Taken by Force
Luke 16:14-18
And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.…

Let us look in a large way at this important truth. Everything great on earth has to be achieved by long, earnest, persistent toil. If you seek to become master of any art, any literature, any science, any accomplishment, you do not sit down and say, "God is the giver of all good, and I shall not be so arrogant as to strive for that which He alone can bestow." You know very well it can only be had by meeting every obstacle and conquering it. The very value of the thing is estimated often by the straining endeavour, the unconquerable zeal, and the cease. less labour which are requisite to its attainment. We so often see only the results in certain lives, and not the long processes which have been leading up to those results, that we are tempted sometimes to forget this. A poet writes some verses that cause the whole nation's soul to burn and glow; an orator makes some speech that thrills his country to its very heart's core; a philosopher observes some phenomena which open up a whole field of scientific truth. We are dazzled with the success; we are forgetful of the long, patient hours of study and of thought which have gone before. Millions had seen apples fall before Newton did, and it revealed nothing to them; millions had seen the kettle lid blown off by steam before Watt did, and it suggested no thought to them; millions had lost their dearest friend before Tennyson lost Hallam, and they wrote no "In Memoriam"; millions had watched nations reeling with the shock of revolution before Burke gazed on the shattered throne and the polluted altar of France, and no burning words of eloquence fell from their lips or from their pen. To the souls trained in patient thought the revelation of great truth comes — or rather, what are common facts to others are revelations to them. Don't call these things accidents. "The accidental falling of an apple was the cause of the discovery of the laws of gravity," says a popular treatise. A fearful untruth. The cause of the discovery was the long period of deep self-sacrificing thought which Newton had given to Nature. "What a lucky man Newton was to have that apple fall before him!" said a young man once, in my hearing. "Rather," said a thoughtful man, standing by, "what a lucky apple to fall before Newton!" There is a world of truth in that. So one might go through the whole range of human experience and culture, and everywhere the kingdom that you want to become master of has to be taken by force. The door is opened to the persistent knocking. The bread is given to the unwearied demand. The treasure is found by the one who has been seeking. Now we come to the highest life of all — to the culture of that part of our nature which transcends all else. Is it not this great principle which pervades all the physical and mental world; which we see in every tiny plant as it struggles through the earth towards the light, in every mighty oak scarred with the lightnings and storms of ages, in every torrent that fights its way towards the ocean; which we see in every achievement of physical science, in every path she has constructed across mountain or morass, in every railroad for which she has torn and blasted a way through the granite of the earth; which we see in every great painting that has glowed with beauty on the canvas, in every great work of the sculptor who has made the cold marble breathe and live; which we see in every page of every great book in which Science records her facts, or poet, or historian, or philosopher has penned his researches and his thoughts — is not, I say, this great principle, which thus meets us everywhere — in all noble results, and all great achievements, in every department of human thought and life — to be found anywhere in the grander life of the immortal soul? Surely it is, brethren, and we ignore the teaching of Christ and of His apostles if we regard Christ's religion as merely a means by which we are to be saved from all trouble and responsibility about the future. There are people who tell you that all you have to do is to "accept Christ," "believe in Him," and then He has done all for you — you need have no more anxiety or trouble. All through those Epistles, which are so full of the gospel of the grace of God, and where Christ and Him crucified is the central fact of the Christian faith, the apostle, in words which thrill with the living power of deep personal experience, speaks of the Christian life as a ceaseless, protracted, fearful struggle. Be exhausts things sacred and profane to find imagery to depict and to impress this truth. The Christian life is a race for which no previous preparation is too careful; in which every nerve is to be strained, and on which all our force is to be concentrated, that we may " obtain the prize" (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).

(T. T. Shore, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And the Pharisees also, who were covetous, heard all these things: and they derided him.

WEB: The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, also heard all these things, and they scoffed at him.

Men Often Highly Esteem What God Abhors
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