Sermon 3163. Cumbered With Much Serving
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 1909.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, IN THE YEAR 1866.
"Martha was cumbered about much serving." Luke 10:40.
THE preacher will have one hearer tonight to whom his text will be amazingly applicable-himself! Here we have meeting aftermeeting and engagement after engagement. We are always working as hard as we can, but we have put on much extra canvas justnow, serving much and not being exempt from Martha's sin of being cumberedwith much serving. I should not wonder but whatthere may be some others here besides the preacher who may have fallen into the same state of mind and, perhaps, just nowwhile engaged more than ever in God's work, it may be well for us to pull ourselves up a little and look around us, and seewhat state we are in, lest, like Martha, we get more and more cumbered, till at last we speak as we ought not to speak andbegin to upbraid others who are less wrong than ourselves!
I. We will first say a little on this point-WHAT WAS IT THAT MARTHA WAS PROBABLY CUMBERED ABOUT?
Her fault was not that she served. Oh, that is no fault! The condition of a servant should be the condition of every Christian."I serve," should be the motto of all the princes of the royal family of God! It was not her fault that she had "much serving."We cannot do too much. Let us do all that we possibly can-head, heart and hands-let every single power and passion of ournature be engaged in the Master's service! "Hereby shall you be My disciples, if you bring forth much fruit." It was no faultof hers that she was busy preparing a feast for the Master. Happy Martha to have an opportunity of entertaining so blesseda Guest! And happy Martha, too, to have the spirit to throw her whole soul so heartily into the engagement. But her faultwas that she grew "cumberedwith much serving," so that she forgot Him and only remembered the service! She overrode her unionwith Christ by her service of Christ-and herein was the mischief.
I do not know what particular part of the service it was that cumbered her, but I do know that any part of it cumbers me,sometimes, and that as the minister of this Church, with our large college and with all sorts of work from morning till night,it is the easiest and most natural thing in the world to get "cumbered with much serving," and to get into such a state ofhead and heart that it is almost impossible to sit at the Savior's feet and at the same time to be serving Him as we oughtto do. We ought to be Martha and Mary rolled into one. We should do much service and yet have much communion at the same time.
Martha's fault, then, was that she grew cumbered. In thinking this matter over, I thought she might, perhaps, have been cumberedin this way. She was the housewife and there were a great many guests coming-more than she had expected-and she thought therewas not enough in the house for them. "Surely," she said, "I have provided for only fifty, and here are a hundred! What shallI do? I did not ask that person over there to come, I am sure, but there is no getting rid of him. I wish I had laid in morestore, I told Mary so. I told her there would be more, but she said, 'No, provide for only so many.' I do not believe thereis enough." So she fretted over that-and any good housewife might be supposed to do the same. How often have you and I, whoare serving God, fretted in the same way? We have said, "Oh, what can our poor little Church do? How can such a sum of moneybe raised? There is much more needed than we shall ever get!" The minister has come before his congregation and has felt-"One,two, three, four, five, yes, five loaves-and these only barley loaves-and a few fishes, and these but small. What are theyamong so many? I wish I had a narrower sphere of labor and had fewer people dependent upon my exertions!" This is how we havesometimes thought. Then at other seasons we have said-"How shall I keep on? I have so little strength. I have scarcely hadpower to do good up till now, how
shall I be sustained to the end of the journey?" We begin calculating and fear there is not enough meat in the house. Witha sincere desire that every child of God should be supplied and that not a single guest at the table should go unfed, we beginto be cumbered because we think there will not be enough!
I do not know what it was that cumbered Martha, but I should not wonder if she got cumbered about the servants. She had saidto one, "Now, you must prepare the dish and mind it is to be done in a certain way. And you, Mary, are to prepare the otherdish, and you the other one." There is an old proverb which says, "The more servants, the more plagues." I do not think itis a true proverb, but some people have found it to be so. Perhaps Martha did. Perhaps there was one letting that roast burn,and another spoiling another roast-and so, turning round from one to another, Martha said, "It seems as if I ought to be everywhere.There is nothing done unless I am looking after all these people. They are sure to be getting into some mischief or other!I need a hundred hands to do everything myself, or else a hundred eyes to look after those who are doing it." How often Christianministers, especially, and each Christian in his own position, gets into this same state. You think, "Surely I thought I couldtrust such-and-such a Believer with such a work, but how he blunders at it! I can never give it to him to do again!" Thenyou try another with a certain duty that is very important and that goes wrong. If you have a great machine to work, it isnot often, but when there is some cog gets off, or some band that gets snapped, or some wheel that gets out of order-and whenone has to look after all these things and to see not only to one's own personal work, but to the work of all these differentpeople and to be sure that they are all kept in their proper place, it is no wonder that one sometimes feels-"Dear me! I cannotmanage all these people!" And so one gets "cumbered with much serving."
Moreover, very frequently you find that very sad and grave mistakes have been made in things which you thought nobody couldmake a mistake about. Perhaps you find out that you have been the author of the mistake, yourself, and then you are cumberedagain. You say, "How can I set that right? How can I retrace that false step? By what possible means can I undo such-and-sucha thing that has been done?" I suppose that if a captain in battle were to leave his position in the center of the camp andgo flying about here and there, he would be pretty sure to lose the victory-and some of us do just that. We have not patienceenough to sit still in the center and just to look to the work as a whole, and keep ourselves calm and quiet. We get cumberedover every little thing and about every trifle. We get cumbered, in fact, about the much serving. Now, there is a good motiveat the bottom of all this-it is a desire to serve Christ well. It is a wish to do His service in the best, most useful, creditableand successful manner. But there is mischief in it, as we shall have to show, by-and-by. Oh, how my soul longs to have thisChurch a perfect Church! How I long to see everyone of you at work for Christ! How I desire myself, especially, to preachevery time with fire, force and energy! And yet I go home to my bed, sometimes, and toss there because I cannot preach upto my own standard, imperfect as that is. And how I mourn sometimes over this or that Brother who does not seem to understandthe dignity of his profession, nor live up to the holiness which becomes the anointed of God and the blood-washed in the fountainwhich Christ has filled. Oh, dear Friends, the being cumbered with much serving is so easy in my case, and I only instancemyself because I know that a face answers to face in a glass, so the heart of man answers to man. I suppose you all, sometimes,get into this state-and in proportion as you are serving Christ will be your temptation to get cumbered with much serving!
We have already said that you may be cumbered about a great many things. It is amazing how many things there are to cumberone even about an ordinary service. If you are responsible for the service, you are cumbered as to whether you have got theright text and as to whether you have selected the right hymns. You pray that God would bless the Word, and that is rightenough, but you are cumbered about it. When the hymn is given out, you are cumbered, perhaps, as to whether it will be sungwell, or whether the people will break down. Perhaps there is some discord and if you are anxious to have everything right,you get cumbered about that. Then you are cumbered, possibly, about where the people are to sit. Even such things as thesewill come across the mind and I should not wonder if my Brothers, the deacons and elders, get cumbered about them as wellas the minister! They perhaps get to thinking-"Dear me, there is Mr. So-and-So over there. I am glad to see him here and Ihope the Word will be blessed." Then you get wrong thoughts about such-and-such persons and wonder how they will like such-and-suchexpressions-and so on. And so, instead of enjoying the service and entering into the soul of it, you are thinking, "I hopeit will all go well. I hope the preacher will not use some of those naughty sayings of his that shock the ladies. I hope hewill not say any of his rough things tonight." And so you get cum-
bered. Instead of enjoying the Word as it is preached, and receiving it as it is delivered, there is a anxiety about thisand about that, and about 50 other things! And so we are cumbered with much serving.
I have thus laid the stress upon the ministry, because that is the service of God in an especial manner. But you Sunday schoolteachers, if you are very anxious about your class-and remember, you ought not to be teachers if you are not anxious-you will,perhaps, get cumbered by the class by looking more to the outward items of your work than to the spirituality of it. You tract-distributorsmay be doing a great work, but you may get to be more careful about the externals of it than you are about the internals.You City Missionaries-for there are some such here-may also get to think more of the filling up of your journal and aboutpaying a certain quantity of visits, than about living near to God and going in the strength of the Most High to your work.And if so, you will fall into the blunder of poor Martha. With all your zeal for Christ, you will disqualify yourself forany great usefulness and, instead of getting a word of comfort and commendation, you will only get a rebuke from the Lordwho will warn you that Mary chose the good part, while Martha, in some degree, despised it! I hope you will not misunderstandme-I would not have you do less than you now do. No, the more the better! I would not for a moment dissuade you from the utmostpossible efforts which your zeal can suggest. Far be it for me to say, "Slacken yourselves in your sowing, or stop yourselvesin your plowing." No, go to the end of the field and back again-and have no rest until the day's work is over! On, on, on,as the racehorse to the finish line, as the arrow to the target! On, as the world speeds on evermore in its own predestinatedorbit! On, for God calls you to work while it is called today! On, for souls are perishing! On, for He is worthy for whomyou would do this and Christ deserves your utmost labor at the utmost power of your whole spirit. But oh, take care that theselabors do not take the place of Christ! Take care that you do not forget the Master in thinking about the dinner that youare going to put on the table for Him. Remember that He is still to be first in your thoughts-first in the morning and lastat night-and that after all, while it is good to serve, it must always be attended by sitting at the Savior's feet, or elseyou will not get a reward, but a rebuke.
II. Anyone here can work out that thought if he understands anything of the spiritual life and, therefore, I will now
notice, in the second place, WHAT MARTHA LOST WHILE SHE WAS THUS CUMBERED ABOUT WITH MUCH SERVING.
She was losing what she could not get at any other time. Jesus Christ was not always at their house. She could at any timeprepare a feast, but she could not, at all times hear His voice. His visits are not such everyday things with Believers thatthey can afford to lose them. Beloved, when we come to God's House and especially when we come to Christ's Table, I thinkwe ought to say to ourselves, "Now, at any rate, I will bid my Martha-cares begone. I can attend to them when I have done.There is plenty of time, besides, for my cares, even for my cares for Christ. But now that the Lord is here, now that Hispeople are met and He has promised to be with them, I shall have done with all my care and will give myself up to seek livingand personal fellowship with Him. I will forget the dishes on the table, and the servants in the kitchen, and the fires, andeverything else in the house-they must go as they may. I will give the best orders I can and then I will leave these things,for I am now going to get a privilege which I cannot always get-I am going to listen to His loving Words as they come wellingup fresh from my Savior's heart. I am going to sit down right at His feet and drink in that which He would teach me." I thinkyou will acknowledge that it is easier to serve than it is to commune. You will have observed that Joshua never grew wearywhen he was fighting with the Amalekites. It was hard work, but he did not get his arms weakened at it. But when Moses wason the top of the mountain in prayer, he had to have two others to hold his hands up! So is it with us. The more spiritualthe exercise, the sooner the soul tires of it. We could keep on preaching better than we could keep on praying and it is easierto pray in public than it is to pray in secret. And let me say that even in secret it is easier to pray aloud than it is tosit still in your communion with Christ in the solemn silence of the soul. The choicest fruits are generally the hardest togrow-and the most spiritual engagements are the most difficult for us to manage. Beloved, we ought to have an eye to this!We ought to take care that we do not neglect these merely external things which are good enough in themselves, these outwardattending to ordinances, a sermon, and so on-but we ought also to take care that while we remember these in their proper places,we do not let these things crowd out better things, but see to it that we get to Christ and enjoy living, personal fellowshipwith Him!
I am afraid, too, that at this time Martha was losing her reverence for her Savior You will ask how she did this. I do notlike her expression, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Bid her that she help me." I do notthink she ought to have spoken so to her Savior. The words do not sound gentle. It seems as if she had got to be so familiarwith waiting upon Him, that she had lost some of the due respect which she should have paid to the great Prophet of Israel,her Savior and her Lord! This is one of the great dangers of those who serve God in the engagements of the sanctuary. I havehad to confess and have mentioned it at ministers' meetings often, and have heard others confess that familiarity with sacredthings is a temptation, very often, to lead us to read our Bibles for our congregations and not for ourselves-and to prayex officio instead of praying with our whole hearts to God, ourselves, as though we ourselves needed the blessing! I am sure,too, that this is true of all the other officials in God's House. If a man is not saved, and becomes a minister, I do notthink there is a chance of his being saved afterwards-he had better be anything than be an unsaved minister! I have noticedthe same thing with regard to pew-openers and such like persons who are not converted before they take their offices-and Ipray that those of you who have the filling up of such positions, never to appoint unconverted people, for they may not beconverted afterwards. They will be so busy putting people into their seats and doing different things, that they will be cumberedwith much serving!
I did once say, and gave very great offense, indeed, by it, that the people who take down my sermons ought to have the Graceof God in their hearts, or else they would not get a blessing, for certainly the mechanical act of writing must prevent themind from entering in all its fullness into the meaning of the utterance! Our dear Brothers here who take such an interestin our services, and to whose kind care and watchfulness we owe so much of the quiet we enjoy on Sabbath days with our greatcrowds, I am sure will excuse me-indeed I will not asked to be excused-when I say they must mind that these things do notrun away with their spirituality, for there is such a fear in serving Christ that familiarity with His service will tend tomake us lose our respect for Him! God grant that instead of this, our reverence for Christ may grow more and more-and themore we serve Him, the more humbly may we lie down at His feet.
But I think Martha was losing something more than this, and that was her humility. If she had had much humility, she wouldhave known that Mary was quite as good as she was, herself, and even a little better. But instead of that she took it uponherself to call Mary to account and even to complain to Christ about her. Many of our complaints about ministers and othergood people show our own lack of humility. When I think that my Brothers have many faults, I may well remember how many Ihave, myself-and instead of thinking how badly some people do, I ought to suspect that I might have done a great deal worseif I had been in their place! Indeed, it strikes me that the wise man is rather delighted that things are as well as theyare, than displeased that they are not any better, for he knows that the best of men are but men at the best. He knows fromhis own experience that men are very likely to go fast in the way of error and to travel very slowly in the way of right-andso when he does see a cause prosper, or a holy deed done, he is grateful to God for it! Though he does wish that there weremore, yet he is grateful to God that there is so much genuine piety, so much brotherly love, so much earnestness, so muchprayerfulness as there is in the midst of the world. Let us not be so censorious, always judging this man and that man. Ifyou had been in his place would you have done better? Have you to pay his wages at the last? Is he your servant? Then whoare you that judge another's servant? To his own Master shall he stand or fall, and perhaps the very man you judge is moreacceptable to God than you are! He does not serve so much as you do. He does not preach so many sermons, nor teach so manypeople, nor publish so many books and so on-but he sits more at Jesus' feet than you do, lives nearer to Christ and is bringingmore honor to the Redeemer's name in his humble, quiet obscurity than you are with all your publicity and with all your work!It seems to me that we are in danger of losing our respect for our fellows if we think so much of ourselves.
Does it not strike you, by the way, that very often when we get cumbered about much serving, there is pride at the bottomof it? Why do we want to serve God in this way or in that way? The preacher wants those who come to say, "What a capital sermon,"and, "What a fine fellow he is!" Or, perhaps, the hearers want people to say when they go out, "Now I enjoyed it!" When wedo all this and when we want to see our Sunday school class very numerous, and to see many conversions, is it not just possiblethat at the bottom of it all we think, "it would look so well and we should be able to say that there is so much done"? Brother,if you say you have never felt like this, I can only say that you must be a very superior person. I know I have often feltlike it and I here make confession of that wicked vanity which is so very common a complaint among us! We get cumbered, notso much about whether Christ is served, but whether weshall be thought to have done anything and to have done it in a properway! Oh, to shake one's self from all these beggarly rags of selfishness and to be content to do God's work to the best ofone's ability and to say, "My Master, as to whether this
looks well or does not look well in the sight of my fellows, is nothing! I gave it to You as You gave it to me. Accept it,my Master. Accept it because I love You and yet more, because You love me!"
Martha, then, was losing a great deal, but in addition to all this, she was also losing communion with Christ. Mrs. Rowe sayssomewhere-"If all the 12 Apostles were to preach at the time when I ought to be in prayer, I would not leave my closet tohear one of them, or all of them." And another used to say-"I would not be kept out of my closet for all the world." But weare so easily turned away from sitting at Christ's feet to go to work! We so easily cut short the time of prayer for the sakeof doing more for Christ! Communion with Christ is the most precious thing! And once lost, I do not care what you did in thetime when you ought to have been communing with Christ-you may have won coppers, but you have lost sovereigns, for many haveearned pence, but you have lost diamonds! For your own sake, and for the sake of those whom you would bless, you must seeto it that sitting at the Savior's feet is not neglected, even though it is under the specious pretext of waiting upon Him.The first thing for our soul's health, the first thing for His Glory and the first thing for our own usefulness is to keepourselves in perpetual communion with the Lord Jesus-and to see that the vital spirituality of our religion is maintainedover and above everything else in the world!
III. Having thus shown you what Martha lost, I would now like to OFFER SOME CONSIDERATIONS WHICH MAY PREVENT OUR BEING CUMBEREDWITH MUCH SERVING.
There is one consideration which has done me a deal of good and it is this-that the Lord Jesus got on very well before wewere born, and it is very likely that He will get on exceedingly well when we are dead. When one thinks, "Oh, it is so importantthat such-and-such a point should be attended to. I must throw my whole strength into that." And then the next day there seemsto be something else so very necessary to be done! And then something goes amiss there and something else here-because onecannot be everywhere-and one begins to be troubled. It might well be said to us at such a time, "Now, are you really sucha very important person after all?" Before we were born, God's cause prospered and when we are dead, if we have been usefulin our lives, we may, perhaps, leave a little gap for a little time, but it will soon be filled up and nobody will know it-andGod's cause will go on just as well without us! "I hope I do not inconvenience you," said the gnat when he settled on thehorn of a bull. "I did not know you were there," said the bull. So, sometimes we seem to think, "I hope my absence will notcause inconvenience to such-and-such a cause." And we might very well be answered, "Why, nobody knew you had anything to dowith it! What difference will yourabsence make?" I do not want you to be careless about things on this account, but I do wantyou not to be cumbered about them on this account. That is not a bad philosophy, though it is very often very wickedly applied-"Itwill be all be the same in a hundred years' time." Well, really, it will. Though the waves do go back, each one of them, afterthey have come up on the shore, yet none of them need regret that they die because every wave comes up beyond its fellow,and though there may be no advance in each one particular wave, but even a receding, yet the great ocean, itself, is goingforward! And so, if one little particular part of the work that has been left to me does not go on as I could wish, yet, OGod, the great sea of Your Church is going on in the fullness of its glory and it shall yet cover the sands of time and breakupon the cliffs in an eternal spray of everlasting song! Let us be consoled in this matter. We are not such big bodies, afterall, and if the thing which we devise may not succeed, yet that is not the main thing, for Jehovah still reigns and Christstill prospers!
There is another consideration-namely, that it is pretty certain that if we have done our best for our Master, our frettingwill not improve things. Farmers have been troubled, sometimes, when the rain has been coming on at harvest time, but I neverremember to have observed that the glass went up on that account, nor have I ever head of a single raindrop whose little wateryheart relented because of the sorrow of the agriculturist-it came down just the same. So, if our fretting over God's workwould improve it, Brothers and Sisters, let us fret! Let us fret together in harmony! But if it really will not, and if afterhaving done all we can in prayer and holy work, the thing does not go on quite as well as we could wish it, then let us say,"My Master, let it be according to Your will, and if it is according to Your mind, it is sure to be according to my mind,or if not, Lord, give me a better mind." May we be brought down to this-"Your will be done." If we had more of the spiritof Christian resignation, we should feel that as we cannot add one cubit to our own stature by our own thought, so neithercan we add a single drachma of success to the Church of God by all our unbelieving cumbering of ourselves about much serving!
Another consideration may help us-namely, that, after all, it is not our work, but His work in which we are engaged. I onceheard a very pretty illustration from one of our ministers who said that he was moving his books from his study downstairsto another room which he had taken for his study upstairs, and his little boy said, "Papa, let me help you." The little boywas not able to do anything, but the father thought he must encourage his desire for industry and he said, "Yes, you can takethat little book." But the boy did not like to take the little book-he wanted to be a man and carry a big book. So he tooka big book and got it to the foot of the stairs-and there he sank down and began to cry, for he could carry it no further."And what," said the father, "do you think it came to? Why, I had to carry the book upstairs and the boy, too!" So it is withus-we ask Christ to let us do something for Him and we are not satisfied to do only that-we have a natural and a very properdesire to be doing more. And so we undertake something which we cannot do and we sit down and fret as if the book never wouldget upstairs till we carried it up-and then the good Father comes along and takes the book and the little child, too, andcarries both. Oh, instead of sitting down and crying, say, "My Father, I have the will to do this, but I cannot. Come anddo it, my Father, for it is not my work, it is Your work." You remember how Moses put it. I have often put it in that shape,and may the Master forgive me if I have done it unbelievingly. Moses said, "Have I begotten all this people?" And often whenthe enormous weight of this Church has pressed upon my soul, I have said to Christ, "Lord Jesus, I never married this Church.It is no spouse of mine-it is Your wife and I am but as one that unties the laces of her shoes. I am but as one that pourswater upon her feet that she may wash them. I am your present servant in the body, but the work is too much for me-You mustdo it. I have cared for Your flock till I could say that by night it has distressed me, and by day-
'My joys and sorrows mingled seem
As if they would consume me.'
But, Lord, I never bought this flock with blood. I am not to have this flock at the last! It is no flock of Mine. I am onlyYour hired shepherd. You will give me my wage, but oh, it is Yours to keep off the wolf! It is Yours to preserve each lamband carry it in Your bosom and gently to lead each troubled one in the whole flock." I think we must often do this- throwit off upon our God, for it is His burden, not ours. Cast all our care on Him, for He cares for us. And especially leavingthe serving of Himself to Him whose service and whose work it really is.
Yet, again. Another thing that may comfort you is that sometimes when things are going very badly, as we think, they are reallygoing best. We do not always know, I fancy, when things are prospering. We imagine that the Church is in good health becausecertain outward signs manifest themselves. Persons sometimes meet those of us who are rather stout, and they say, "How wellyou look!" I do not know about that. In our flesh there dwells no good thing. I am afraid that with some of us that is novery great sign of health and we might be glad enough to get rid of it. So sometimes when the Church seems to be in a prosperouscondition, we congratulate ourselves upon its wonderful healthiness. I do not know that we ought to do that! Sometimes thecorn is best when an onlooker who does not understand it thinks it is worst- and sometimes when a little boat is borne onone side till she almost ships a sea through the tremendous gale that is blowing, the landsman thinks there is mischief ahead,but the old sailor who understands all about it says, "No, they are going at a great rate now." So, at times our ship lurchesa bit, and seems as if it shipped whole seas of mischief, but it is then that the mighty breeze of the Divine Spirit is reallygiven to us! Do you not think, Beloved, that some of the worst sermons that are ever preached, in the judgment of critics,are really the best? What a fool I have been dozens of times! I have thought in my conceit-"Well, now, that is a sermon thatis likely to be blest"-and yet I have never heard of any blessing from it! I have thought at other times when I am finished,"Please, God, if I ever get that subject again, I will treat it better. What a poor sermon!" And yet two or three Church Meetingslater, there will come one, two, three, perhaps half a dozen who were blessed and converted to God by my poor sermon. TheLord help me, then, to preach poor sermons and grant that I may always preach so that He will bless it, no matter whetherI like it or whether you like it, as long as God is pleased to bless the sermon! I dare say you Sunday school teachers haveoften found that when you have done worst, God has done best, and He has permitted you to think it was worst in order thatyou might bring all the glory to His feet and praise His name!
Should it not be one reason, then, why we should cast off our care, that we serve a very generous Master? There are some masterswhom you cannot please-when you have done your best, they will still find some fault-for they have a quick eye for a fault.But our Lord Jesus seems as if He could not find fault with His people, and when we have done our best, though it is a poor,poor thing, yet He takes it and so transforms it by one touch of His own gracious and pierced hands, that we do not know itagain! It is more His than ours and it is accepted by Him. He does not receive our works
because of their intrinsic excellencies, but because He worked them in us and because the motive for which we have performedthem is honorable to Himself. Master Brooks says that, "Fond friends will accept crooked sixpences, and a little piece offorget-me-not, and set great store by these love-tokens." Even so does the Savior! He takes our poor worthless works whichhave no intrinsic value in them and sets great store by them, saying of that cup of cold water which you gave away and whichyou never thought of again-"Inasmuch as you did it unto one of the least of these, My brethren, you did it unto Me." I donot doubt He will say at the last-"You did want to serve Me. You did long to honor Me and I accept it." John Bunyan says ifyou send a servant off for the doctor and you tell him to go on horseback as fast as ever he can-and there is but a very sorrynag in the stable, so the man uses the spur and the whip, and tugs at the bridle, but cannot make the horse go-you see thatthe man would go if he could, and so you do not blame him. So, he says, our poor flesh is that sorry nag, but the spirit iswilling, and Jesus Christ looks on us and says-"Truly the flesh is weak, he would go if he could." And so He takes the willfor the deed and does not blame us, but covers our faults in the mantle of His love.
Now I hope we are beginning to feel better. I hope we are not going to leave off caring about the work, but only leave offbeing cumbered about it. I hope we shall be anxious to see souls saved and desirous to conduct all our labors for Christ inthe best possible manner-but I hope we shall not sit down and worry ourselves as though there were no God to bless, no Christto perfume our works with the incense of His merits and no Holy Spirit to make our very infirmities yield His Glory! Let usremember that our Father lives, that our God lives, that He who brings good out of evil lives. Let us set up our banners inHis name and go forward rejoicing that He is with us and will be with us to the end!
Come, you Marys-if you have been upbraided, mind not the unbraiding! Your living near to Christ is "that good part"- alwaysstay there. Serve the Master, but do not break your fellowship. Do all that in you lies for Christ, but also sit down underHis shadow and let His fruit be sweet to your taste. If we sometimes did less, we should do more. If we had fewer outwardengagement and more private dealings with God, we should be richer. The best commerce is commerce with Heaven. The richestmerchants are those who negotiate with a Covenant God. Those who get the largest estates are those who have learned to trafficin Heaven's markets. If you would be strong, live upon the promises! If you would be happy, live with the Promise-Keeper.If you would be mighty to win souls, be mighty on your knees! And if you would be like your Master with a shining face amongthe multitude, be much with your Master where He is transfigured upon the Mount.
I preach but poorly to you, but I must not begin to be cumbered about that. Here I would leave the matter, only I would toGod that you all had an interest in the things I have been speaking of! Some of you do not care to serve God at all. You serveyourselves-you serve your own passions. May the Lord bring you to serve Him-and the door of service is at the Cross. The wayto begin to be a servant is to go to the place where He took upon Himself the form of a Servant and was obedient unto death,even the death of the Cross. Trust Jesus. This is the work of God, if you would do it, that you believe on Him whom He hassent. May God enable you now to trust His dear Son with all your hearts! And then after that may you go and serve Him, andserve Him effectively-but God grant that you be not "Cumbered with much serving."