An Obligation of Testing
Shall your brothers go to the war while you sit here?
Family brings its obligations. The people of Reuben and the people of Gad would have been unbrotherly if they had claimed the land that had been conquered and had left the rest of the people to fight for their portions alone. We have received great benefits as a result of the efforts and sufferings of the saints in years gone by, and if we do not make some return to the Church of Christ by giving her our best energies, we are unworthy to be enrolled in her ranks. Others are bravely combating the errors of the age or excavating the dying from amid the ruins of the Fall, and if we fold our hands in idleness we put ourselves in danger. The Master of the vineyard inquires, “Why do you stand here all day doing nothing?” What is the lazy man's excuse?
Serving Jesus becomes the duty of all because it is cheerfully and generously rendered by some. The toils of devoted missionaries and fervent ministers shame us if we continue to sit in laziness. It is the residents of “easy street” who are tempted to run from trials: They would like to escape the cross but still wear the crown; to them the question for this evening's meditation is very relevant. If the most precious are tested in the fire, are we to escape the crucible? If the diamond must be cut and fashioned on the wheel, are we to be made perfect without suffering? Who has commanded the wind to stop blowing because our ship is on the ocean? Why should we be treated better than our Lord?
The firstborn endured suffering, so why not His younger brothers? It is a cowardly pride that would choose a soft pillow and a silk couch for a soldier of the cross. Far wiser is the one who first resigns himself to God's will and then as he grows in grace learns to delight in it. So he picks berries on the path of duty, gathers lilies at the foot of the cross, and like Samson discovers honey in the lion.
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