An Honourable Vocation for All
Ephesians 4:16
From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplies…

Very little are some of the joints and fibres; but every little helps. Who shall despise the day of small things? But for the accumulated atoms, the aggregated littles, where were the body? As the author of "Felix Holt" says, we see human heroism broken into units, and are apt to imagine, this unit did little — might as well not have been. But in this way we might break up a great army into units; in this way we might break the sunlight into fragments, and think that this and the other might be cheaply parted with. There is a latter day apologue of a gimlet that grew exceedingly discontented with its vocation, envying all the ether tools in the carpenter's basket, and thinking scorn of its own mean duty of perpetually boring and picking holes everywhere. "The saw and the axe had grand work to do; and the plane got praise always; so did the chisel for its carving; and the happy hammer was always ringing merrily upon the clenching nail." But for it, a wretched, poking, paltry, gimlet its work was hidden away, and very little seemed its recognized use. But the gimlet is assured, on the best authority, that nothing could compensate for its absence, and is therefore bidden be content, nay happy; for though its work seems mean and secret, it is indispensable. To its good offices, the workman is said to look chiefly for coherence without splitting; and to its quiet influences, the neatness, the solidity, the comfort of his structure may greatly be ascribed. The apologue has, of course, its practical application. "Are there not many pining gimlets in society, ambitious of the honour given to the greater-seeming tools of our Architect, but unconscious that in His hands they are quite as useful? The loving little child, the gentle woman, the patience of many a moral martyr, the diligence of many a duteous drudge, though their works may be unseen and their virtues operate in obscurity, yet are these main helpers to the very joints and bands of our body corporate, the quiet home influences whereby the great edifice, Society, is so nicely wainscoted and floored without split boards..." John Newton said that if two angels came down from heaven to execute a Divine command, and one was appointed to conduct an empire, and the other to sweep street in it, they would feel no inclination to change employments. So again, the same robust divine affirmed that a Christian should never plead spirituality for being a sloven; "if he be but a shoe cleaner, he should be the best in the parish." As the old servant tells Ruth in Mrs. Gaskell's story, "There's a right and a wrong way of setting about everything — and to my thinking, the right way is to take a thing up heartily, if it is only making a bed. Why, dear, ah me! making a bed may be done after a Christian fashion, I take it, or else what's to come of such as we in heaven, who've had little enough time on earth for clapping ourselves down on our knees for set prayers?" This quaint speaker had laid to heart the lesson once for all enforced upon her, to do her duty in that state of life to which it had pleased God to call her; her station was that of a servant, and, looked at aright, as honourable as a king's: she was to help and serve others in one way, just as a king is in another. Her parting counsel to Ruth runs thus: "Just try for a day to think of all the odd jobs as to be done well and truly in God's sight, not just slurred over anyhow, and you'll go through them twice as cheerfully," besides doing them more efficiently. John Brown, of Haddingten, being waited on by a lad of excitable temperament, who informed him of his desire to become a preacher, and whom the shrewd pastor saw to be as weak in intellect as he was strong in conceit, advised him to continue in his present vocation. The young man said, "But I wish to preach and glorify God." The old commentator replied, "My young friend, a man may glorify God making broom besoms; stick to your trade, and glorify God by your life and conversation." As it was said of Bossuet, in the seventeenth century, that he could not walk, or sit down, or even pluck a currant, without your recognizing in him the great bishop (so asserts a modern French divine, not of Bossuet's Church), just so the workman and the domestic servant who are animated by their Master's spirit, distinguish themselves among their fellows by a certain air of nobility; under their blouse or their livery may be seen to shine the signal light of their aristocratic spirituelle, the image of the Most High Himself. However mean their employment, they go about it with neither disgust nor indifference; but with an intelligent interest, because, in the sight of God, and indeed in their own eyes, their occupation is on a level with that of king or emperor.

(Francis Jacox.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

WEB: from whom all the body, being fitted and knit together through that which every joint supplies, according to the working in measure of each individual part, makes the body increase to the building up of itself in love.

Truthful Dealing
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