We all like to feel that what we are doing counts for something, that it is really worth while. We like to see practical results. We know that much labor is lost in the world, and we do not want ours to be lost. The ordinary things of life seem to amount to so little. They are not spectacular; no one pays very much attention to them; and we naturally feel that when we do something, we want it to be something that people can see and that they will think is worth while, and something that we ourselves can feel is worth while. Some think: “If I could just preach, I shouldn’t mind working for the Lord. But, oh! I can do so little—nothing worth while at all, nothing worth the effort. What can my feeble efforts accomplish, anyway?”
Others think that if they could go to a foreign land and work among the heathen, draw people to Christ there, send back home great reports of what they have accomplished, have their names published in the paper, and have people talking about them, then that would be worth while. But since they are only ordinary people and can do only ordinary things, it seems to them that it hardly pays to try. They will just follow the line of least resistance and do things the easiest way. Of course they want to do what they can for God, but they want to do something really worth while.
And now, reader, what is really worth while in life? Is it only those things that make a great show? is it only those things that the world counts great? A sister said to me recently in a letter, “I used to think that I could do nothing worth while, but I have found that just simply living salvation before people is a great work.” Now, that sister has learned a wonderful lesson. She has found a truth so great that most people do not recognize it as truth when they do find it. It is one of those truths that have the peculiarity of seeming small and insignificant though they are the very fundamentals of truth.
Just simply living salvation before people—yes, that is what counts, and it counts more than anything else. That is one of the very greatest things that an individual has ever done in this world. Talk is cheap, and many people can talk all day and say scarcely anything either. Some people can sway great crowds by their eloquence, they can accomplish wonderful things, but still they can not live salvation, or, at least, they do not. There is no power so great in this world as the simple power of a holy, quiet life. The sister mentioned can never hope to do great things as other people might count them. She is in frail health; she is isolated from other saints and can not attend meetings as can many others; she has not the ability to preach or to do anything very great, as greatness is usually reckoned; but she has learned the great fact that she is not shut out from doing a grand work.
If all God’s people could learn this lesson—if they could learn that it really counts just simply to live right, just simply to be an ordinary every-day Christian; if they could once get that thoroughly fixed in their minds and hearts—it would glorify their lives, it would exalt the common service, it would shed a halo over their lives, and they would not feel discouraged.
When Moses was at Pharaoh’s court, I suppose he thought that he was doing something really worth while. He amounted to something there. But when the Lord let him be driven, or rather frightened, away from that court and he went out into the wilderness, I suppose he thought his occupation there was hardly worth while. Why, what was he doing, anyway? Just taking care of the sheep, leading them out in the morning to the pasture, bringing them back to the fold at night, seven days in the week—just doing this and nothing more. I suppose it did not look very big to Moses, but it did to God. God thought it worth so much that he kept him at that work for forty years. Then Moses, at the age of eighty, when it looked as if he were about done with this world, was called to go to do something for the Lord. That forty years in the wilderness counted now. It had given him experience that helped to qualify him for the work to which God had called him. He came out of there worth while because he had done something worth while in those years. He had learned about God—oh, so many things he had learned! and now he was ready to put that knowledge into practise.
Sometimes we have wilderness periods in our lives, when God lets us be shut up in a corner, as it were, and do the little things that do not seem to count. But they count on us if they do not count anywhere else. There is one thing—and just one—that stands out above all other things in the human life, and that is faithfulness. No matter what our life may be, nor where we may be, nor what is our situation, if we are just faithful it is sure to count, and to count a great deal. That is one thing that you can do: you can be faithful to the Lord. You can do what he wants you to do. You can live pure, holy, undefiled, and keep shining every day, no matter what the circumstances may be. Just remember to keep shining. That is the thing that counts. Keep living clean and as God wants you to live. If you do this, he will know where he can find somebody who is faithful when he wants something else done. But ever keep this before you: there is no greater nor more necessary work in the world than putting the truth of God into visible form in a pure and quiet life.