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Gifts Are for Service

Gifts Are for Service

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY SAMUEL PENNIMAN LEEDS


The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned,
that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that
is weary. — Isaiah 1. 4.
BY SAMUEL PENNIMAN LEEDS


The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned,
that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that
is weary. — Isaiah 1. 4.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Nov 19, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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11/19/2013

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GIFTS ARE FOR SERVICE BY SAMUEL PEIMA LEEDS The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary. — Isaiah 1. 4. Gifts and opportunities are for service, that their possessor may help his less for- tunate fellows ; this is an obvious sugges- tion of these words. They are not for his own enjoyment merely or mainly. They are not bestowed that one may win ad- miration. Still less are they given as wea- pons with which to beat down his neighbor for his own aggrandizement. God is not glorified thus, and we were made to glorify Him. " Talents " of whatever kind are dis- tributed among men by Him for His work. That is to be the object of the recipients; and their supreme happiness, so far as these can give them, is to be found in so using them. God's glory, not man's exaltation, is their end. Self-serving is not the way to happiness, even our own. There is no 36 CHRISTIA PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE surer, and commonly no shorter, road to misery. Would you be truly and steadily happy, forget yourself. Live for self, and full soon you will say, " All is vanity and vexation of spirit." " I made me great works ; " "I made me," for my own plea- sure, " great works ; I builded me houses ; " "so I was great, and increased more than
 
all that were before me in Jerusalem ; then I looked on all the works that my hands had wrought, and on the labor that I had labored to do ; and behold, all was vanity and vexation of spirit and there was no profit under the sun." To seek great things for one's self, too, leads one into temptation. We have enough of that in any path for the purpose of discipline, but in this many, mighty, and unsuspected are the adversa- ries that lie in wait. For with great tempta- tion come how commonly sin and sorrow. Gifts and opportunities, then, are for ser- vice — God's service and man's. " Whoever will be chief among you," said the Master, " let him be your servant ; " and again, " He that is greatest among you shall be your servant ; " or, as our text has it more specifically, " The Lord God hath given me GIFTS ARE FOR SERVICE 37 the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary." To fill the ears of mul- titudes and win their favor by long and " plausive " speeches ? ay, to speak " a word " — a word only when more may not be — " to him," a single, solitary soul, who needs it, even as our Lord did to the Samaritan woman. " We that are strong," said the strong Apostle Paul, " ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves." It is the same prin- ciple in another form : strength designed by the Infinite Giver of strength to help weakness; strength set over against or
 
near weakness, not to trample it under foot and exalt itself, but to help it, lift it up, impart of itself to it. Such is the Divine Order. How unlike is man's way we know but too well. The history of nations — nay, what, often, is the story of powerful, fa- mous, or rich individuals but that of him who, with many flocks and herds, snatched his poor neighbor's " one little ewe lamb " ? But how far away this, how utterly differ- ent from what I have called the Divine 38 CHRISTIA PHILOSOPHY OF LIFE Order. Strength given on purpose that it may help weakness; the snow-topped mountains set up, that down their sides may flow streams to cheer and fructify plain and valley. Examining this truth somewhat in de- tail, we note that it is a noble principle and ennobling. It exalts life ; it transforms life ; and it exalts and transforms character. As long as one's aims and desires find their centre in one's self, they are inevitably petty, more or less. We may build never so largely, plant gardens that shall excel Solomon's, — in a word, execute the am- plest designs, and yet, I say, there will be an aspect of littleness about all. Men often feel this so much that when they do great things for themselves they seek relief in the thought that others, also, will gain by their work; they speak of it, for instance, as a pubhc benefit. This is not always

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