Papers on Service: The Heart's Purpose

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 8
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The Heart’s Purpose
I thank God I was led in anywise to think of serving the Lord. The first thing that attracted my heart from my very youth was that I must serve Him. I know very well how I have neglected it, and wavered from it; but the Lord never lets slip from you a real purpose of your heart; no matter how many years you may be, as it were, unattached, still He keeps it in mind, and as sure as possible it will come, and this is an immense comfort to one’s heart.
“Not in Vain”
Be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord; if you do not see souls saved today, or tomorrow, still work on. Ours is not the unrequited toil of Sisyphus rolling uphill a stone which will rebound upon us, nor that of the daughters of Danaus who sought to fill a bottomless vessel.
Our work may no more quickly appear than the islands which the coral insects are building below the blue waves of the southern seas: but the reef is rising, far down the foundation of the massive structure is laid, and its walls are climbing to the surface. We are laboring for eternity, and we count not our work by each day’s advance as men measure theirs: it is God’s work, and must be measured by His standard.
Be ye well assured that, when time, and things created, and all that oppose themselves to the Lord’s truth shall be gone, every earnest word spoken and every importunate prayer offered, and every tiny bit of service rendered for Christ’s sake, shall remain embedded in the mighty structure which God from all eternity has resolved to raise to His own honor.
The Gospel
The gospel is God’s power to save: we know that for every case of spiritual sickness we have an infallible cure; we need not say to any man “we have no good news from God for you.” There is a way of getting at all hearts. There is a joint in every sinner’s harness, though he be an Ahab, and we may draw the bow hopefully, praying the Lord to direct the arrow through it. We believe in the Holy Spirit, and feel that He can win a hearing and carry conviction to the hardest conscience.
We do not expect the gospel to be loved by all mankind, it will not become popular amongst the great and noble, for we remember the word, “Not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble are called,” but we do not believe that the gospel has become decrepit through old age. When the foolish wise men of this age sneer at the old gospel, they render an unconscious homage to its power. We do not believe that our grand old castle and defense has tottered down because men say it is so. We recollect Rabshakeh, and how he reviled the Lord, and how, nevertheless, it happened to him as the Lord said: “He shall not come into this city, nor shoot an arrow there.... By the way that he came, by the same shall he return.” We have seen enough philosophies go back to “vile dust from whence they sprang,” to know that the whole species of them is of the order of Jonah’s gourd. We therefore in confidence wait, and in patience bide our time. Victory is sure.
Power
Power is the ability to act rightly, at any moment in any case. Faith in God always ensures power, and then we act for Him, irrespective of men and their judgment.
Power is never violent; mere strength can be very violent and impulsive, but power is even and equal to the occasion, be it great or small.
Samuel, more than any of the judges in Israel, was a man of power, for he availed himself of the power of God by prayer; he is an example to us. As we pray, we have power with God; so the man of prayer is the man of power. Great, glorious, and most blessed is it to be going through this world in the power of Christ, unswerving in pursuit of our service, and unruffled in our manner, however aggravated. Encompassed with infirmity, and assailed on every side, but made equal to every emergency by His grace and power.
I have noticed, too, that if God’s power comes to a man with a message, he not only has childlikeness of mind, but he has also singleness of eye. Such a man is all ear. He honestly and eagerly desires to know what God’s mind is, and he applies all his faculties to the reception of the divine communication. As he drinks in the sacred message with a complete surrender of soul, he is resolved to give it out with the entire concentration of his mental and spiritual powers, and with a single eye to the glory of God. Unless you have but one eye, and that one eye sees Christ and His glory in the salvation of men, God will not use you. The man whose eyes cannot look straight on must not be reckoned as a servant of the living God.
True Faith
True faith will make us independent of man. The man who believes in God, in Christ, in the Holy Spirit, will stay himself upon the Lord alone. He does not wish to be solitary, or singular, yet he can by himself contend for his Master; and when he has most human helps, he sedulously endeavors to wait only upon God. If you lean upon your helpers when you have them, you may have to realize the terrible meaning, of the ancient word “cursed be the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm.” Let those that have zealous helpers be as those that have none, but let us be as free of all carnal confidence, as if we stood like Athanasius against the world, and had no one to speak a good word for us, or to bear a portion of our burden. God alone suffices to bear up you unpillared firmament. He alone balances the clouds, and upbears them in the heavens. He kindles the lamps of night and gives the sun his flames of fire. He alone is sufficient for us, in His might we shall do His work.
Further, true faith gives us courage under all circumstances. When young Nelson came home from a bird-nesting expedition, his aunt chided him for being out so far into the night, and remarked “I wonder fear did not make you come home.” “Fear,” said Nelson “I don’t know him.” That is a fitting speech for a believer when working the work of the Lord. The Lord is on our side, whom shall we fear? If God be for us, who can be against us?
The Hidden Springs
We must eliminate from our minds and hearts the thought of the quantity rather than the quality of service; one man may be able to accomplish more, and in the eyes of the world altogether overshadow another, but God will go down to the heart and there take cognizance of the motives. Passing through all outside show and to the depths of the soul, and finding it in harmony with Himself, He speaks His approbation, and gives His “well done.”
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Taking Men Alive
Every man in the world is going to be “taken alive” by someone; this is evident from two passages of scripture. The Greek word zogreo, which means “to take alive,” is used twice in the New Testament: First in Luke 5:1010And so was also James, and John, the sons of Zebedee, which were partners with Simon. And Jesus said unto Simon, Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men. (Luke 5:10), where the Lord proposes that those who follow Him should “take men alive” for Himself; and again in 2 Timothy 2:2626And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will. (2 Timothy 2:26), where we are told that some are “taken alive” by the Devil at his will. How solemn a consideration is this, for this catching alive is going on unceasingly, and men are being caught either in the gospel net for the kingdom and joy of the Lord, or by the snares of the Devil for the eternal darkness of hell.