I'm sure it goes without saying that we all hope, throughout our lives, to make a positive impact upon the world around us. And those of us who have become true followers of the Lord Jesus Christ hope that our lives will count in the things of Eternity. In fact, former England cricketer and pioneer missionary, C.T. Studd has gone so far as to say...
'Only one life, 'twill soon be past, Only what's done for Christ will last.'
WHAT WE DO
There is of course a lot of truth in this statement. It's also probably true to say that in the grand scheme of things we'll never know this side of heaven just how valuable have been some of the things we've said or done. And here are some examples from history...
One of the Puritans, Richard Baxter (1615-1691), wrote a book entitled, 'A Call to the Unconverted'. Through this, many people came to know Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour. This included Philip Doddridge (1702-1751), who became a well-known preacher, hymn writer and president of a theological seminary.
Doddridge went on to write the widely-circulated book, 'The Rise and Progress of Religion in the Soul.' William Wilberforce read it, became convicted of all he knew to be 'wrong' in his life and went on to become a Christian statesman.
After having become instrumental in the movement to abolish slavery, Wilberforce wrote, 'A Practical View of Christianity'. This is said to have helped change the life of Leigh Richmond, who later wrote numerous Christian evangelistic publications which the Lord used to draw many to Himself.
Though our sphere of influence may not include the writing of Christian literature, there are a multitude of things we could do to help extend the Kingdom of God, build up the Church and glorify the name of the Lord. The true value of such will be revealed only in Eternity.
HOW WE DO IT
But at this point perhaps a cautionary note ought to be sounded. Whilst it's always good to be serving the Lord wholeheartedly...
'Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord,
not for men.'
...there's also a very real danger in taking our eye off the Lord, as it were, even when engaging in what might be termed 'Christian work'. Yes, it's entirely possible to rely on our own judgement, our own ingenuity, our own strength.... and with serious consequences...
'Everything that men (and women) do in their own strength and by means of their own abilities
is done for time alone; the quality of eternity is not in it. Only what's done through the Eternal Spirit
will abide eternally; all else is wood, hay, stubble.'
And Tozer goes on to sound a warning to all Christians in positions of authority and responsibility...
'It is a solemn thought that some of us who fancy ourselves to be important evangelical leaders
may find at last we have been but harvesters of stubble.
Yes, we must surely press on in the multitude of ways we can serve the Lord. But let's remember that He isn't simply interested in WHAT we do, but WHY and HOW we do it!