Monday, July 07, 2008

Hearts Ready

"It is your principle, that your hearts are to be ready for every work that God shall impose upon you. You are not to choose your employment, neither are you to refuse any employment that God shall put upon you. You are always to have an open ear, a ready hand, an obedient heart, and a willing cheerful soul to fall in with what work or service soever it is that God shall put upon you; this is your principle.
Ay, but tell me, Christians, will a little grace enable a man to live up to this principle? I judge not. You are to stand ready to change your employment from better to worse, if the Lord shall be pleased to order it so. You are to be ready to change your crown for a cross; to change that employment that is honorable for that which is mean and low; and that which is more profitable, for that which is less profitable; as it were from the ruling of a province, to the keeping of a herd; from being a lord, to be a servant; from being a servant to great men; to be a servant to the meanest servant, yea, to the poorest beast. Certainly a little grace will never enable a man bravely and sweetly to live up to this principle. Their hearts that are poor in grace, are like a wounded hand or arm, which being but imperfectly cured, can only move one way, and cannot turn to all postures and all natural uses.
Weak Christians are very apt to three things, to choose their mercies, to choose their crosses, and to choose their employments. They are often unwilling that God himself should choose out their way or their work. But now souls that are rich in grace, they are at God's beck and check; they are willing that God shall choose their work and their way; they are willing to be at his dispose; to be high or low; to serve or to be served; to be something or to be nothing.

Thomas Brooks -photo by Lars-Gunnar Svard


Mel said...

Perhaps this is what Jonathan Edwards was talking about when he said this:

"I must leave it to everyone to judge for himself . . . concerning mankind, how little there is of this disinterested love to God, this pure divine affection, in the world."

Disinterested love to God, what a unique phrase. But to me it says what this post says, that we should hold loosely every earthly blessing, be it opportunity or material or relational. If God is our true Source, then everything else must pale in comparison to Him.

I love my job so much that I would literally do it for free (if I didn't need the money). It's like getting paid to play all day. Many times I've thought how foolish it would be to give this job up, and everytime I've thought that, God has whispered to my spirit not to hold to this job too tightly, but to appreciate it and enjoy it until He calls me to do something else. May my ears be open to His voice and my heart submitted to His leading when that time comes.

FCB said...

I agree with what you said about not holding anything to tightly. Just when we think things are smooth.......

Now the Puritans use their terms so exactly, it's easy to miss some of the intent. He begins with the principle -- "hearts ready for every good work God shall impose". "Good work" is the employment.
In this chapter the use of the words employment and work are referring to the spiritual work God would have us see and do. The principle does apply to the practical, but in the practical that is where these principles are applied.
Eg. I think about how in my job, I'll use that term to differentiate between heavenly 'employment', I may have my "employment" changed many times simply by the different people I work with, or over or under, while never changing jobs. Our jobs give us opportunity for much "heavenly employment". This is where the exhortation is intended, not so much in choosing our job, but in choosing our heavenly employment within our job or circumstance. We are likely to choose a heavenly employment that we feel gifted in or where our talent or comfort lies. We may choose to love the lovely, or to befriend those we like, but Brooks encourages us to see each encounter as opportunity. If promotion comes, opportunity for Godly leadership; if demotion comes, opportunity to gracefully submitt. When we are weak in grace, our ministry is limited by our immaturity; but the rich in grace see and act with a ready hand, an obedient heart, and a willing cheerful soul, at every prompting.
I have hardly reached that level, just tell me you need help in the church nursery and you will find me changing, not diapers, but "employment".

In the Puritan times, a job may last a lifetime,they referred to it as 'a calling', changing jobs in those days was not like it is today. The only reason I bring this up is that if someone were to read it and think of it in terms of only changing jobs, the many lessons might be missed.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

In the ultimate analysis, the saying that MAN PROPOSES, GOD DISPOSES will hold good.

Very often we gloss over it saying it is fate or karma.

Our jobs. positions, roles etc. are decided by God and we have no choice whatsoever. Bill Gates may be one of the richest men in the world but can he become King of England!

The only thing that we can do is do is to be happy and cheerful in whatever we are called to do, be it high or low, grand or mean and sing praises to God. Whether it will be possible for us to that is another question! Dont forget the Satan who keeps tempting us with this and that!

Have a good day!