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Christ Our Example in Labor and Leisure

Christ Our Example in Labor and Leisure

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Published by glennpease
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.

Mark, vi. 31.

A nd he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert
place, and rest a while : for there were many coming and going,
and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
BY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.

Mark, vi. 31.

A nd he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert
place, and rest a while : for there were many coming and going,
and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

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Published by: glennpease on Oct 04, 2013
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CHRIST OUR EXAMPLE IN LABOR AND LEISUREBY THOMAS ARNOLD, D.D.Mark, vi. 31.A nd he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desertplace, and rest a while : for there were many coming and going,and they had no leisure so much as to eat.There are a great many considerations which thissingle passage may give birth to ; but two in par-ticular may be made most applicable to our pre-sent circumstances. The one is, the example of earnest and unabated labour afforded by Christ andhis Apostles : " they had no leisure so much as toeat ;" and the other, the spirit and meaning of hiswords, " Come ye yourselves apart into a desertplace, and rest a while." Both these points seemcapable of yielding much that is useful to all of uswho are now here assembled.We are accustomed to think of our Lord us fur-nishing us with an example of many things ; butnot particularly of energy and constant exertion.We think of li is devotion to CJod, of liis benevo-lence, his meekness, his patience, and of man)202 SERMON XXI.aothers of the perfections of his character ; but wedo not perhaps observe, that he affords to us a noless perfect pattern of those excellencies which St.Paul has so well described in one single verse,when he tells the Roman Christians to be " notslothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the
 
Lord." In this, as in other things, " Christ pleasednot himself;" but was content to give up his wholetime and all his faculties to the service of God." They had no leisure so much as to eat."These last words are well illustrated by anotherpassage in the Gospel of St. John, where it says,that his disciples left Jesus by the side of a well,in Samaria, while they themselves went to theneighbouring town to buy food. Whilst they wereabsent, a woman of Samaria came to the well, andour Lord was engaged in speaking with her, andwith the men of the town, whom her report of himbrought to see him. At last his disciples cameback and brought the food, and begged him to eat.But even then his answer was, that he had meatto eat which they knew not of; and this meat, hesaid, was to do the will of him that sent him, andto finish his work.It appears then that what hindered our Lordfrom having leisure so much as to eat, was the in-tense interest which he felt in doing his Father'swork. His was not a bondman's service, givingto the task he hates the least possible share of hisSERMON XXI. 20.>time and strength ; it was indeed the zealous ser-vice of a son, who came not to do his own will,but the will of the Father who sent him. Whata lesson is this for all of us, I speak not only of 
 
the younger ones amongst us, but of us all ; whata lesson to us, when we are so eager, if I may sospeak, to change the stones into bread, to indulgeour natures with refreshment and ease ; and whenour work, even in the best of us, is too often, if not in a bondman's, at least in a hireling's spirit ;if we do not dislike it, we yet are apt to be toomuch satisfied with ourselves for doing it, and tolook upon it too fondly as giving us a claim to somuch reward.But it is well too to consider the nature of ourLord's work. " There were many coming andgoing." His work was not silent and solitarystudy ; it was not the labour of his hands in someone regular business, in which, though the handsare employed, the mind may be at rest, and theman may go to rest at night with only that sort of weariness which makes sleep the wholesomer andthe sweeter. Christ's was not the labour of mindonly nor the labour of body only; but both to-gether. It was the kind of labour which is indeedthe very best for the spiritual health of us all, butwhich is to our bodies and our minds perhaps themost fatiguing: I mean, constant personal inter-course with others, in the endeavour t<> do good t"204 SERMON XXI.their bodies and their souls. Our Lord was hardlyever alone, nor was he, though in a crowd, yet ina crowd with which he had no concern, so that hemight still follow his own thoughts and his ownbusiness; but his thoughts were of them, hisbusiness was to do them good. Nor was it a mul-

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