XXX. PERSONAL WORK
`Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation: and uphold me with a free spirit. Then will I teach transgressors Thy ways; and sinners shall be converted unto Thee.' -- Ps. 51:12,13
`I believe, for I will speak.' -- Ps. 116:10
`But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you.' -- Acts. 1:8
Every redeemed man is called to be a witness for his Lord. Not only by a godly walk, but by personal effort must I serve and make known my Lord. My tongue, my speech, is one of the principal means of intercourse with others and influence upon them. It is but a half dedication, when I do not also bring the offering of the lips, to speak for the Lord. (Ps. 40:10,11; 66:16; 71:8,15,24; Heb 13:15)
Of this work there is inconceivably real need. There are thousands of Christians who continually enjoy the preaching of the word, and yet do not understand the way of salvation. The Lord Jesus not only preached to the multitudes, but also spoke to individuals according to their needs. (Luke 7:40; John 3:3; 4:7) Scripture is full of examples of those who told to others what the Lord had done for them, and who thus became a blessing to them. (Ex. 18:8,1; 2 Chron. 5:3) The teacher alone cannot do this work of personal speaking: every ransomed soul must co-operate with him. He is in the world as a witness for his Lord. His own life cannot come to its full healthy increase, if he does not confess his Lord and work for Him.
That witness for the Lord must be a personal witness. We must have the courage to say, `He has redeemed me: He will also redeem you: will you not accept this redemption? Come, let me show you the way.' (John 1:42,46; 4:28,39; Acts. 11:19) There are hundreds who would be glad if the personal question were put to them, `Are you redeemed? What keeps you back? Can I not help you to go to the Lord?' Parents ought to speak personally with their children, and put the question, `My child, have you already received the Lord Jesus?' Teachers in Sabbath schools and in day schools, when they teach the word of God, ought to bring forward the personal question, whether the children have really received salvation, and ought to seek the opportunity of also putting the question to them separately. Friends must speak with their friends. Yes: before all else should this work be done.
Such work must be the work of love. Let souls feel that you love them tenderly. Let the humility and gentleness of love, as this was to be seen in Jesus, be seen also in you. At every turn surrender yourself to Jesus to be filled with His love: not by feeling, but by faith in this love, can you do your work. `Beloved, keep yourselves in the love of God. And on some have mercy who are in doubt; and some save, snatching them out of the fire; and on some have mercy with fear.' The flesh often thinks that strength and force do more than love and patience. But that is not so: love achieves everything: it has overcome on the cross. (Heb. 3:13; 10:24; Jude 21:23)
Such work must be the work of faith, of faith working by love: faith that the Lord desires to use you and will use you. Be not afraid on account of your weakness: learn in the Scriptures what glorious promises God from time to time gave to those who had to speak for Him. (Ex. 4:11,12; Josh. 1:9; Isa. 50:4,11; Jer. 1:6,7; Matt. 10:19,20) Surrender yourself continually to God to be used for the rescue of souls, and take your stand on the fact that He who has redeemed you for this end, will for this end bless you. Although your work is in weakness and fear, although no blessing appears to come, be of good courage: at His time, we shall reap. (2 Chron. 15:7; Ps. 126:6,7; Hag. 2:5; Gal. 8:9; 1 John 5:16) Be filled with faith in the power of God, in His blessing upon you, and in the certainty of the hearing of prayer. `If any man see his brother sinning a sin not unto death, he shall ask, and God will give him life.' Whether it be the most miserable and neglected, or whether it be the decent but indifferent who does not know his sin, take courage, the Lord is mighty to bless: He hears prayer.
But above all, -- for this is the principal point, -- carry out this work in fellowship with Jesus. Live closely with Him -- live entirely for Him -- let Jesus be in all your own life and He will speak and work in you. (Acts. 4:13; 2 Cor. 3:5; 8:3) Be full of the blessing of the Lord, full of His Spirit and His love, and it cannot be otherwise than that you should be a blessing. You shall be able to tell what He is continually for you. You shall have the love and the courage, with all humility, to put to souls the question, `Is it well with you? Have you indeed the Lord Jesus as your Saviour?' And the Lord will made you experience the rich blessing which is promised to those who live to bless others.
Young Christian, be a witness for Jesus. Live as one who is wholly given away to Him to watch and to work for His honour.
Blessed Lord, who hast redeemed me to serve the Father in the proclamation of His love, I will with a free spirit offer myself to Thee for this end. Fill my heart for this end with love to Him, to Thee, and to souls. Cause me to see what an honour it is to do the work of redeeming love, even as Thou didst do it. Strengthen my confidence that Thou art working with Thy power in my weakness. And let my joy be to help souls to Thee. Amen.
1. The question is often asked, `What can I do to work for the Lord? Can you not take a class in the Sabbath school? Perhaps you live in the country where there are children that have no hour of the Sabbath devoted to them. Perhaps there are heathen children, or even grown-up people of the farms, who do not go to Church. See whether you cannot gather them together in the name of Jesus. Make it a matter of prayer and faith. Although you do this work with trembling, you may be sure that to begin to work will make you strong.
Or can you do nothing for the circulation of books and tracts? When you have a book that has been useful to you, order six or twelve copies of it. Speak of it, and offer it for sale: you can do great service by this means. So also with tracts: if you are too poor to give them for nothing, have them to sell: you may procure blessing by this method. It will especially help you to speak to others, if you begin with telling what is in a book.
2. But the principal thing is personal speaking. Do not hold back because you feel no freedom. The Lord will give you freedom in His own time. It is incredible how many are lost through ignorance. No one has ever personally made it clear to them how they can be saved. The thought that a change must first be sought and felt is so deeply rooted that the most faithful preaching is often of no avail against it. By their erroneous ideas, people misunderstand everything. Begin then to speak and to help souls to understand that they are to receive Jesus just as they are, that they can certainly know that He receives them, and that this is the power of a new and holy life.