TO have a noble purpose, and to pursue that purpose with all your might, prevents your being like “dumb driven cattle”, and lifts you out of the mist and fog of the valley, and sets your feet upon the hill-top, where you can commune with God. I would suggest to our younger friends that they should begin their Christian life with a high purpose, and that they should never forget that purpose, and if trouble should come, they should say, “Let it come; my face is set, like a flint, to do this work to which my Lord has called me, and I will pursue it with all my might.” It may seem as if there were no spiritual help in such advice as this; but, believe me, there is.
If God shall give you grace to go on with your life-work, He will thereby give you grace to overcome your life-trouble.
David’s work fits on to the work of another. That should be a great joy to some of you who do not see much corning of what you are doing. Your work is going to fit on to somebody else’s work.
This is the order of God’s providence in His Church. It does not often happen that He gives a whole piece of work to one man; but He seems to say to him, “You go and do so much; then I will send somebody else to do the rest.” How this ought to cheer some of you up, the thought that your work may be no failure, though in itself it may seem to be so, because it fits on to the work of somebody else who is corning after you, and so it will be very far from a failure! You have sometimes seen a man take a contract to put in the foundations of a house, and to carry it up to a certain height. He has done that; he will not be the builder of that house that will be the work of the next contractor, who carries up the walls, and puts on the roof and so forth. Yes, but he who did the foundation-work did a great deal, and he is as much the builder of the house as the man who carries up the walls.
I daresay that Solomon often thought gratefully of his father David, and what he had done; and you and I, if God blesses us, ought always to think with thanksgiving of the Davids who went before us. If you have success in your class, my sister, remember that there was an excellent Christian woman who had the class before you. You come, young man, into the Sunday-school, and you think that you must be somebody very great because you have had several conversions in your class. How about the brother who had to give up the class through ill-health? You took his place who knows which of you will have the honor at the last great day? I was about to say, Who cares? for we do not live for honor, we live to serve God; and if I can serve God best by digging out the cellar, and you can serve God best by throwing out that ornamental bay window, my brother, you go on with your bay window, and I will go on with my cellar, for what matters it what we do so long as the house is built, and God is glorified thereby? It is the way of God in providence to set one man to do part of a work which pieces on to that of another man.
But this is a terrible blow at self. Self says, “I like to begin something of my own, and I like to carry it out; I do not want any interference from other people.” A friend proposed, the other day, to give you a little help in your service. You looked at him as if he had been a thief. You do not want any help; you are quite up to the mark; you are like a wagon and four horses, and a dog under the wagon as well! There is everything about you that is wanted; you need no help from anybody; you can do all things almost without the help of God! I am very sorry for you if that is your opinion. If you get into God’s service He may say to you, “‘You shall never begin anything; but shall always come in as the second man;” or, “You shall never finish anything; you shall always be getting ready for somebody else.” It is well to have an ambition not to build upon another man’s foundation; but do not carry that idea too far. If there is a good foundation laid by another man, and you can finish the structure, be thankful that he has done his part, and rejoice that you are permitted to carry on his work.
It is God’s way of striking a blow at our personal pride by allowing one man’s work to fit on to another’s.
I believe that it is good for the work to have a change of workers. I am glad that David did not live any longer; for he could not have built the temple. David must die. He has had a good time of service, He has gathered all the materials for the temple. Solomon comes, with young blood and youthful vigor, and carries on the work. Sometimes, the best thing that some of us old folk can do is to go home, and go to heaven, and let some younger man come, and do our work. I know there are great lamentations about the death of Dr. So-and-so, and Mr. So-and-so; but why? Do you not think that, after all, God can find as good men as those He has found already? He made those good men, and He is not short of power; He can make others; just as good as they have been. I was present at a funeral, where I heard a prayer that rather shocked me. Some brother had said that God could raise up another minister equal to the one who was in the coffin; but prayer was offered up by another man who said that This preacher had been eyes to his blindness, feet to his lameness, and I do not know what ‘beside; and then he said, “Thy poor unworthy dust does not think that Thou ever canst or wilt raise up another man like him.” So he had not an omnipotent God; but you and I have, and with an omnipotent God it is for the good of the work that David should go to his rest, and that Solomon should come in, and carry on the work.
Certainly, this creates unity in the Church of God. If we all had a work of our own, and were shut up to do it, we should not know one another; but now I cannot do my work without your help, my dear friends; and in some respects, you cannot do your work without my help. We are members one of another, and one helps the other.
We want recruits; we are always wanting them. May God lead some, who have been on the side of sin and self, to come out and say, “Set my name down amongst God’s people. By the grace of God, I am going to be on Christ’s side, and help to build His temple.” Come along, my brother; come along, my sister; we are glad of your help. The work is not all done yet; you are not too late to fight the Lord’s battles, nor to win the crown of the victors. The Lord has a large army of the soldiers of the cross; and “thou mayest add thereto.” God save thee! Christ bless thee! The Spirit inspire thee.!