TO EVERY MAN HIS WORK.
"To every man his work." Mark13:34.
I want to call your attention to a verse you will find in the 13th chapter of Mark, part of the 34th verse—" To every man his work." "For the Son of Man is as a man taking a far journey, who left his house and gave authority to his servants, and to every man his work, and commanded the porter to watch." Now, by reading that verse carefully it don't read, "to every man some work," or "to every man a work; but, "to every man his work." And I believe, if the truth •was known, that every man and woman in this assembly has a work laid out for them to do; that every man's life is a plan of the Almighty, and way back in the councils of eternity God laid out a work for each one of us. There is no man living that can do the work that God has got for me to do. No one can do it but myself. And if the work ain't done, we will have to answer for it when we stand before God's bar. For it says: "Every man shall be brought unto judgment, and every one shall give an account of the deeds done in
the body." And it seems to me that every one of us ought to take this question home to-night: "Well, am I doing the work that God has for me to do?" God has got a work for every one of us to do. Now in the parable the man who had two talents had the same reward as the man who had five talents. He heard the same words as the man who had five talents. "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." The men that take good care of the talents that God has loaned them, he always gives them more. But if we take the talent that God has given us, and lay it away carefully in a napkin and bury it away, God will take even that from us. God don't want a man that has got one talent to do the work of a man that has got ten. All a man has got to answer for is the one that God has given him. If we were all of us doing the work that God has got for us to do, don't you see how the work of the Lord would advance? I believe in what John Wesley used to say, "All at it, and always at it;'.' and that is what the church wants to-day.
But men say: "I don't believe in these revivals; it's only temporary, it only lasts a few minutes." Yes, if I thought it was only to last a few minutes, I would say "Amen" to everything they say. My prayer has been for years that God will let me die when the spirit of revival dies out in my heart; and I don't want to live any longer, if I can't be used to some purpose. What are we all down in this world of sickness and sorrow for, unless it is to work for the Son of God, and improve the talents he has given us. But some men are not satisfied with the talents they have, but are always wishing for some one else's talent. Now, that is all wrong. It is contrary to the spirit of Christ. Instead of wishing for some one else's talent, let us make the best use of the talents God has given us. Now, there ain't a father or a mother here but would think it a great misfortune if their children shouldn't grow any for the next ten or fifteen years. That little boy there, if he shouldn't grow any for ten or fifteen years, his mother would say, "It is a great calamity." I know some men of my acquaintance who make the same prayers they made fifteen or twenty years ago. They are like a horse in a treadmill—it is always the same old story of their experiences when they were converted, and going round and round. If you had a child that was deaf and dumb, you would think it a great misfortune. Do you ever think how many dumb children God has got? You speak •bout political matters, and they can talk. You ask them what do they think about General Grant's third term; and hear them talk. You ask them about stocks and bonds; and hear them talk. You talk to them about the hard times in New York; and see if they can't talk. But you ask them to speak about the Son of God, and they say: "O no, I can't speak about that. Please excuse mel" Either they don't believe, or they have gone like the third man and buried their talent; and they say, "The Lord is a hard master." I remember once a party of gentlemen speaking of this parable that I read, and asking a deaf man: "What do you think of this man's hiding his talent, and about the justice of his reward?" The deaf man replied: "I don't know anything about the justice of his reward, but I know he is a liar. The Lord isn't a hard master; he told lies when he said that." And so these men who bury their talents, they think the Lord is a hard master; but the men who are using their talents, they don't think the Lord is a hard master.
Let us do all the business we can. If we can't be a lighthouse, let us be a tallow candle. There used to be a period when the people came up to meeting bringing their candles with them. The first one perhaps wouldn't make a great illumination, but when two or three got there, there would be more light. If the people of this city should do that now, if each one should come here with his candle, don't you think there would be a good deal of light? Let all the gas be put out in this hall, and one solitary candle would give a little light here. If we can't be a lighthouse, let us be a tallow candle. Some one said, "I can't be anything more, than a farthing rushlight." Well, if you can't be more be that, that is well enough. Be all you can. What makes the Dead Sea dead? Because it is all the time receiving, never giving out anything. Why is it that many Christians are cold? Because they are all the time receiving, never giving out anything. You go every Sunday and hear good sermons. and think that is enough. You are all the time receiving these grand truths, but never give them out. When you hear it, go and scatter the sacred truth abroad. Instead of having one minister to preach to a thousand people, this thousand ought to take a sermon and spread it till it reaches those that never go to church or chapel. Instead of having a few, we ought to have thousands using the precious talents that God has given them. ,
Now, Andrew got the reputation of bringing people to Christ. He •went about it in the right -way; he began right. I imagine that when Christ wanted these mighty deeds done, he went out and hunted up Andrew. Andrew inquired of the people, "Have you seen anything of Peter?" And when he found him, he brought him to Christ. Little did Andrew know of the importance of the day when he brought Peter to Christ. Little did he think that on that day he did the greatest act of his life. What joy must have filled his heart when he saw three thousand brought under the influence of the Spirit by that holy man. Oh, you cannot tell what results will follow, if you just improve the talent God has given you by bringing one Simon Peter to Christ. Then we read that when the Greeks came and wanted to see Jesus, Andrew met them and brought them all to Christ. Andrew had a reputation of bringing sinners to God. That is a good reputation. I would rather have that reputation than any other. Oh, the joy there is in bringing people to Christ! This is what we all can do, if we will. If God has not given us but half a talent, let us make good use of that. When God told the people to take their seats by fifties, he told Philip to get food for them. "What," says Philip, "feed them with this little loaf? Why, there is not more than enough for the first man." "Yes, go and feed them with that." Philip thought that was a very small amount for such a multitude of hungry men. He broke off a piece for the first man, and didn't miss it; a piece for the second man, and didn't miss it; a piece for the third man, and didn't miss it. He was making good use of the loaf, and God kept increasing it. That is what the Lord wants to do with us. He will give us just as many talents as we can take care of.
There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord; but few of us willing to do little things. The mighty sermon on regeneration was preached to one man. There are many who are willing to preach to thousands, but are not willing to take their seat beside one soul, and lead that soul to the blessed Jesus. We must get down to personal effort—this bringing one by one to the Son of God. We can find no better example of this than in the life of Christ himself. Look at that wonderful sermon that he preached to that lone woman at the well of Samaria. He was tired and weary, but he had time and the heart to preach to her. This is but one of many instances in the life of the Master from which we may learn a precious
lesson. If the Son of God had time to preach to one soul, cannot every one of us go and do the same? If people, instead of coming to these meetings, folding up their arms and enjoying themselves, without personal effort, would wake up to the fact that they have a work to do, what a wonderful work could be done! It is not enough to come to these meetings; we want ten thousand workers in New York city. We want ten thousand men and women that are willing to say, "Lord, here am I, use me." Ten thousand of such people would revolutionize this city in a little while. Look at the work of the mighty Wesley. The world never saw a hundred such men living at the same time. The trouble is, we are afraid to speak to men about their souls. Let us ask God to give us grace to overcome this man-fearing spirit. There is a wife, but she dare not speak to her husband about his soul. There is a father that dare not speak to a sou about his soul. What we want to do is to speak to our neighbors about these things. We call it a little work, but let me say to you it is a great deal. If we would do this, we might turn ten thousand to the Son of God.
I remember hearing of a person that was always trying to do some great thing for the Lord; and because he could not do a great thing, he never did anything. There are a great many who would be willing to do great things, if they could come up and have their names heralded through the press. I remember hearing of a man's dream, in which he imagined that when he died he was taken by the angels to a beautiful temple. After admiring it for a time, he discovered that one stone was missing. All finished but just one little stone; that was left out. He said to the angel, "What is this stone left out for?" The angel replied: "That was left out for you; but you wanted to do great things, and so there was no room left for you." He was startled, and awoke, and resolved that he would become a worker for God; and that man always worked faithfully after that .
Now, my friends, we must not expect to do great things. We must take anything that comes to us; we must let the Lord use us as he sees fit. I remember once, while preaching at a meeting, of noticing in the congregation a lady who had a class in a mission school. I knew that it was the time for them to meet, and I wondered what she was there for. When I got home, I said: "How did you happen to be at the meeting this afternoon? What did you do with all those little lambs? Haven't you a class that meets to-day?" "Yes," she said; "but I only have five little boys, and I didn't think it would matter if I didn't teach them to-day." "Have you five little boys?" "Yes." "How do you know but among those little boys there may be a Knox; there may be a Wesley, or a Whitefield, or a Bunyan? There may be a man there who will go out and revolutionize the world." Sly friends, in that little boy with his tattered clothes and uncombed hair, there may be a Martin Luther, if you
could but lead him to Christ. If you have five little children come to you, thank God for that, and start with your work. I heard, some time ago, of a young lady that went out to a boarding-school. Her parents were very wealthy, and sent her to the best school they could find. They were very anxious that their daughter should shine in the highest circle of society, that she should become refined and educated. Among her associates at school was a lady who loved and worked for Christ. By constant labor she won this young girl's heart, and pleaded with her to become a Christian. She succeeded, and the young lady became a worker in the vineyard of the Lord. She taught her the luxury of working for Christ. She labored with her schoolmates, and God used her in winning quite a number of young ladies in that school to Christ. I have known a great many ministers who wanted to know how they could keep their congregation out of the world. Give them so much to do that they won't have time to attend to cherish worldly influences. This young lady of whom I was speaking came home, and her father and mother wanted her to shine in the fashionable society. No, she said she had got something better than that. She went to the Sabbath-school superintendent, and said to him, "Can you give me a class in the Sunday-school?" He was surprised that this young lady should want that. He told her that he had no class that ne could give her then. She went away with a resolve to do what she could outside of the school. One day, as she was walking up the street, she say a little boy running out of a shoemaker's shop, and behind him was the old shoemaker, chasing him, with a wooden last in his hand. He had not ran far until the last was thrown at him, and he was struck in the back. The boy stopped and began to cry. The Spirit of the Lord touched that young lady's heart, and she went to where he was. Sho stepped up to him and asked him if he was hurt. He told her it wa» none of her business. She went to work then to win that boy's confidence. She asked him if he went to school. He said, "No." "Well, why don't you go to school?" "Don't want to." She asked him if he would not like to go to Sunday-school. "If you will come," she said, "I will tell you beautiful stories, and read nice books." She coaxed and pleaded with him, and at last said that if he would conBent to go she would meet him on the corner of a street which they should agree upon. He at last consented; and the next Sunday, true to his promise, he waited for her at the place designated. She took him by the hand and led him into the Sabbath-school. "Can you give me a place to teach this little boy?" she asked of the superintendent. He looked at the boy, but they didn't have any such looking little ones in the school. A place was found, however, and she Bat down in the corner and tried to win that soul for Christ. Many would look upon that with contempt, but she had got something to do for the Master. The little boy nad never heard anybody sing ao sweetly before. When he went home he was asked where he had been. "Been among the angels," he told his mother. He said he had been to the Protestant Sabbath-school; but his father and mother told him he mast not go there any more or he would get a flogging. The next Sunday he went, and when he got home he got the promised flogging. He went the second time and got a flogging, and also a third tune, with the same result. At last he said to his father: "I wish you would flog me before I go, and then I won't have to think of it when I am there." The father said: "If you go to the Sabbathschool again I will kill you." It was the father's custom to send his ion oat on the street to sell articles to the passers-by; and he told the boy that he might have the profits of what he sold on Saturday. The little fellow hastened to the young lady's house and said to her: "Father said that he would give me every Saturday to myself; and if you will just teach me then, I will come to your house every Saturday afternoon." I wonder how many young ladies there are that would give up their Saturday afternoons just to teach one boy the way into the kingdom or God. Every Saturday afternoon that little boy was there at her house, and she tried to tell him the way to Christ She labored with him, and at last the light of God's Spirit broke upon his heart. One day, while he was selling his wares at the railroad station, a train of cars approached unnoticed and passed over both his legs. A physician was summoned, and the first thing tfter he arrived, the little sufferer looked up into his face, and said, "Doctor, will I live to get home?" "No," said the doctor, "you are dying." "Will you tell my mother and father that I died a Christian?" They bore home the boy's corpse, and with it the last message that he died a Christian. Oh, what a noble work was that young lady's in saving that little wanderer! How precious the remembrance to her! When she goes to heaven, she will not be a stranger there. He will take her by the hand and lead her to the throne of Christ. She did the work cheerfully. Oh, may God teach us what our work is, that we may do it for his glory.
It is the greatest pleasure of living to win souls to Christ, and it is a pleasure that angels can't enjoy. It is sometimes a wonder to me that God doesn't take the work out of the church, and give it to the angels. If the redeemed saints could come by the bar, I sometimes think they would rejoice in coming back here to have the privilege of leading one more soul to Christ. Isn't it hi^h time that the church got awake from its midnight slumber? It is time the work was commenced; and when the Spirit of God revives it, shan't we go and do it? Are there not five thousand Christians in this hall, and ain't there some one among them that can lead a soul to Christ within the nezt week? If we work, what a great army can be brought in, if we are only faithful! I want to say to the Christians here that there is one rule I have followed that has helped me wonderfully. I made it a rule that I wouldn't let a day pass without speaking to some one about their soul's salvation; and it they didn't hear the gospel from the lips of others, there will be 365 in a year that shall hear the gospel from my lips. There are five thousand Christians here to-night; can't they say, "We won't let a day pass without speaking a word to some one about the cause of Christ?"
At Philadelphia, when we were holding meetings in the gasworks, there was a man who came to our very first meeting. He was very much interested, and said, "I will try and see if I can't lead some of the men in my shop to Christ." He began to talk with them. There were 175 men on the night-watch, and when I left they said 25 out of the 175 had been converted; and every night, at midnight —that is the hour they have what might be called their midnight dinner—and every night, at midnight, they have a prayer-meeting. When you and I sleep to-night all these young converts speak and pray, and it looks now as if every man in the gas-works was going to be brought to Christ.
When we were in Belfast, there was a man who heard about leading souls to Christ. He began by talking to his wife, and to his servant, and to his children; and just as we were leaving Belfast they were very much interested, but not converted. He came down to Dublin—broke up his home, left his business, and came to Dublin. One night he came to me very joyous, and he says, "My wife has been converted." A little while after, he came and said, "My younger son has been converted." and a little while after, he said, "My oldest son has been converted." And now the whole family is in the ark. And he came over to Manchester, and he came up to London; and now perhaps in all Belfast there is not one that works harder than that whole family. Look at this man's success. He found his work was right there in his own household; and if the fathers, and mothers, and sisters, and wives, and brothers, will try to bring the members of their families to Christ, and cry, "Oh, God, teach me what my work is"—the Spirit of God will surely tell them what their work is; and then if they are ready to go and do it, there will be thousands converted in this city in a few days. Oh, may the Spirit of the Lord come upon us to-night, and may every one of us be taught by the Holy Ghost what our work is, and may we be ready to do it.