Fire and Ice: Puritan and Reformed Writings
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Faith and Serving God at Work

Excerpted from Everyday Religion by C. H. Spurgeon

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

Thirdly, faith exercises a power over a man's life of a remarkable kind because it leads him to serve God in his daily calling. Never is life more ennobled than when we do all things as unto God. This makes drudgery sublime, and links the poorest menial with the brightest angel. Seraphs serve God in heaven, and you and I may serve him in the pulpit or in the kitchen, and be as accepted as they are. Brethren, Christian men are helped by faith to serve God in their calling by obedience to God's commands, by endeavouring to order everything according to the rules of love to God and love to men. In such a case integrity and uprightness preserve the man, and his business becomes true worship. Though there be no straining after eccentric unworldliness and superstitious singularity, yet in doing that which is right and just, the common tradesman is separated unto the service of the Lord. Jesus says, "If any man serve me let him follow me," as much as to say that obedience to the divine command is the true mode of showing love to Jesus. If thou wishest to do something great for God, be greatly careful to obey his commands: for "to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams."

Godly men exercise faith in God in their callings by trying to manifest a Christian spirit in all that they do. The spirit which actuates us may seem to be a small matter so long as we are outwardly right; but it is in reality the essence of the whole thing. Take away the flavour from the fruit, or the fragrance from the flower, and what is left? Such is correct living without the savour of grace. The same thing can be done in several ways: you can do a right thing in so wrong a way as to make it wrong. Even in giving to the poor, a churl will trample upon their feelings in the very act of his charity; while I have known others who have been unable to give who, nevertheless, have expressed their inability in so kindly a form that they have comforted the disappointed applicant. Oh, to act in your trade and your calling as Christ would have acted had he been in your place. Hang that question up in your houses, "What would Jesus do?" and then think of another, "How would Jesus do it?" for what he would do, and how he would do it, may always stand as the best guide to us. Thus faith puts a man upon serving God by leading him to exhibit the spirit of Christ in what he ordinarily does, showing all courtesy, gentleness, forbearance, charity, and grace.

Furthermore, in all that we do, we should be aiming at God's glory. We should do everything as unto God, and not unto men. There would be no eye-service if we left off being men-pleasers and began to please God. Neither would there be impatience under injustice; for if men do not accept our service when we have done it with all our hearts, we shall comfort ourselves with the reflection that our Master in heaven knows how little we deserve the unrighteous censure. To live as kings and priests unto God is the cream of living. Then will you be the Lord's free men. Serve God in serving men, and serve men by serving God: there is a way of working out those two sentences even to the full, and thus rendering life sublime. May God the Holy Spirit teach us to do this. If we really live to serve God we shall live intensely day by day, allowing no time to waste. Sophie Cook sought Mr. Wesley's counsel as to what she should do in life, and he answered, "Live to-day": a very short direction, but one that is full of wisdom. "Live to-day," and tomorrow you may do the same. Plans for the whole term of life many of you may not be able to construct, but mind that you work while it is called to-day. "Son, go work to-day in my vineyard" is the great Father's word. How would a man live if he felt that he was specially to live for God this day? Suppose that to-day there was a vow upon you, or some other bond, by which you felt that this whole day was solemnly consecrated to the Lord; how would you behave yourself? So ought you to behave this day, and every day; for you belong wholly to him who loved you, and gave himself for you. Let the love of Christ constrain us in this matter: let us put on the yoke of Christ, and feel at once that we are his blood-bought possession, and his servants for ever, because by faith he has become ours and we are his. We ought to live as Christ's men in every little as well as in every great matter; whether we eat or drink, or whatsoever we do, we should do all to the glory of God, giving thanks unto God and the Father by Christ Jesus. Thus, you see, faith in him who gave himself for us leads us to spend our energies in his service, and to do our ordinary work with an eye to his glory, and so our life is coloured and savoured by our faith in the Son of God.

Faith and the Discomforts of Work
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