1 CHRONICLE 22:18
LET every man and every woman among us judge of our life, not merely from that little narrow piece of it which we ourselves live, for that is but a span; but let us judge it by its connection with other lives that may come after our own. If we cannot do all we wish, let us do all we can, in the hope that someone who shall succeed us may complete the project that is so dear to our heart. That is a blessed prayer which Moses wrote in Psalm 40: “Let Thy work appear unto Thy servants, and Thy glory unto their children.” We shall be quite satisfied to do the work, and scarcely see the glory, if we may but know that, in another generation, the work that we shall have done shall produce glory to God which shall be seen among the sons of men., It is enough for us to do to-day’s work in the day; let somebody else do to-morrow’s work if we are not spared to do it. To-day, do that which cometh to thy hand, and be not dreaming of the future. Put down that telescope; you have nothing to do with peering into the next hundred years. The important matter is, not what you spy with your eye, but what you do with your hand. Do it, and do it at once, with all your might, believing that God will find somebody else to go on with the next piece of the work when you have finished your portion.
There is also another delightful thought here, and that is, the continuity of the divine blessing. God was with David in the gathering together of the great stores of treasure for the building of the temple; but then God was also with Solomon. Oh, what a mercy it is that God did not give all His grace to other people before we came into the world! The God of grace did not empty the whole horn of grace upon the head of Whitefield or Wesley; He did not pour out all the blessings of His Spirit upon Romaine and John Newton, so as to leave nothing for us. No; and to the end of time He will be the same God as He was yesterday, and as He is to-day. There is no break in the Lord’s blessing; He has not ceased to be gracious, His arm is not shortened that He cannot save, nor is His ear heavy that He cannot hear. God buries His workmen, but His work goes on; and He, the Great Worker, wearies not of it, nor shall He ever fail or be discouraged.
All His everlasting purposes shall be accomplished, and Christ shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied. Wherefore, let us be of good heart, if we have been apt to look upon the future with fear. The Lord Jesus still lives, and He will take care that His Church shall live and work on until He Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God.
We are engaged in the building of a temple, in a spiritual sense. God has sent His servants into the world, to gather together for His beautiful house stones hewn out of the quarry of nature, to be shaped, polished, and prepared for building into the temple of His grace. The Church is the living temple of God, “exceeding magnifical.” It is a wondrous idea that men’s hearts and souls can be blended together, and built up into a spiritual temple wherein God will dwell. This temple is to be builded of stones taker from the quarry of nature, and, God being with us, you and I are to go forth, and to hew out and shape and prepare the stones for the building of this house of the Lord which shall endure for ever. “Is not the Lord your God with you?” I will go any length with the brother who likes to preach upon the incapacity of man, the utter and entire weakness of the creature apart from the Creator. You cannot, I think, exaggerate there; but do not always keep dwelling upon your own weakness, recollect that, when you are weak, then you are strong, if you do but fall back upon the omnipotence of God. “Is not the Lord your God with you?” Has He sent us into the world with the gospel, and will He not be with us? Has He sent us to be the means of seeking souls, and made our hearts to ache because of the sins that men have committed against Him, and will He not be with us? Do not let us talk as if we had to live and labor without our God. We have been brought to know Him, we have been made members of the mystical body of Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells in us, if we are what we profess to be, — the Church of the living God; will He not occupy the house that He has built? “Is not the Lord your God with you?”
Then, what can be too difficult for you?
It is the good pleasure of God to be with His people. He is our Father; and do not fathers love to be with their children? The loving father says, when he has little ones at home, “I will get back from my business early, that I may spend my evening in the family.” We feel ourselves happiest when, laying aside external cares, we leave the world, and rest with our loved ones at home; so God is at home with His people, as a Father He delights in His children. Remember how Divine Wisdom said, “My delights were with the sons of men.” It is a wonderful thing to be able to say, but God takes a great deal more pleasure in us than we do in Him; yet there, seems in us nothing that can give Him pleasure, while in Him there is everything that can afford us delight. The Lord so loves His people that He is never long away from them.
A brother going out to Australia, came to bid me farewell; he gave me a little sketch of his life during three-and-twenty years, and said, “Yes, sir, you drove me out to work for Christ, you would not let me be idle. You said, ‘The worst kind of lazy people are lazy Christians,’ and you also said ‘to come twice on a Sunday and hear me preach, and to be doing nothing for the Master, is not at all the right thing.’“ Then the good man added, “I do not often get to hear you now. I have been secretary of a Sunday-school for some time, and I often go out preaching, so I cannot come to the Tabernacle,” I do delight in so many members not coming to hear because they are doing the Master’s work elsewhere! I know that in many churches the main thing is to sit down in a corner pew, and be fed, Well, of course every creature needs to be fed, from the pig upwards; __ you must excuse my mentioning that unclean animal, for he is; the creature whose principal business it is to feed, and he is not a nice creature at all, and I do not at all admire Christian people whose one business is to feed and feed. Why, I have heard them even grumble at a sermon that was meant for the conversion of sinners, because they thought there was no food for them in it! They are great receptacles of food; but, dear Christian people, do not any of you live merely to feed, — not even on heavenly food; but if God be with you, as you say He is, then get to His work. “What shall I do?” asks one. That is no business of mine; you have to find work for yourself. He who works for God does not need to go to this man, or that man, and inquire, “What shall I do?” Why, do the first thing that comes to hand, but do get to work for your Master! Many Christians live in country villages where there is no preaching of the gospel; then preach it yourself. “Oh, but I could not!” Well then, get somebody who can. “But we have no chapel,” says one. What do you want with a chapel these bright days? Preach on the village green, where the old trees that were cut down a year or two ago are still lying and will serve for seats. “I could not preach,” says one, “I should break down.” That would be a capital thing to do; break-down sermons are often the best for breaking down other people as well as the preacher. Some of the greatest enterprises in the world have sprung from very little causes; the forest of the mightiest oaks in the world was once only a handful of acorns. Oh, that we might all do what we can for Him who laid down His life for us, and who still continues to abide in us, to be our joy and our strength!
David exhorted people to set their hearts upon what they had to do: “Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God.” Oh, how much there is of our religion that is a kind of celestial going to sleep; the preacher preaches as if he had not really woke up yet; and the people hear in the same fashion. Are there not, even in our churches, many who, if a guinea were to jingle, would be sufficiently wide awake to look for it, but when the gospel is being preached, they are not thoroughly aroused? As to speaking to strangers, and saying a word for the Master, that has not yet occurred to them. “I do not know what I can do,” says one. Brother, if the text is true, I do not know what you cannot do. “Is not the Lord your God with you?” “Well, I could not ____” “Could not, — could not;” do you put God and “could not” together? I think it would be infinitely better to put God and “can” or God and “shall” together. If God be with us, what can be impossible, what can be ever difficult to us? God being with His people, “he that is feeble among them at that day shall be as David; and the house of David shall be as God, as the angel of the Lord before them.”