from the song
of the angels, even thanksgiving to our heavenly Father. In every act of
life, the light and love of an indwelling Saviour will be revealed.
Outward troubles cannot reach the life that is lived by faith in the Son
"When ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen
do." Matthew 6:7 .
The heathen looked upon their prayers as having in themselves merit
to atone for sin. Hence the longer the prayer the greater the merit. If
they could become holy by their own efforts they would have something in
themselves in which to rejoice, some ground for boasting. This idea of
prayer is an outworking of the principle of self-expiation which lies at
the foundation of all systems of false religion. The Pharisees had
adopted this pagan idea of prayer, and it is by no means extinct in our
day, even among those who profess to be Christians. The repetition of
set, customary phrases, when the heart feels no need of God, is of the
same character as the "vain repetitions" of the heathen.
Prayer is not an expiation for sin; it has no virtue or merit of
itself. All the flowery words at our command are not equivalent to one
holy desire. The most eloquent prayers are but idle words if they do not
express the true sentiments of the heart. But the prayer that comes from
an earnest heart, when the simple wants of the soul are expressed, as we
would ask an earthly friend for a favour, expecting it to be
granted--this is the prayer of faith. God does not desire our ceremonial
compliments, but the unspoken cry of the heart broken and subdued with a
sense of its sin and utter weakness finds its way to the Father of all
"When ye fast, be not, as the hypocrites." Matthew 6:16 .
The fasting which the word of God enjoins is something more than a
form. It does not consist merely in refusing food, in wearing sackcloth,
in sprinkling ashes upon the head. He who fasts in real sorrow for sin
will never court display.
The object of the fast which God calls upon us to keep is not to
afflict the body for the sin of the soul, but to aid us in perceiving
the grievous character of sin, in humbling the heart before God and
receiving His pardoning grace. His command to Israel was, "Rend
your heart, and not your garments, and turn unto the Lord your
God." Joel 2:13.
It will avail nothing for us to do penance or to flatter ourselves
that by our own works we shall merit or purchase an inheritance among
the saints. When the question was asked Christ, "What shall we do,
that we might work the works of God?" He answered, "This is
the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He hath sent." John
6:28, 29. Repentance is turning from self to Christ; and when we receive
Christ so that through faith He can live His life in us, good works will
Jesus said, "When thou fastest, anoint thine head, and wash thy
face; that thou appear not unto men to fast, but unto thy Father which
is in secret." Matthew 6:17, 18. Whatever is done to the glory of
God is to be done with cheerfulness, not with sadness and gloom. There
is nothing gloomy in the religion of Jesus. If Christians give the
impression by a mournful attitude that they have been disappointed in
their Lord, they misrepresent His character and put arguments into the
mouth of His enemies. Though in words they may claim God as their
Father, yet in gloom and sorrow they present to the world the aspect of
Christ desires us to make His service appear attractive, as it really
is. Let the self-denials and the secret heart trials be revealed to the
compassionate Saviour. Let the burdens be left at the foot of the cross,
and go on your way rejoicing in His love who first loved you. Men may
never know of the work going on secretly between the soul and God, but
the result of the Spirit's work upon the heart will be manifest to all,
for He "which seeth in secret, shall reward thee openly."
"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth."
Matthew 6:19 .
Treasure laid up on earth will not endure; thieves break through and
steal; moth and rust corrupt; fire and storm sweep away your
possessions. And "where your treasure is, there will your heart be
also." Treasure laid up on the earth will engross the mind to the
exclusion of heavenly things.
The love of money was the ruling passion in the Jewish age.
Worldliness usurped the place of God and religion in the soul. So it is
now. Avaricious greed for wealth exerts such a fascinating, bewitching
influence over the life that it results in perverting the nobility and
corrupting the humanity of men until they are drowned in perdition. The
service of Satan is full of care, perplexity, and wearing labour, and
the treasure men toil to accumulate on earth is only for a season.
Jesus said, "Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where
neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break
through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be
The instruction is to "lay up for yourselves treasures in
heaven." It is for your own interest to secure heavenly riches.
These alone, of all that you possess, are really yours. The treasure
laid up in heaven is imperishable. No fire or flood can destroy it, no
thief despoil it, no moth or rust corrupt it; for it is in the keeping
This treasure, which Christ esteems as precious above all estimate,
is "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints."
Ephesians 1:18. The disciples of Christ are called His jewels, His
precious and peculiar treasure. He says, "They shall be as the
stones of a crown." "I will make a man more precious than fine
gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir." Zechariah 9:16;
Isaiah 13:12. Christ looks upon His people in their purity and
perfection as the reward of all His sufferings, His humiliation, and His
love, and the supplement of His glory--Christ, the great Centre, from
whom radiates all glory.
And we are permitted to unite with Him in the great work of
redemption and to be sharers with Him in the riches which His death and
suffering have won. The apostle Paul wrote to the Thessalonian
Christians: "What is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Are
not even ye in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming? for
ye are our glory and joy." 1 Thessalonians 2:19, 20. This is the
treasure for which Christ bids us labour. Character is the great harvest
of life. And every word or deed that through the grace of Christ shall
kindle in one soul an impulse that reaches heavenward, every effort that
tends to the formation of a Christlike character, is laying up treasure
Where the treasure is, there the heart will be. In every effort to
benefit others, we benefit ourselves. He who gives money or time for
spreading the gospel enlists his own interest and prayers for the work,
and for the souls to be reached through it; his affections go out to
others, and he is stimulated to greater devotion to God, that he may be
enabled to do them the greatest good.
And at the final day, when the wealth of earth shall perish, he who
has laid up treasure in heaven will behold that which his life has
gained. If we have given heed to the words of Christ, then, as we gather
around the great white throne, we shall see souls who have been saved
through our agency, and shall know that one has saved others, and these
still others--a large company brought into the haven of rest as the
result of our labours, there to lay their crowns at Jesus' feet, and
praise Him through the ceaseless ages of eternity. With what joy will
the worker for Christ behold these redeemed ones, who share the glory of
the Redeemer! How precious will heaven be to those who have been
faithful in the work of saving souls!
"If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are
above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God." Colossians
"If . . . thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full
of light." Matthew 6:22 .
Singleness of purpose, wholehearted devotion to God, is the condition
pointed out by the Saviour's words. Let the purpose be sincere and
unwavering to discern the truth and to obey it at whatever cost, and you
will receive divine enlightenment. Real piety begins when all compromise
with sin is at an end. Then the language of the heart will be that of
the apostle Paul: "This one thing I do, forgetting those things
which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in
Christ Jesus." "I count all things but loss for the excellency
of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the
loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win
Christ." Philippians 3:13, 14, 8.
But when the eye is blinded by the love of self, there is only
darkness. "If thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of
darkness." It was this fearful darkness that wrapped the Jews in
stubborn unbelief, making it impossible for them to appreciate the
character and mission of Him who came to save them from their sins.
Yielding to temptation begins in permitting the mind to waver, to be
inconstant in your trust in God. If we do not choose to give ourselves
fully to God then we are in darkness. When we make any reserve we are
leaving open a door through which Satan can enter to lead us astray by
his temptations. He knows that if he can obscure our vision, so that the
eye of faith cannot see God, there will be no barrier against sin.
The prevalence of a sinful desire shows the delusion of the soul.
Every indulgence of that desire strengthens the soul's aversion to God.
In following the path of Satan's choosing, we are encompassed by the
shadows of evil, and every step leads into deeper darkness and increases
the blindness of the heart.
The same law obtains in the spiritual as in the natural world. He who
abides in darkness will at last lose the power of vision. He is shut in
by a deeper than midnight blackness; and to him the brightest noontide
can bring no light. He "walketh in darkness, and knoweth not
whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes." 1
John 2:11. Through persistently cherishing evil, wilfully disregarding
the pleadings of divine love, the sinner loses the love for good, the
desire for God, the very capacity to receive the light of heaven. The
invitation of mercy is still full of love, the light is shining as
brightly as when it first dawned upon his soul; but the voice falls on
deaf ears, the light on blinded eyes.
No soul is ever finally deserted of God, given up to his own ways, so
long as there is any hope of his salvation. "Man turns from God,
not God from him." Our heavenly Father follows us with appeals and
warnings and assurances of compassion, until further opportunities and
privileges would be wholly in vain. The responsibility rests with the
sinner. By resisting the Spirit of God today, he prepares the way for a
second resistance of light when it comes with mightier power. Thus he
passes on from one stage of resistance to another, until at last the
light will fail to impress, and he will cease to respond in any measure
to the Spirit of God. Then even "the light that is in thee"
has become darkness. The very truth we do know has become so perverted
as to increase the blindness of the soul.
"No man can serve two masters." Matthew 6:24 .
Christ does not say that man will not or shall not serve two masters,
but that he cannot . The interests of God and the interests of
mammon have no union or sympathy. Just where the conscience of the
Christian warns him to forbear, to deny himself, to stop, just there the
worldling steps over the line, to indulge his selfish propensities. On
one side of the line is the self-denying follower of Christ; on the
other side is the self-indulgent world lover, pandering to fashion,
engaging in frivolity, and pampering himself in forbidden pleasure. On
that side of the line the Christian cannot go.
No one can occupy a neutral position; there is no middle class, who
neither love God nor serve the enemy of righteousness. Christ is to live
in His human agents and work through their faculties and act through
their capabilities. Their will must be submitted to His will; they must
act with His Spirit. Then it is no more they that live, but Christ that
lives in them. He who does not give himself wholly to God is under the
control of another power, listening to another voice, whose suggestions
are of an entirely different character. Half-and-half service places the
human agent on the side of the enemy as a successful ally of the hosts
of darkness. When men who claim to be soldiers of Christ engage with the
confederacy of Satan, and help along his side, they prove themselves
enemies of Christ. They betray sacred trusts. They form a link between
Satan and the true soldiers, so that through these agencies the enemy is
constantly working to steal away the hearts of Christ's soldiers.
The strongest bulwark of vice in our world is not the iniquitous life
of the abandoned sinner or the degraded outcast; it is that life which
otherwise appears virtuous, honourable, and noble, but in which one sin
is fostered, one vice indulged. To the soul that is struggling in secret
against some giant temptation, trembling upon the very verge of the
precipice, such an example is one of the most powerful enticements to
sin. He who, endowed with high conceptions of life and truth and honour,
does yet wilfully transgress one precept of God's holy law, has
perverted His noble gifts into a lure to sin. Genius, talent, sympathy,
even generous and kindly deeds, may become decoys of Satan to entice
other souls over the precipice of ruin for this life and the life to
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.
If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all
that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes,
and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world."
1 John 2:15, 16.
"Be not anxious." Matthew 6:25, R.V .
He who has given you life knows your need of food to sustain it. He
who created the body is not unmindful of your need of raiment. Will not
He who has bestowed the greater gift bestow also what is needed to make
Jesus pointed His hearers to the birds as they warbled
their carols of praise, unencumbered with thoughts of care, for
"they sow not, neither do they reap;" and yet the great Father
provides for their needs. And He asks, "Are not ye of much more
value than they?" R.V.
"No sparrow falls without His care,
No soul bows low but Jesus knows;
For He is with us everywhere,
And marks each bitter tear that flows.
And He will never, never, never
Forsake the soul that trusts Him ever."
The hillsides and the fields were bright with flowers, and, pointing
to them in the dewy freshness of the morning, Jesus said, "Consider
the lilies of the field, how they grow." The graceful forms and
delicate hues of the plants and flowers may be copied by human skill,
but what touch can impart life to even one flower or blade of grass?
Every wayside blossom owes its being to the same power that set the
starry worlds on high. Through all created things thrills one pulse of
life from the great heart of God. The flowers of the field are clothed
by His hand in richer robes than have ever graced the forms of earthly
kings. And "if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today
is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe
you, O ye of little faith?"
It is He who made the flowers and who gave to the sparrow its song
who says, "Consider the lilies," "Behold the birds."
R.V. In the loveliness of the things of nature you may learn more of the
wisdom of God than the schoolmen know. On the lily's petals, God has
written a message for you, written in language that your heart can read
only as it unlearns the lessons of distrust and selfishness and
corroding care. Why has He given you the singing birds and the gentle
blossoms, but from the overflowing love of a Father's heart, that would
brighten and gladden your path of life? All that was needed for
existence would have been yours without the flowers and birds, but God
was not content to provide what would suffice for mere existence. He has
filled earth and air and sky with glimpses of beauty to tell you of His
loving thought for you. The beauty of all created things is but a gleam
from the shining of His glory. If He has lavished such infinite skill
upon the things of nature, for your happiness and joy, can you doubt
that He will give you every needed blessing?
"Consider the lilies." Every flower that opens its petals
to the sunshine obeys the same great laws that guide the stars, and how
simple and beautiful and how sweet its life! Through the flowers, God
would call our attention to the loveliness of Christlike character. He
who has given such beauty to the blossoms desires far more that the soul
should be clothed with the beauty of the character of Christ.
Consider, says Jesus, how the lilies grow; how, springing from the
cold, dark earth, or from the mud of the river bed, the plants unfold in
loveliness and fragrance. Who would dream of the possibilities of beauty
in the rough brown bulb of the lily? But when the life of God, hidden
therein, unfolds at His call in the rain and the sunshine, men marvel at
the vision of grace and loveliness. Even so will the life of God unfold
in every human soul that will yield itself to the ministry of His grace,
which, free as the rain and the sunshine, comes with its benediction to
all. It is the word of God that creates the flowers, and the same word
will produce in you the graces of His Spirit.
God's law is the law of love. He has surrounded you with beauty to
teach you that you are not placed on earth merely to delve for self, to
dig and build, to toil and spin, but to make life bright and joyous and
beautiful with the love of Christ--like the flowers, to gladden other
lives by the ministry of love.
Fathers and mothers, let your children learn from the flowers. Take
them with you into garden and field and under the leafy trees, and teach
them to read in nature the message of God's love. Let the thoughts of
Him be linked with bird and flower and tree. Lead the children to see in
every pleasant and beautiful thing an expression of God's love for them.
Recommend your religion to them by its pleasantness. Let the law of
kindness be in your lips.
Teach the children that because of God's great love their natures may
be changed and brought into harmony with His. Teach them that He would
have their lives beautiful with the graces of the flowers. Teach them,
as they gather the sweet blossoms, that He who made the flowers is more
beautiful than they. Thus the tendrils of their hearts will be entwined
about Him. He who is "altogether lovely" will become to them
as a daily companion and familiar friend, and their lives will be
transformed into the image of His purity.
"Seek ye first the kingdom of God." Matthew 6:33 .
The people who listened to the words of Christ were still anxiously
watching for some announcement of the earthly kingdom. While Jesus was
opening to them the treasures of heaven, the question uppermost in many
minds was, How will a connection with Him advance our prospects in the
world? Jesus shows that in making the things of the world their supreme
anxiety they were like the heathen nations about them, living as if
there were no God, whose tender care is over His creatures.
"All these things," said Jesus, "do the nations of the
world seek after." "Your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have
need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His
righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." Luke
12: 30; Matt. 6:32, 33. I have come to open to you the kingdom of love
and righteousness and peace. Open your hearts to receive this kingdom,
and make its service your highest interest. Though it is a spiritual
kingdom, fear not that your needs for this life will be uncared-for. If
you give yourself to God's service, He who has all power in heaven and
earth will provide for your needs.
Jesus does not release us from the necessity of effort, but He
teaches that we are to make Him first and last and best in everything.
We are to engage in no business, follow no pursuit, seek no pleasure,
that would hinder the outworking of His righteousness in our character
and life. Whatever we do is to be done heartily, as unto the Lord.
Jesus, while He dwelt on earth, dignified life in all its details by
keeping before men the glory of God, and by subordinating everything to
the will of His Father. If we follow His example, His assurance to us is
that all things needful in this life "shall be added." Poverty
or wealth, sickness or health, simplicity or wisdom--all are provided
for in the promise of His grace.
God's everlasting arm encircles the soul that turns to Him for aid,
however feeble that soul may be. The precious things of the hills shall
perish, but the soul that lives for God shall abide with Him. "The
world passeth away, and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of
God abideth forever." 1 John 2:17. The city of God will open its
golden gates to receive him who learned while on earth to lean on God
for guidance and wisdom, for comfort and hope, amid loss and affliction.
The songs of the angels will welcome him there, and for him the tree of
life shall yield its fruit. "The mountains shall depart, and the
hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from thee, neither
shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath
mercy on thee." Isaiah 54:10.
"Be not therefore anxious for the morrow. . . . Sufficient
unto the day is the evil thereof." Matthew 6:34, R.V .
If you have given yourself to God, to do His work, you have no need
to be anxious for tomorrow. He whose servant you are, knows the end from
the beginning. The events of tomorrow, which are hidden from your view,
are open to the eyes of Him who is omnipotent.
When we take into our hands the management of things with which we
have to do, and depend upon our own wisdom for success, we are taking a
burden which God has not given us, and are trying to bear it without His
aid. We are taking upon ourselves the responsibility that belongs to
God, and thus are really putting ourselves in His place. We may well
have anxiety and anticipate danger and loss, for it is certain to befall
us. But when we really believe that God loves us and means to do us good
we shall cease to worry about the future. We shall trust God as a child
trusts a loving parent. Then our troubles and torments will disappear,
for our will is swallowed up in the will of God.
Christ has given us no promise of help in bearing today the burdens
of tomorrow. He has said, "My grace is sufficient for thee" (2
Corinthians 12:9); but, like the manna given in the wilderness, His
grace is bestowed daily, for the day's need. Like the hosts of Israel in
their pilgrim life, we may find morning by morning the bread of heaven
for the day's supply.
One day alone is ours, and during this day we are to live for God.
For this one day we are to place in the hand of Christ, in solemn
service, all our purposes and plans, casting all our care upon Him, for
He careth for us. "I know the thoughts that I think toward you,
saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an
expected end." "In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in
quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." Jeremiah
29:11; Isaiah 30:15.
If you will seek the Lord and be converted every day; if you will of
your own spiritual choice be free and joyous in God; if with gladsome
consent of heart to His gracious call you come wearing the yoke of
Christ,--the yoke of obedience and service,--all your murmurings will be
stilled, all your difficulties will be removed, all the perplexing
problems that now confront you will be solved.
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