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Faith and Work
Faith in the Choice of Occupation
Faith and Help at Work
Faith and Serving God at Work
Faith and the Discomforts of Work
Faith casts the Burden on the Lord
Faith and the Results of Work
Faith and Leaving Work Behind
Secondly, faith leads a man to look to god for help in his ordinary avocation. Here, again, it has a great influence over him. A believer may seek of God the qualifications for his particular calling. "What," say you, "may we pray about such things?" Yes. The labourer may appeal to God for strength; the artisan may ask God for skill; the student may seek God for help to quicken his intelligence.
David was a great warrior, and he attributed his valour to God who taught his hands to war and his fingers to fight. We read of Bezaleel, and of the women that were wise-hearted, that God had taught them, so that they made all manner of embroidery and metal work for the house of the Lord. In those days they used to reckon skill and invention to be the gifts of God; this wretched century has grown too wise to honour any God but its own idolized self. If you pray over your work I am persuaded you will be helped in it. If for your calling you are as yet but slenderly qualified, you may every morning pray God to help you that you may be careful and observant as an apprentice or a beginner; for has he not promised that as your day your strength shall be? A mind which is trusting in the Lord is in the best condition for acquiring knowledge, and getting understanding.
As to your behaviour also in your work, there is room for faith and prayer. For, O brethren, whether qualified or not for any particular offices of this life, our conduct is the most important matter. It is well to be clever, but it is essential to be pure. I would have you masters of your trades, but I am even more earnest that you should be honest, truthful, and holy. About this we may confidently go to God and ask him to lead us in a plain path, and to hold up our goings that we slip not, He can and will help us to behave ourselves wisely. "Lead us not into temptation" is one sentence of our daily prayer, and we may further ask that when we are in the temptation we may be delivered from the evil. We need prudence, and faith remembers that if any lack wisdom he may ask of God. Godliness teaches the young men prudence, the babes knowledge and discretion. See how Joseph prospered in Egypt because the Lord was with him. He was placed in very difficult positions, on one occasion in a position of the most terrible danger, but he escaped by saying, "How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" A sense of God's presence preserved him then and at all other times. He was set over all the house of Potiphar because God was with him. And so, dear friends, engaged in service or in business, you may go to your heavenly Father and ask him to guide you with his counsel, and you may rest assured that he will order all your way, so that your daily calling shall not hinder your heavenly calling, nor your conduct belie your profession.
Faith bids you seek help from God as to the success of your daily calling. Know ye not what David says, "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep." It is a most pleasant thing to be able by faith to consult the holy oracle about everything, whether it arises in trade, or in the family, or in the church. We may say with Abraham's servant, "O Lord, I pray thee send me good speed this day." You may expect success if you thus seek it: and peradventure some of you would have prospered more if you had more believingly sought the Lord. I say "peradventure," because God does not always prosper even his own people in outward things, since it is sometimes better for their souls that they should be in adversity, and then the highest prosperity is a want of prosperity. Faith quiets the heart in this matter by enabling us to leave results in the hand of God.
Faith acts also in reference to our surroundings. We are all very much influenced by those about us. God can raise us up friends who will be eminently helpful to us, and we may pray him to do so: he can put us into a circle of society in which we shall find much assistance in this life's affairs, and also in our progress towards heaven; and concerning this we know that "The steps of a good man are ordered of the Lord." Faith will keep you clear of evil company, and constrain you to seek the society of the excellent of this earth, and thus it will colour your whole life. If there be no friends to help him, the believer's dependence is so fixed upon God, that ho goes forward in cheerful confidence knowing that the Lord alone is sufficient for him; yet, if he be encouraged and assisted by friends, he looks upon it as God's doing, as much as when David was strengthened by those who came to him in the cave.
Do you say, We see the connection of this with faith, but how
with faith upon the Son of God who loved us and gave himself for
us? I answer,-Our Saviour as the object of our faith is also the
object of our imitation, and you know, brethren, how in all things
he rested upon God. Whenever he undertook a great enterprise you
find him spending a night in prayer. If anybody could have dispensed
with prayer it was our Lord Jesus; if any man that ever lived
could have found his own way without heavenly guidance it was
Christ the Son of God. If then he was as much in prayer and exercised
faith in the great Father, much more should you and I bring everything
before God. We should live in the flesh expecting that the Lord
Jesus will be with us even to the end, and that we shall be upheld
and comforted by his sympathetic love and tenderness. Faith enables
us to follow Jesus as the great Shepherd of the sheep, and to
expect to be led in a right way, and daily upheld and sustained
until the Redeemer shall come to receive us unto himself.
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