Thursday, January 3, 2008

Working as unto the Lord

I dare say some of you think when ministers preach or go about to do their pastoral duty, that of course Christ is very much pleased with them. “Ah,” says Mary, “I am only a poor servant girl; I have to get up in the morning and light the fire, lay out the breakfast things, dust the parlor, make the pies and puddings for dinner, and clear away the things again, and wash them up — I have to do everything there is to do in the house — Christ cannot be pleased with this.” Why Mary, you can serve Christ as much in making beds, as I can in making sermons; and you can be as much a true servant of Christ in dusting a room, as I can in administering discipline in a church.

Do not think for a single moment that you cannot serve Christ. Our religion is to be an everyday religion — a religion for the kitchen as well as for the parlor, a religion for the rolling pin, and the jack-towel, quite as much as for the pulpit stairs and the Bible — a religion that we can take with us wherever we go. And there is such a thing as glorifying Christ in all the common actions of life. “Servants be obedient to your masters, not only to those who are good and gentle, but to the froward.” You men of business, you need not think that when you are measuring your ribbons, or weighing out your pounds of sugar, or when you are selling, or buying, or going to market, and such like, that you cannot be serving Christ. Why a builder can serve Christ in putting his bricks together, and you can serve Christ in whatever you are called to do with your hands, if you do it as unto the Lord, and not unto men. I remember Mr. Jay once said, that if a shoeblack were a Christian, he could serve Christ in blacking shoes. He ought to black them, he said, better than anyone else in the parish; and then people would say, “Ah, this Christian shoeblack, he is conscientious; he won’t send the boots away with the heels half done, but will do them thoroughly.” And so ought you. You can say of every article you sell, and of everything you do, “I turned that out of my hands in such a manner that it shall defy competition. The man has got his money’s worth; he cannot say I am a rogue or a cheat. There are tricks in many trades, but I will not have anything to do with them; many get money fast by adulteration in trade, but I will not do it, I would sooner be poor than do it.”

Why, the world says, “there is a sermon in that grocer’s window — look, you don’t see him telling lies to puff his goods: there is a sermon there.” People say as they pass by, “It is a godly man that keeps that shop, he cannot bring his conscience down to do what others do. If you go there, you will be well treated, and you will come out of his shop and say, I have spent my money well, and I am glad that I have dealt with a Christian man.” Depend upon it, you will be as good preachers in your shops as I shall be in my pulpit, if you do that; depend upon it...

From a sermon entitled "Christ's Estimate of His People," delivered January 23, 1859. Flickr photo by Detlef Reichardt; some rights reserved.

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