•  7 min. read  •  grade level: 7
This month we wish to address some remarks to you, our young Christian readers, for June often brings important changes into your lives.
Some of you will complete your formal education and receive diplomas. This is a great event for you. At such a time it is well to remember that in our spiritual lives this never occurs, for we never graduate from God's school while we are in the world. The youngest and oldest saints are in that school. Here we are learning God and His grace on the one hand, and what poor things we are on the other. Here our capacities for the knowledge and enjoyment of Him in that scene of bliss are being formed.
You will find that in God's school it is often the same in one respect as in the school you have just left, in that as we go on, the lessons become more advanced. How else would our experience grow? But we have a faithful, wise, and loving Teacher. He leads us on from lesson to lesson with the perfect skill of one who knows the end from the beginning, and He knows just exactly how to bring us into more conformity to Himself; yet withal He does it in that perfect divine love to us as His children. And He is too faithful to us to allow us to pass on without learning our lessons. Students in the world's schools are sometimes passed along without having mastered their lessons, but our Father will take us back time and again over the same lesson if needful.
As you now stand with diploma in hand and look at the distant horizon, what are your thoughts? What is the main object before you? In all probability you will have to have some way of earning a living, and it is well that it is so. Work has been a wonderful blessing to fallen men; without it, he is just the more the plaything of the devil. When man fell, God's sentence was, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return." Gen. 3:1919In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. (Genesis 3:19). But men have been seeking to circumvent this divine decree; they seek to eliminate toil and labor, and to live by wit and scheme. Idleness, however, is not good; it has led to many falls. Many scriptures teach us the importance of honest labor. Just a few of the many are: "If any would not work, neither should he eat"; "Let him labor, working with his hands the thing which is good, that he may have to give to him that needeth"; "We... exhort... that with quietness they work, and eat their own bread."
If you face the problem of choosing an occupation, or perhaps training for some profession, do seek guidance and wisdom from above. The choice you make probably determines much of the character of your future life. May your one desire be to be found in the path of the Lord's will for you, and then to seek His help and grace to glorify Him in it. Do not set your heart on being great in this world, for this is indeed a snare to the children of God. The One whom we follow was not great here—He was rejected. Pride is in all hearts, and it easily leads us to aspire for prominence here. Remember that Satan is the god and prince of this world, and the higher we get in it, the closer we are to him who is its ruler. If you should be thrust into an important position, you will need more grace to walk with God in it.
Beware too of the snare of seeking to be rich. It is the love of money that lies at the root of every evil. People who love money will do many things that their own consciences condemn. We do not say that God may not give an increase of material goods to some, but "If riches increase, set not your heart upon them." Those who are rich are warned not to trust in the uncertainty of riches (and how uncertain they are!) but in the living God, and are exhorted to be rich in good works, and ready to distribute to those who have need.
Some of you will marry at this time. We trust that it will be "only in the Lord." To you who do, we wish the Lord's richest blessings. May He grant you grace and wisdom to go on together for His glory—each for the other, and both for the Lord. May we be permitted to urge on you the necessity of family reading of the Word and prayer. Begin it the very first day of your married life, and do not neglect it at any time, nor relegate it to a mere routine matter that has little bearing on your lives. If you do, your spiritual life will suffer as though a worm were eating away the root of a beautiful plant. Also remember the exhortation, "Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is." Heb. 10:2525Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. (Hebrews 10:25).
We earnestly urge you to ponder the scriptures that teach the husband and the wife their respective places and responsibilities. We pass on to you a remark we recently heard from a beloved servant of the Lord: "If you want to be unhappy, just be a rebel against God's word to husbands, wives, fathers, children, servants, etc. We are not wiser than God." He has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness, and His blessing is upon those who walk in that path which He has carefully marked for us. (If you have not read the book, "The Institution of Marriage, and Related Subjects," we commend it to you for what we believe is helpful counsel.)
Others of you will be making trips to distant places to see new landscapes and unfamiliar faces. You will have fresh opportunities to see some of the beauties and wonders of God's creation; and just think what it would have been had not sin entered to spoil it! Even in its present state there is much evidence of God's handiwork, where it has not been spoiled through man's touches.
So then, dear young Christian, if God grants you a vacation trip this season, take it from Him with thanksgiving, from Him who gives us richly all things to enjoy. Bring Him into your plans and into all your trip. May your desire be to be found to the glory of Christ at all times, and be ever alert to that which would take you out of the path of obedience and of the fear of God. May eternity declare some fruit to God as the result of your summer's vacation.
We need to remember that while the change and relaxation of a vacation may be beneficial to our bodies and minds, there is never a time to relax our vigilance as Christians—never a time to cease being loyal to Christ. We have a wily foe who never takes a holiday, and we have to be watchful and vigilant against him and his seductions at all times (1 Pet. 5:88Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: (1 Peter 5:8); Eph. 6:1111Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. (Ephesians 6:11)).
A vacation should furnish us with a little more time for reading the Word of God or some good ministry, so that we return from it with renewed spiritual vigor as well as bodily blessings. It may also furnish us with some special opportunities to witness for our Lord and Savior, perhaps in our conduct, or by word of mouth, or by the printed gospel message. We strongly recommend that some good gospel tracts find a place in your summer luggage, and that you then seek grace and wisdom for the suitable opportunities to place them.