To Every Man His Work
I believe if the truth was known, that every man and woman in this assembly has a work laid out for them to do; that every man’s life is a plan of the Almighty, and way back in the councils of eternity God laid out a work for each one of us. There is no man living that can do the work that God has got for me to do. No one can do it but myself. And if the work ain’t done, we will have to answer for it when we stand before God’s bar. For it says: “Every man shall be brought unto judgment, and every one shall give an account of the deeds done in the body.” And it seems to me that every one of us ought to take this question home to-night: “Well, am I doing the work that God has for me to do?” God has got a work for every one of us to do. Now in the parable the man who had two talents had the same reward as the man who had five talents. He heard the same words as the man who had five talents. “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” The men that take good care of the talents that God has loaned them, he always gives them more. But if we take the talent that God has given us, and lay it away carefully in a napkin and bury it away, God will take even that from us. God don’t want a man that has got one talent to do the work of a man that has got ten. All a man has got to answer for is the one that God has given him. If we were all of us doing the work that God has got for us to do, don’t you see how the work of the Lord would advance? I believe in what John Wesley used to say, “All at it, and always at it;” and that is what the church wants to-day.
But men say: “I don’t believe in these revivals; it’s only temporary, it only lasts a few minutes.” Yes, if I thought it was only to last a few minutes, I would say “Amen” to everything they say. My prayer has been for years that God will let me die when the spirit of revival dies out in my heart; and I don’t want to live any longer, if I can’t be used to some purpose. What are we all down in this world of sickness and sorrow for, unless it is to work for the Son of God, and improve the talents he has given us? But some men are not satisfied with the talents they have, but are always wishing for some one else’s talent. Now, that is all wrong. It is contrary to the spirit of Christ. Instead of wishing for some one else’s talent, let us make the best use of the talents God has given us. Now, there ain’t a father or a mother here but would think it a great misfortune if their children shouldn’t grow any for the next ten or fifteen years. That little boy there, if he shouldn’t grow any for ten or fifteen years, his mother would say, “It is a great calamity.” I know some men of my acquaintance who make the same prayers they made fifteen or twenty years ago. They are like a horse in a treadmill—it is always the same old story of their experiences when they were converted, and going round and round. If you had a child that was deaf and dumb, you would think it a great misfortune. Do you ever think how many dumb children God has got? You speak about political matters, and they can talk. You ask them what do they think about General Grant’s third term; and hear them talk. You ask them about stocks and bonds; and hear them talk. You talk to them about the hard times in New York; and see if they can’t talk. But you ask them to speak about the Son of God, and they say: “O no, I can’t speak about that. Please excuse me!”
Let us do all the business we can. If we can’t be a lighthouse, let us be a tallow candle. There used to be a period when the people came up to meeting bringing their candles with them. The first one perhaps wouldn’t make a great illumination, but when two or three got there, there would be more light. If the people of this city should do that now, if each one should come here with his candle, don’t you think there would be a good deal of light? Let all the gas be put out in this hall, and one solitary candle would give a little light here. If we can’t be a lighthouse, let us be a tallow candle. Some one said, “I can’t be anything more, than a farthing rushlight.” Well, if you can’t be more be that, that is well enough. Be all you can. What makes the Dead Sea dead? Because it is all the time receiving, never giving out anything. Why is it that many Christians are cold? Because they are all the time receiving, never giving out anything. You go every Sunday and hear good sermons. and think that is enough. You are all the time receiving these grand truths, but never give them out. When you hear it, go and scatter the sacred truth abroad. Instead of having one minister to preach to a thousand people, this thousand ought to take a sermon and spread it till it reaches those that never go to church or chapel. Instead of having a few, we ought to have thousands using the precious talents that God has given them.
~ This is from “Strength in Weakness” in The Gospel Awakening