“If any will not work, neither let him eat.” —2 Thessalonians 3:10.
That is true of the poor sluggard: he has nothing to eat. It is also true of the hireling: he cannot expect that his master will give him food to eat if he does not do his work. It is also true of the rich sluggard: although he has abundance, if he does not work he lacks the hunger that makes food acceptable.
And it is no less true, on the other hand, of spiritual food. The Kingdom of God is not meat and drink: there least of all may the bread of idleness be eaten. Israel had to eat the Passover, with loin girt, sandals on the feet, and staff in hand, ready to undertake the journey to Canaan in the strength of the food enjoyed.
Now, may not this fact discover to us the reason why, for many, the blessing imparted at the Supper is not greater than it is? They desire to partake of it in order to have an enjoyable festal hour, to be satisfied with blessed pleasures and glorious experiences. But they do not reflect that the Lord has prepared food for His children that they may be strengthened to go and work in His vineyard. They do not work for their Lord: they do not know what they ought to do: they do not consider the matter: and thus they have often to complain of darkness and loss of blessing at the Lord’s Supper.
“If any will not work, neither let him eat”: “If any will work, let him eat.”
Alike in nature and in grace there is one law. He that desires to eat for the sake only of getting the food and for the satisfaction of his appetite, shall speedily lose the enjoyment of the food. He that eats to become strong and to work, shall find the food always accompanied with relish and imparting strength.
Christian, once again you have eaten: now is the time for work. Work the work of your Lord: live and work for the interests of His kingdom, and He will see to it that you have your food, and that the food will prove to you a source of relish and blessing. As it is in the service of an earthly parent, so is it in that of the Heavenly Father: the best preparation for the Lord’s Supper is to have done faithfully the will of the Father, and to have finished His work. It was when Abraham returned from the campaign for the deliverance of Lot that Melchisedek, the priest of the Most High God, set before him bread and wine. “To him that overcometh,” says Jesus—to him that works and strives and overcomes—”will I give to eat of the hidden manna.”
Holy Lord my Redeemer and my Friend, it is my desire to work for Thee. I know that Thou hast given Thyself for us for this end, that Thou mightest have us for Thyself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. I know that there is no blessedness save in doing the will of the Father and finishing the work: He has given me. Lord, I come to Thee, in the joy and courage and power that the food which Thou Thyself hast prepared as the nutriment of my soul imparts, to ask of Thee my work.
I believe, Lord, that there is work for me, and that Thou wilt point out that work to me. Often have I desired to work for Thee according to my own feelings, and I have failed to win success. Lord Jesus, do Thou point out to me the work that I must do. Thou art my food and my strength. Thou art also my light and my leader. Let Thy Spirit so dwell in me that I shall be able to discern His voice, and, stimulated by Him, may carry out my work for souls.
Lord, I have eaten the bread of heaven: I will live to do the work of Heaven. Heavenly food brings heavenly strength, and heavenly strength brings heavenly work. Lord, make me to be Thy fellow-laborer, and teach me, like Thyself, to give my life to the work of the Kingdom of Heaven. Let my greatest joy be like that which prevails in heaven over the sinner that repenteth.
That work will cause me to feel the need of Thy divine power. That work will prepare me also to enjoy Thy food aright. That work will make every observance of the Supper more glorious for me, as a still deeper exercise of communion with Thee. So be it, O my Lord. Amen.