The Blessedness of Being Early in Christ
Romans 16:6-7
Greet Mary, who bestowed much labor on us.…

I. IT MAKES OUR WORK EASIER. How easy to bend the pliant twig! How hard to move the sturdy tree! An old man, one day taking a child on his knee, entreated him to seek God now. With artless simplicity the little one asked, "Why do not you seek God?" The old man answered, his utterance half choked with tears, "I would, child, but my heart is hard — my heart is hard!"

II. OUR WORK IS BETTER DONE. He who invites us to remember Him "in the days of our youth," will show His love by affording abundant help.

III. LIFE IS MADE MORE HAPPY. Conscience testifies that we have chosen the "good part," and that God is our Friend. The power of temptation is weakened. The growth of graces is promoted. Unreasonable doubts and fears are removed. The sting of death is effectually plucked away. Religious ways are ways of pleasantness and peace. Great peace have they who love God's law.

IV. IT SAVES US FROM BEING DESTRUCTIVE EXAMPLES TO OTHERS. When Lord Peterborough was the guest of Fenelon, he exclaimed, "If I stay here any longer, I shall become a Christian in spite of myself." A young man, who was about to be ordained to the ministry, stated that at one period he had been nearly betrayed into infidelity. "But," he added, "there was one argument in favour of Christianity which I could never refute — the consistent conduct of my own father!" In contrast with such examples for good, imagine the terrible, soul-destroying influence of evil men!

V. IT FITS ONE FOR AN EXALTED POSITION OF USEFULNESS IN GOD'S KINGDOM. "Early piety," says Henry, "it is to be hoped, will be eminent piety. Those that are good betimes are likely to be very good." Take an old, time-wrinkled man, and endeavour to teach him the arts of a soldier, or to make a scholar or tradesman of him. What painful plodding, and, oftentimes, what unavailing effort! But the young can master any-thing.

VI. WE ARE CERTAIN OF A HEAVENLY REWARD. As in a well-appointed army the soldier's pay is regulated by the time of service, so is it with the followers of Christ. Long years of "patient continuance in well-doing" will be recompensed with the highest seats, the brightest crowns, and the most ecstatic enjoyment.

(J. N. Norton, D.D.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Greet Mary, who bestowed much labour on us.

WEB: Greet Mary, who labored much for us.

The Blessedness of Being Betimes in Christ
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