Friday, July 27, 2007

Are we truly useful to God?

If we do that which is pleasing in God’s sight the Lord will be with us in our work, but not else. Suppose a minister to have been living through the week a careless, prayerless life; he may preach his best, but as he is not a vessel fit for the Master’s use he may not reckon upon being used by the Lord. If the Sunday-school teacher goes to her class after indulging in light conversation or in an angry temper, there is no wonder that souls are not converted by her teaching. If the city missionary does not find souls blessed in his district, need he wonder, when upon looking within he sees a cold heart, and upon looking without he sees a negligent life? A mother wonders that her children are not saved, and yet it would be a far greater wonder if they were, when her general conduct and spirit are taken into consideration. A father has been astonished that his boys have not turned out Christians, while every one except himself can see that it would have been a thousand miracles if they had become religious, for their father’s religion is of that sour, melancholy, rigid, frigid, unlovely type, that you could not suppose anybody could like it unless they had a partiality for sour grapes and bitter aloes.

We must get rid of the things that displease God, if we are to be useful, and when that is done then shall we be able to say, “He that sent me is with me; the Father hath not left me alone.”

Now I close, and closing I ask you — is this too high a model for you? Would you prefer an example which would let you abide contented in a measure of sin? I hear many say, “I love Christ,” but their love does not make them imitate the Lord. I fear that they do not know him, and if they did they would not love him, but would think him a deal too precise and self-denying. There is such a thing as loving a Christ of our imagining, and not the Christ of the New Testament, whose character is absolute perfection. Do you love the holy Jesus? If you do, then I am sure you do not think his character too elevated, or his example too pure, nay, you say, “Lord, I love this holy living, I only wish I could in all things copy it. Oh, for more holiness! Grant it to me!”

From a sermon entitled "The Christian's Motto, delivered March 22, 1874.

Photo by Kyle Simourd.

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