William Bradford Institute
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Early Settlement of America

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Faith and Leaving Work Behind



Excerpted from Everyday Religion by C. H. Spurgeon


Seventhly, faith has this sweet influence upon our present life, that it enables
a man cheerfully to leave his occupation when the time comes. A Christian may
have to quit a favourite vocation on account of circumstances over which he has
no control; he may have to emigrate to a distant land, or altogether to change
his mode of living, and this may involve many a wrench to his feelings. It is
not always easy to leave the old house, and all its surroundings, and to take a
long journey; nor is it pleasant to change one's settled habits and begin life
anew; yet true faith sets loose by worldly things, and is ready to haul up the
anchor and make sail at the divine bidding. The believer says, "Command my
journey, and I go." I am but a tent dweller, and must expect to be on the move.
Like Israel in the desert, we must follow the cloud, and journey or rest as the
cloud ordains, for here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come.
Faith has the same gracious influence upon those who enjoy unbroken prosperity;
it keeps them from taking root in the soil of earth, and this is a miracle of
grace.

Sometimes our vocations have to be given up through weakness or old age. It is a
hard pinch to many a busy man when he feels that he has no more strength for
business, when he perceives that other and more vigorous minds must be allowed
to step into the long occupied position. The workman cannot bear to feel that
his hand has lost its cunning: it is a sharp experience. Faith is of essential
service here. It helps a man to say, "My Master, I am one of the vessels of thy
house; if thou wilt use me I will be glad; but if thou wilt put me on the shelf,
I will be glad too. It must be best for me to be as thou wouldst have me." If
faith resigns herself to the supreme wisdom and love and goodness of Christ, and
says, "Do with me even as thou wilt: use me, or set me aside," then retirement
will be a release from care and no source of distress. The evening of advanced
age may be spent as joyfully as the noontide of manhood if the mind be stayed on
God. "They shall bring forth fruit in old age" is a promise full often realized
by believers, for all around me are venerable brethren who are more useful and
more happy than ever, though the infirmities of years are growing upon them.
And then comes at last the leaving of your vocation by death, which will arrive
in due time to us all. Then faith displays its utmost energy of blessing.
Brethren, may we meet death as Moses did, who when God bade him climb the
mountain, for there he must die, uttered no word of sorrow, but like a child
obeyed his father, went upstairs to bed, looked wistfully out at the window upon
the promised land, and then fell asleep. How sweet to look upon the goodly land
and Lebanon, and then to be kissed to sleep by his Father's own mouth, and to be
buried man knoweth not where. His work was done, and his rest was come.
Beautiful are the departing words of Samuel when, laying down his office, he can
challenge all men to bear witness to his character. Happy man, to depart amid
universal blessing. O that each one of us may be ready to render in his account
before the judgement-seat of Christ-let the last day come when it may.
Our Master, by whose dove we have been endowed with faith, has taught us how to
die as well as how to live. He could say, "I have finished the work which thou
gavest me to do," and he would have us say it. Thrice happy man who, in laying
down the shepherd's crook or the carpenter's plane, in putting aside the ledger
or the class-book, never to open them again, can exclaim, "I have fought a good
fight; I have kept the faith. henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of life
which fadeth not away." Good old Mede the Puritan, when he was very old, and
leaning on his staff, was asked how was was, and he answered, "Why, going home
as fast as I can; as every honest man ought to do when his day's work is done:
and I bless God I have a good home to go to." Dear aged saints, so near home,
does not faith transform death from an enemy into a friend, as it brings the
glory so near to you? You will soon be in the Father's house and leave me behind
and yet I cannot tell: I remember that the other disciple did outrun Peter, and
came first to the sepulchre, and so, perhaps, may I. You have the start of us in
years, but we may be called home before you, for there are last that shall be
first. Let death come when it may we shall not be afraid, for Jesus, who has
loved us and given himself for us, is the resurrection and the life. Living this
life in the flesh by faith upon the Son of God, we are waiting for the usher of
the black rod to bring a message from the King to summon us to meet him in the
upper house. Why should we be loth to go? What is there here that we should
wait? What is there on this poor earth to detain a heaven-born and heaven-bound
spirit? Nay, let us go, for he is gone in whom our treasure is, whose beauties
have engrossed our love. He is not here, why should we desire to linger? He has
risen, let us rise.

Thus, from the beginning to the end of the life that we live in the flesh, faith
upon the Son of God answereth all things, and all its paths drop fatness.

 

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