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True Christian Ministering
by [?]

But how are we to learn this ministration? I will tell you where it begins. The most of us are forced to work; if you do not see that the commonest things in life belong to the Christian scheme, the plan of God, you have got to learn it. I say this is at the beginning. Most of us have to work, and infinitely better is that for us than if we were not forced to work, but not a very fine thing unless it goes to something farther. We are forced to work; and what is our work? It is doing something for other people always. It is doing; it is ministration in some shape or other. All kind of work is a serving, but it may not be always Christian service. No. Some of us only work for our wages; we must have them. We starve, and deserve to starve, if we do not work to get them. But we must go a little beyond that; yes, a very great way beyond that. There is no honest work that one man does for another which he may not do as unto the Lord and not unto men; in which he cannot do right as he ought to do right. Thus, I say that the man who sees the commonest thing in the world, recognizing it as part of the divine order of things, the law by which the world goes, being the intention of God that one man should be serviceable and useful to another–the man, I say, who does a thing well because of this, and who tries to do it better, is doing God service.

We talk of “divine service.” It is a miserable name for a great thing. It is not service, properly speaking, at all. When a boy comes to his father and says, “May I do so and so for you?” or, rather, comes and breaks out in some way, showing his love to his father–says, “May I come and sit beside you? May I have some of your books? May I come and be quiet a little in your room?” what would you think of that boy if he went and said, “I have been doing my father a service.” So with praying to and thanking God, do you call that serving God? If it is not serving yourselves it is worth nothing; if it is not the best condition you can find yourselves in, you have to learn what it is yet. Not so; the work you have to do to-morrow in the counting-house, in the shop, or wherever you may be, is that by which you are to serve God. Do it with a high regard, and then there is nothing mean in it; but there is everything mean in it if you are pretending to please people when you only look for your wages. It is mean then; but if you have regard to doing a thing nobly, greatly, and truly, because it is the work that God has given you to do, then you are doing the divine service.

Of course, this goes a great deal farther. We have endless opportunities of showing ourselves neighbours to the man who comes near us. That is the divine service; that is the reality of serving God. The others ought to be your reward, if “reward” is a word that can be used in such a relation at all. Go home and speak to God; nay, hold your tongue, and quietly go to him in the secret recesses of your own heart, and know that God is there. Say, “God has given me this work to do, and I am doing it;” and that is your joy, that is your refuge, that is your going to heaven. It is not service. The words “divine service,” as they are used, always move me to something of indignation. It is perfect paganism; it is looking to please God by gathering together your services,–something that is supposed to be service to him. He is serving us for ever, and our Lord says, “If I have washed your feet, so you ought to wash one another’s feet.” This will be the way in which to minister for some.