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True Christian Ministering
by [?]

But the man who seeks this rank of which I have spoken, must be honest to follow it. It will not do to say, “I want to be great, and therefore I will serve.” A man will not get at it so. He may begin so, but he will soon find that that will not do. He must seek it for the truth’s sake, for the love of his fellows, for the worship of God, for the delight in what is good. In the kingdom of heaven people do not think whether I am promoted, or whether you are promoted. They are so absorbed in the delight and glory of the goodness that is round about them, that they learn not to think much about themselves. It is the bad that is in us that makes us think about ourselves. It is necessary for us, because there is bad in us, to think about ourselves, but as we go on we think less and less about ourselves, until at last we are possessed with the spirit of the truth, the spirit of the kingdom, and live in gladness and in peace. We are prouder of our brothers and sisters than of ourselves; we delight to look at them. God looks at us, and makes us what he pleases, and this is what we must come to; there is no escape from it.

But the Lord says, that “the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto.” Was he not ministered unto then? Ah! he was ministered unto as never man was, but he did not come for that. Even now we bring to him the burnt-offerings of our very spirits, but he did not come for that. It was to help us that he came. We are told, likewise, that he is the express image of the Father. Then what he does, the Father must do; and he says himself, when he is accused of breaking the Sabbath by doing work on it, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” Then this must be God’s way too, or else it could not have been Jesus’s way. It is God’s way. Oh! do not think that God made us with his hands, and then turned us out to find out our own way. Do not think of him as being always over our heads, merely throwing over us a wide-spread benevolence. You can imagine the tenderness of a mother’s heart who takes her child even from its beloved nurse to soothe and to minister to it, and that is like God; that is God. His hand is not only over us, but recollect what David said–“His hand was upon me.” I wish we were all as good Christians as David was. “Wherever I go,” he said, “God is there–beneath me, before me, his hand is upon me; if I go to sleep he is there; when I go down to the dead he is there.” Everywhere is God. The earth underneath us is his hand upholding us. [Footnote: The waters are in the hollow of it.] Every spring-fountain of gladness about us is his making and his delight. He tends us and cares for us; he is close to us, breathing into our nostrils the breath of life, and breathing into our spirit this thought and that thought to make us look up and recognize the love and the care around us. What a poor thing for the little baby would it be if it were to be constantly tended thus tenderly and preciously by its mother, but if it were never to open its eyes to look up and see her mother’s face bending over it. A poor thing all its tending would be without that. It is for that that the other exists; it is by that that the other comes. To recognize and know this loving-kindness, and to stand up in it strong and glad; this is the ministration of God unto us. Do you ever think “I could worship God if he was so-and-so?” Do you imagine that God is not as good, as perfect, as absolutely all-in-all as your thoughts can imagine? Aye, you cannot come up to it; do what you will you never will come up to it. Use all the symbols that we have in nature, in human relations, in the family–all our symbols of grace and tenderness, and loving-kindness between man and man, and between man and woman, and between woman and woman, but you can never come up to the thought of what God’s ministration is. When our Lord came he just let us see how his Father was doing this always, he “came to give his life a ransom for many.” It was in giving his life a ransom for us that he died; that was the consummation and crown of it all, but it was his life that he gave for us–his whole being, his whole strength, his whole energy–not alone his days of trouble and of toil, but deeper than that, he gave his whole being for us; yea, he even went down to death for us.