William Bradford Institute
for Study of the
Early Settlement of America

Faith and the Results of Work

Excerpted from Everyday Religion by C. H. Spurgeon

Sixthly, faith hath a happy influence upon the present life, for it moderates a
man's feelings as to the result of his work. Sometimes the result of our work is
prosperity, and here the grace of God prevents a surfeit of worldly things.
There is a keen test of character in prosperity. Everybody longs for it, but it
is not every man that can bear it when it comes. True faith forbids our setting
great store by worldly goods and pleasures and enjoyments, for it teaches us
that our treasure is in heaven. If we begin to idolize the things that are seen,
we shall soon degenerate and turn aside from God. How easily we may spoil a
blessing! Two friends gathered each a rose: the one was continually smelling at
it, touching its leaves and handling it as if he could not hold it too fast. you
do not wonder that it was soon withered. The other took his rose, enjoyed its
perfume moderately, carried it in his hand for a while, and then placed it on
the table in water, and hours after it was almost as fresh as when it was
plucked from the bough. We may dote on our worldly gear until God becomes
jealous of it, and sends a blight upon it; and, on the other hand, we may with
holy moderateness use these things as not abusing them, and get from them the
utmost good which they are capable of conveying to us. Many pursue wealth or
fame as some eager boy hunts the painted butterfly: at last, after a long and
weary run, he dashes it down with his cap, and with the stroke he spoils its
beauty. Many a man hath reached the summit of a life-long ambition and found it
to be mere vanity. In gaining all he has lost all; wealth has come, but the
power to enjoy it has gone; life has been worn out in the pursuit, and no
strength is left with which to enjoy the gain. It shall not be so with the man
who lives by faith, for his chief joys are above, and his comfort lies within.
To him God is joy so rich that other joy is comparatively flavourless.

But perchance the result of all our work may be adversity. Some men row very
hard, and yet their boat makes no headway. When an opportunity presents itself
the tide of trade suddenly turns against them. When they have corn in the mill
the wind does not blow. Perhaps they lose all but their character, and then it
is that faith comes in to cheer them under the disaster. I am deeply grieved
when I hear of persons committing suicide because they were in difficulties: it
is a dreadful thing thus to rush before one's Creator unbidden. Faith sustains
the heart and puts aside all thought of such desperate attempts to fly from
present griefs by plunging into far more awful woes. We shall bear up and come
through our trials triumphantly if we have faith in God. If our heavenly Father
has appointed a bitter cup for us shall we not drink it? If the fields which we
have tilled yield no harvests, and the beasts that we have foddered die in the
stall, shall we not bow the head and say, "The Lord hath done it"? Must it not
be right if the Lord ordains it? It us bless him still. If not, it will be our
unbelief which hinders. How many have been happy in poverty, happier than they
were in wealth! How often have the saints rejoiced more during sickness than in
their health. Payson declared that during illness he felt happier than he had
ever been, far happier than he had ever expected to be. Though bereavement has
come into the family, and sickness unto the household, yet faith has learned to
sing in all weathers because her God is still the same.

O brothers and sisters, faith is a precious preparative for anything and
everything that comes; mind that you have it always ready for action. Do not
leave it at home in time of storm as the foolish seaman left his anchor. It is
not a grace to be shut up in a closet, or fastened to a communion table, or
boxed up in a pew, but it is an everyday grace which is to be our companion in
the shop and in the market, in the parlor and in the kitchen, in the workroom
and in the field; ay, it may go into the workhouse with the poor, as well as
into the mansion with the rich; it may either cheer the dreary hours of the
infirmary, or sanctify the sunny weeks of holiday. Faith is for every place in
which a good man may lawfully be found. "Should fate command you to the utmost
verge of the green earth, to rivers unknown to song," yet shall a childlike
faith in God find you a home in every clime, under every sky. Oh, to feel the
power of it, as to all that comes of our labour, that the life which we live in
the flesh may be lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved us and gave himself
for us.


Promoting a Greater Understanding of the Discovery of the Americas