Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
I. CHARACTER COMES OUT OF WORK. It is what we do that educates us, rather than what we read or speculate about. Integrity of act cultivates integrity of heart; enthusiasm in effort resupplies the founts of enthusiasm in the will, and sympathetic activities nourish the emotion out of which they flow. As the roots of the oak reach down and out in the soil to the slenderest end, so strength of character is found in those unseen acts that run through the moments of each day.
II. DAILY WORK ASSISTS US TO LARGER AND CLEARER VIEWS OF DIVINE TRUTH. The crazy fancies that have shattered or darkened communities came not from artisan, miner, or sailor, but from recluses. Work gives strength to the mind, and brings it to that point to which the gospel makes its appeal. Leisure has a charm, and inquiry a zest after toil. The best scholars have been trained in cities. In the country there is something of languor, but in the emulous activities of metropolitan life we make our faculties more acute and our inquisition of truth is more successful.
III. BY WORK WE ENABLE OURSELVES TO INFLUENCE OTHERS FOR GOOD. In society every one affects all. There is indeed peril in this fact. An unfaithful workman may introduce into your dwelling disease and death. A negligent pilot may plunge hundreds into sorrow. A bludgeon is not needed to destroy the eye, or a hammer to ruin a watch. A grain of dirt is sufficient in either case; and so it is with secret influences at work in society. Noble work will bless those we may never see, and give progress to what is best in human life. It is not wealth inherited that is the mightiest lever, but that which is gained by work. He who lays aside for Christ a portion of his daily wage of work, preaches to the world and thereby advances the cause of the Redeemer.
IV. IF WE ARE OBEDIENT TO THIS RULE OF LIFE, WE SHALL GAIN THE CLEAREST IMPRESSION OF IMMORTALITY. It is not in dreams that we come under the full power of the world to come; but often in toil we feel the dignity of manhood within us that is not yet revealed. The philosopher may doubt, and the enthusiast may feel that he has not grasped it; but the mother, busied with her humble service, does feel that a time is coming when her work wilt be recognised and rewarded. Of course, we may be so ardent in earthly pursuits as to forget everything else; but to the thoughtful worker this truth comes as an inspiring impulse. Conclusion: We gaze on the loveliness and quiet of the country, and fancy that there is the place to lead an unworldly life. Nay, there is worldliness there as truly as in Wall Street. Men fight about fences as we do about contracts. Here, indeed, in wealth and fashion and sensuality, worldliness takes root with satanic force; but here also are the finest specimens of Christian character illustrated.
(R. S. Storrs, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;