Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;…
There is no war between Bibles and ledgers, churches and counting-houses. On the contrary, religion accelerates business. To the judgment it gives more skilful balancing; to the will more strength; to industry more muscle; to enthusiasm a more consecrated fire. We are apt to speak of the moil and tug of business life as though it were an inquisition or a prison into which a man is thrown, or an unequal strife where, half-armed, he goes to contend. Hear me while I try to show you that God intended business life to be —
I. A SCHOOL OF CHRISTIAN ENERGY. After our young people have left school they need a higher education, which the collision of every-day life alone can give. And when a man has been in business for twenty or thirty years, his energy can no longer be measured by weights, plummets, or ladders. Now do you suppose that God has spent all this education on you for the purpose of making you merely a yard-stick or a steelyard? He has put you in this school to develop your energy for His cause. There is enough unemployed talent in the churches to reform all empires in three weeks.
II. A SCHOOL OF PATIENCE. How many little things there are in one day's engagements to annoy. Men will break their engagements; collecting agents will come back emptyhanded; goods will fail to come, or come damaged; bad debts will be made; and under all this friction some men break down, but others find in this a school for patience, and toughen under the exposure. There was a time when they had to choke down their wrath, and bite their lip. But now they have conquered their impatience. This grace of patience is not to be got through hearing ministers preach about it; but in the world.
III. A SCHOOL FOR THE ATTAINING OF KNOWLEDGE. Merchants do not read many books, nor study many lexicons, yet through the force of circumstances they get intelligent on many questions. Business is a hard schoolmistress. If her pupils will not learn, she smites them with loss. You went into some business enterprise, and lost five thousand dollars. Expensive schooling, but it was worth it. Traders in grain must know about foreign harvests; in fruits must know about the prospects of tropical production; in imported goods must know about the tariff. And so every bale of cotton, and raisin cask, and tea box, becomes a literature to our business men. Now do you suppose that God gives you these opportunities of increasing your knowledge merely to get a grander business? Can it be that you have been learning about foreign lands, and yet have no missionary spirit? about the follies and trickeries of the business world, and yet not try to bring to bear upon them this gospel which is to correct all abuses, arrest all crime, and lift up all wretchedness? Can it be that, notwithstanding your acquaintance with business, you are ignorant of those things which will last the soul long after invoices and rent rolls have been consumed in the fires of a judgment-day?
IV. A SCHOOL OF CHRISTIAN INTEGRITY. No age ever offered so many inducements for scoundrelism as are offered now. It requires more grace to be honest now than it did in the days of our fathers. How rare it is that you find a man who can from his heart say, "I never cheated in trade"; but there are those who can say it, who are as pure and Christian to-day as on the day when they sold their first tierce of rice or their first firkin of butter, and who can pray without being haunted with the chink of dishonest gold, and look into the laughing faces of their children without thinking of orphans left by them penniless.
(T. De Witt Talmage, D.D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;