And I sent messengers to them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease…
I. WHO GASHMU WAS. Personally we do not know Gashmu from the ten thousand men of his era. He was Gashmu the Arabian, and that is all. But his real identity is not centred on the year of his birth, or who was his father, or how much he was worth. When our life begins, our name is almost everything; but when our life is ended it has been heavily freighted with good or evil, and is what the things are to which it gives personal identity. What we do know about Gashmu is that he came out square against a man who was determined to do good, and was earnestly doing it, and tried to put him down.
II. WHAT HE TRIED TO DO. A good man was doing a good work and bad men tried to stop him. They tried to hurt his person. Gashmu was above that, yet he will sit there and nurse his dislike, and be glad to hear the petty stories that float like thistledown in the neighbourhood against the innocent man. One story in particular gets credence. This man means to be a king. Gashmu hears the floating absurdity. On any other subject he would pronounce anything so empty as this silly; but when this man is the subject of the rumour, he would rather believe it than not. He goes and sees for himself, and when he returns, ready ears listen, and the fatal word is uttered: "That man, certainly means to be a king." Before night it is repeated by twenty tongues: "He intends to rebel; Gashmu says it." Gashmu has permitted his prejudices grow into a lie. He is the representative man of unprincipled gossips and narrow bigots.
1. There are Gashmus in the Church, and "Gashmu said it" is at the bottom of nine-tenths of all the differences in Christendom.
2. There are Gashmus in social life. Your social Gashmu means well on his own estimate of things. Perhaps he is on the whole a good man, lives a life that wins the respect; of a whole town; tells the truth so constantly that his word is as good as gold. But some one man does not train with him, he does not like that man at all; does not understand him; and so cultivates a little feeling of dislike, until it bulges into a receptiveness of idle rumours, that would be like mere straws if they were reported of a man he loves. Yet he will nurse them and cherish them, and at some moment his dislike will come to a head, and he will say, "I have no doubt it is true." Then "Gashmu said it" clips that man's margin at the bank, draws the sunshine out of half the faces he meets on the street, and puts him in a position that, it may be, brings the very tendencies for which Gashmu has spotted him. How many grown men and women regret bitterly to-day some such misjudgment on another — the hasty word of a single moment, that we could never recall and never atone for, by which the life of the man or woman about whom we said it has been darkened and injured past redemption! It was a small matter of itself, but Gashmu said it, and that was like sowing the thing in black prairie loam, insuring to us a harvest of bitter regrets, and to our victim a harvest of bitter memories.
3. There are Gashmus in the nation and the public life.
III. WHAT CAME OF IT. It came to nothing. It was common rumour, and Gashmu on the one side, and God and the right on the other; and alas for Gashmu when he is found fighting against God!Conclusion: To every earnest man and woman I would say —
1. Keep true to your task, whatever it may be, and never mind Gashmu.
2. When Gashmu comes and begins to say this and that to annoy you, do not come down to talk to him.
3. If you come across Gashmu in the Church, or in society, or in: any way whatever, keep out of his way as much as you can — have nothing to say to him.
4. Let us take care that we are not Gashmus.
5. We must pity Gashmu.
Parallel VersesKJV: And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down: why should the work cease, whilst I leave it, and come down to you?