What Is My Business?
James Smith, 1865
This is a question of importance. It requires consideration. It deserves an answer. Unless we know our business — we cannot attend to it; and unless we attend to our proper business — we cannot gain a good character. Certainly we were not intended to live in idleness. We were created for activity. We are placed in the world to get good and do good.
What, then, is my proper business as MAN?
It is to ascertain God's will — and do it.
To learn what will glorify God — and aim at it.
To live as in God's sight.
To work for God's honor.
To seek God's company.
To reverence God's majesty.
To prefer God's will to everything beside.
It is my business to serve my generation, to try and benefit all around me, and to prove that I do not love anyone less than I love myself.
In one word, my business is to do all the good I can — and prevent all the evil that I can.
Now, have I learned my business?
Do I love my business?
Do I follow my business?
Am I a good hand at my business?
Alas! few consider this their business — and the few that do, often lose sight of it. We have all sinned, and in so doing, have come short of the glory of God.
What, then, is my proper business as a SINNER?It is to confess my sins to God, and seek pardon from God. Reconciliation to God, acceptance with God, and restoration to the image of God — should daily occupy our thoughts, engage our minds, and be the end of our pursuits. Our business is, to ascertain how man can be just with God, and obtain that privilege; how man can enjoy peace with God, and enjoy that blessing; how man can be fitted for the presence and service of God, and be prepared for the same. Our business as sinners is neglected or unfinished — until we receive the atonement, have access to God with confidence, walk with God in holy fellowship, and find the presence of God our chief joy.
Have we attended to this business? Have we learned it? Are we reaping the fruit of it? If so, we are saints — we are the children of God — we are heirs of immortal life.
What, then, is my proper business as a SAINT?It is to admire, adore, and adorn the free and sovereign grace of God, which has distinguished me from so many around me. All are sinners. Only a few become saints. And all saints do not learn and follow their proper business as they should. What should a saint do?
He should carefully copy the example of his Savior, for Jesus has said, "I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done." His example is bright, beautiful, and perfect. It is just what God requires, and what the saint in his best moments desires to be.
He should go about doing good. He should sympathize with human misery in every form and wherever discovered. He should aim to spread the knowledge of Christ, and endeavor to make everyone happy, by leading him to Christ. Every talent should be employed. Every opportunity for doing good, even upon the smallest scale, should be embraced. It is our business to "teach every one his neighbor, and every one his brother, saying, Know the Lord."
To oppose sin, to banish ignorance, to relieve indigence, and to endeavor to introduce happiness into every circle and every place. Every morning we should ask, Can I do good to any one today? Can I make anyone happy? Can I spread the knowledge of Jesus? Can I lead a soul to God? Shall I not try? Ought I not to attempt it? May not God honor any feeble, well-meant endeavor to accomplish so glorious a work? But we are mortal, we shall soon die, we must exchange time — for eternity.
What, then, is my proper business as a traveler to eternity?It is daily to keep my end in view — to live as one that must give an account, and who may be called very soon, very suddenly, to do so. My business is to keep short accounts, putting off nothing until tomorrow which I can do today; and daily getting my sins blotted out in the precious blood of Jesus. Never let me lie down at night with guilt on my conscience, or carry the guilt of today into the business of tomorrow. I ought to keep my loins girt, my lamp clean, my vessel full of oil, my evidences bright, and my affairs all in readiness for the sudden coming of the Lord.
Dying will be found quite work enough for the last day, without leaving anything to finish then. Let us, therefore, "die daily;" let us do every day's work in the day; and "so an entrance shall be ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior."
Beloved, let us ask, "What is my business?" And let us attend to it carefully, cheerfully, and constantly; that so, when the Master comes, he may say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord."