by W.B. Screws

The Pilgrim's Messenger

"Have a pattern of sound words which you hear from me, in faith and love
which are in Christ Jesus."--11 Timothy 1:13
Published Monthly By W. B. SCREWS, Glennville, Georgia
Twenty-five Cents a Year

Volume XXXI

September, 1951

Number 2

Entered at the postoffice at Glennville, Ga., as second-class matter.

There is hardly any room for cavil as to what Paul means by "the work of the Lord". He sometimes uses that title---Lord---when he refers to the phase of the ministry of Jesus that we may emulate with profit. He does not, to any great extent, engage us with His ministry as a Servant of the Circumcision. But there are certain things that characterize the earthly ministry of the Christ, that we are expected to practice also.

We are told what this is. In other words, there was a certain trait that was manifested by the Christ, that differentiated Him from other "leaders". One stated by Himself, is "I will have mercy and not sacrifice". Religion usually has sacrifice---I mean that when a group organizes, they usually organize AGAINST some one, or some group, and, in order to carry out the purpose of their organization, they feel that they must sacrifice members of the other group. Mercy pervades such religions only to a certain extent. Or a church will give much thought to what they call "church discipline", and in the carrying out of such control, they feel it is right and praiseworthy to sacrifice a member and hold him up to shame and embarrassment.

Christ carefully avoided doing such. Instead, He delighted in being merciful, even to the erring. He was determined to not sacrifice any one. Paul did not readily fall into this pattern. He said some very fierce things in the fifth chapter. But he changed in his attitude when he wrote Second Corinthians. In the first epistle to Corinth he rebuked the church for showing leniency to an offender, and bade them cut the man off. In the second letter he said that he would be merciful to whom they were merciful. Thus he was affected for good by his own writing.

First Corinthians contains no deep things. These came later. There are many today who do not seem to have gotten beyond Corinthians.

But even so, with their lack of knowledge concerning Justification. Election, and the special place occupied by the Church---with their lack of knowledge regarding these, they are not left with nothing to do. They are to do the work of the Lord.

With full power to do so, Christ nevertheless, refused to call down fire from heaven to destroy those who did not fall in with His teaching. I shudder to think what some of our religionists would do with such power. Christ came to save life---not to destroy it.

When the Pharisees asked him about stoning an offending woman, He confused them and caused them to "slink" away, when He gave permission for the stoning, with the provision that the first stone be cast by the one who with without sin. When He said that, He knew there would be no stoning that day. And in the episode He showed Himself a Gentleman. Rather than embarrass these Pharisees unduly, He gave them a chance to sneak away while He pretended to be writing on the ground and paying no attention to their retreat.

In regard to correctly cutting the word of truth, the last word has not yet been spoken by our expositors. Even the Psalms are for us. Paul quoted one of them and said that what was written beforehand, was written for this teaching of ours. He told us to speak to ourselves in Psalms. I think there has been too much limitation placed on God in our thoughts. WE are the ones who suffer from such limitation.

To super-abound in the work of the Lord is to have a life of merciful dealings---a life of usefulness to mankind. Not one day did Christ arise from slumber without having it in mind to be useful during that day. His thought was on being helpful. His intention was to live that kind of life that day.

We never arise to very great heights of living so long as our "religion" is to us, a Sunday matter---something to dress up in on Sunday when we go to church. We reach great usefulness when there is no Sunday for us---or, rather, when every day is Sunday. A kind word spoken on Monday, a useful deed done on Tuesday, a helpful act done on Wednesday, and carefulness to aid someone on the other days---these constitute the work of the Lord. Piety on Sunday alone, does not amount to much.

While doctrine is not stressed in First Corinthians, one very important matter is brought to our attention. This is, that we much have spiritual touch with God, and be actuated by a consciousness of Him and His Christ, if we are to live a life that is pleasing to Him and helpful to our fellows.

When you arose this morning what was in your thought? What was uppermost? Was it that you now have a day which to make a few more dollars? Did you go forth to your labor or your business without a thought of the fact that here is a brand new day in which to say, or do, something that will make the path of some one easier and more cheerful? In other words, I ask that your aim every day be to do something that is Christ-like for those with whom you come in touch.

We are necessarily social creatures. We are acutely aware of the fact that we associate with other humans. Our consciousness may not embrace the doctrines of the Bible. These are wonderful if we know how to translate these teachings into every-day living. Do you believe in election?---in salvation by grace?---in justification in His grace?---in the future life? These are ours because of the graciousness of God. Does your belief cause you to be non-gracious toward others who do not see these? Are you afflicted with the spirit of the Pharisees so that you hold yourself aloof from others? Then your belief in the doctrines has done you harm.

But do these precious truths make you generous, gracious, determined to be helpful? If so, you are using the doctrine of God in a way to glorify Him. You do not draw yourself into a shell of exclusiveness, with a holier-than-thou attitude.

It has never been the privilege of the masses of believers to revel in these grand truths. Most of them never pass beyond the First Corinthian stage. But it is the privilege of all to super-abound in the work of the Lord. They are blessedly conscious of the nearness of God and Christ. They have the spirit that enables them to appreciate the fact that God is their God. They love Him. They delight to do the work of the Lord. They belong to different denominations, usually according to their rearing. No church make a person better. It is God Who does this.

I heard a story like this, when I was a young man: An Irishman was asked, "What is your business in life?" His reply was, "I make shoes for a living, but my business in life is doing the work of the Lord". Aptly said! I would that all of us regarded our life thus!

It is not unreasonable to ask people to start our every morning with the idea that this is another opportunity to do His work. This will not be hard to do if God is in our first waking thought.

Why should He not be? Consciousness of the presence of God will naturally cause us to think first of Him. That most important thing of the day is not that piece of work you have planned to do, or that social event you are going to attend, or that fishing trip you have arranged for. It is a recognition of God. He has been with you every minute of the night while you slumbered. Without Him you could not have rested. But for His mercy you might have been up all night caring for one of the family. Without His protection you might have been attacked by robbers. Had it not been for His watchfulness, your home might have burned. Had He not watched over your family you might have found one of them dead when you opened your eyes.

If he had withdrawn His grace, you would never have learned to love Him. He is All to you. What a shame that we arise from the bed and go forth into the day with never a thought of Him!

Christ did not seek spectacular things to do. He rarely ever used a word that cannot be spelled in English with five letters or less. He was not what is called a "four-flusher". His life was the very ultimate in simplicity.

These are some of the things that we are to emulate in super-abounding in the work of the Lord.

I may well ask the question: Is it in vain? The world may think so. Many believers think it is. But Paul says that our toil in the Lord is not for nothing. We may decide what God will do, and what He won't do. But the final decision is with Him. He has a habit of not agreeing with us, when we limit Him.

We miss many blessings by deciding that it is not in accord with His present purpose to do so-and-so. Much of the scripture is timeless. If we are super-abounding in the work of the Lord, we are not certain to work for nothing just because we did not live in the first century A. D. or because we do not live in the future.

Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him for righteousness. If a person believes God today will it be reckoned to him for righteousness? David said, "Happy is the man to whom the Lord by no means should be reckoning sin". Shall I say, "UNhappy is the man in the twentieth century, to whom the Lord by no means should be reckoning sin". The Twenty-third Psalm says, "The Lord is my Pastor". Is He MY Pastor? May I claim Him? Is He not the ideal Pastor?

Paul says He gives pastors. Does He not give Himself to be to me far more than any mere human pastor could be?

Yes, it is true that our toil is not for nothing, in the Lord. It is not hard to prove this. There are happy people in every walk of life. It is not hard to find many who are doing the work of the Lord.

The work of the Lord consists in part of acts of mercy, efforst to be helpful in a way that    glorifies the Lord. The selfish person is not qualifies for this. He thinks of himself too much of the time. His own comfort is too attractive to him.

There is no place where humans may go, where this passage may not be put into practice. There is no church to which one may belong, that will render it impossible to do the work of the Lord, if he is willing to disregard the traditional teachings of his church.

The work of the Lord does not consist of planning to control some one. Bosses in the church are not apt to do the work of the Lord. Their control over their fellows is far more important, to their thinking.

The town in which I live has several churches, of different denominations. But the people are better than their church. Their sympathies spread out past the membership. Many years of teaching make it easy for them to be helpful and merciful to people without their stopping to ask to what church they belong.

Just now I am kept at home a great deal, because my wife is not manifesting the health that is her right. I have to stay at home much of the time. I need my friends more than I ever have needed them before. I find them ready to respond to whatever need they know to exist in my life. If I want them to do anything for me, I have but to request it. Without making a difference as to denomination, they respond to my need. This is true, whether the one responding is white or colored. Some of my friends are Negroes. Like the whites, they are glad to do the work of the Lord. They do it without expecting any reward from me.

This passage calls for friendliness, brotherliness, neighborliness, helpfulness. It discourages anything like sectarianism. Christ worked to bless people. The carrying out of the injunction given in this scripture requires no ceremonies, no forms. It requires a heart that is willing---nay, anxious!---to be of help, to the glory of God. It is love. It is everything that is Godlike. It is that uplifting service that makes life worth living. We are to become settled in the work of the Lord. It must be settled purpose with us. We must be unmovable. Nothing must be allowed to move us from this purpose. And we must super-abound. There was be nothing niggardly about it.  

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