WORKMEN NOT ASHAMED
"A workman that needs not to be ashamed." 2 Tim.2:15
Much of our influence depends upon our own stand and bearing. There is a self-respect which becomes every Christian. He is to let no man despise him. He is to be an example to others. He is conscious of the privileges bestowed upon him; of the relationships in which he stands; of the justice of his choice; of the glory which awaits him. He is therefore bound to walk worthy of his high calling. Should such a man as he flee? God has called him to important duties, important responsibilities, important issues. How can he dishonor his profession and give occasion to the enemy to blaspheme? This is his appointed position, higher than the kings of the earth; and it is his duty to carry out its influence, and not to sacrifice his Master's authority and rights. In this happy and exalted company I profess to be. Am I really so?--one of God's appointed workmen in the world?--employed in his service, and pledged to do his will?
1. Then I have no reason to be ashamed of the MASTER whom I serve. I ought publicly and boldly to maintain his honor. If I could see him, his glory would overwhelm me with astonishment and delight. His appearing will fill his enemies with dismay and terror. The angels of God delight to adore and honor him! Why should I ever be ashamed to say I belong to him, and mean to follow his commands? I know he is the King of kings. Heaven and earth are full of his glory. The whole world has witnessed to his forbearance and power. My whole life has testified and displayed his love. I need never be ashamed of him. It has been the highest honor of my life that he called me out of a sinful world, to know and to follow him. I ought always to confess him. If I am ashamed of him here, he will be ashamed of me hereafter. No, if he should be ashamed of me even here, what could I do?--if he were ashamed to intercede for me, to protect me, to own me, to accompany me, to bless me? And well he may be, for my whole life has been a course of ingratitude and folly. But what reason can I ever have for being ashamed of him? Oh may he save me from such wickedness as this!
2. Then I need not be ashamed of the CAUSE in which I am engaged. Why should I be? It is the cause of Christ. I am engaged to be a servant of the Lord of hosts, to spread his truth, to edify his kingdom--to gather his elect--to make his name known and glorious. No cause can be of equal importance. All heaven delights to be occupied in it. Angels rejoice to minister in it. The highest earthly minds have felt honored in being employed in it. Why should I be ashamed of it? It is perfectly holy, benevolent, and pure; it is rational, intellectual, and elevated--it is triumphant and gloriously progressive--it produces the highest blessings and honors for humanity--it will obtain a universal exaltation. Why should I be ashamed of it? No; however imperfectly I may attain, or manifest, or fulfill its claims, I cannot but feel that it is a cause worthy of my utmost effort, and my entire devotion and zeal. I can never be too earnest, or too zealous, or too active, or too engaged in it. The more I do, and get, and display, of this glorious cause, the more honorable and the happier it will be for me. Why should I ever be ashamed of it?
3. But I need not be ashamed of my pursuit of this great OBJECT. Why should I be? To what more noble or exalted end can I consecrate my being? But my own actual pursuit is so very infirm, and imperfect, and defective. I know it is. I am truly ashamed to think I began so late. It is sad to remember my wasted trifling days, when I was ignorant and a rebel. I am truly ashamed that I have followed my Lord at such a distance. It is a grief to remember my many backslidings, and sinful falls, and wanderings from him. I am truly ashamed of my lack of real, living, burning zeal for Christ. It is mournful to think of every reluctance, or withholding, or indifference in my obedience to him. Over all these I mourn. I am ashamed of them all. But after all, I am really sincere and determined in my pursuit of my Savior's commands." I could not say I am not; and I am not ashamed of that. I am full of defects, but I am not a hypocrite. I am infirm in everything, but I do truly desire to do the will of God completely; to honor my Savior in all things. And why should I be ashamed of that? I love to pray--to understand his word--to obey his commands. I long to love them all more. I could not deny this. Why should I ever be ashamed of these things?
4. I need not be ashamed of the RESULTS of this service. Its present results are often apparent loss and dishonor. Many have suffered much for Christ. I may be required also to do so. But they have always counted it an honor and a gift, to be permitted to suffer. They have all proved happy in the hour of suffering, and happier for it. Their names have been more highly honored in consequence of their very sufferings. It will be just so with me, if I suffer for Christ, or suffer with him. I shall be able to count it all joy. Why then should I be ashamed of this? But these are very transitory results. They will soon pass by--and then the full result shall be brought out, and I know that I shall not be ashamed. Oh no! If man is immortal--if I am really to live forever--if I have a soul that cannot die, I need never be ashamed of counting everything else of no value in comparison. Such a course is rational and just in the highest degree. And when Christ shall bring out the full reward of his righteousness in endless glory, I shall lift up my head with joy. This I believe--this I know. It is as real in my view now, as it will be then. Why then need I ever be ashamed?
5. Oh glorious service! Am I indeed one of Christ's workmen? never will I be ashamed. I will glory in my Master, in his cause, my pursuit of it, in every result which it may bring. I shall lift up my head before kings and not be ashamed. It is the highest honor of my being. Let all my influence be connected with it, and flow out of it.
Ashamed of Jesus! Yes, I may,
When I've no sins to wash away;
No foe to fear, no boon to crave,
No guilt to cleanse, no soul to save.
Until then, still clinging to his side,
I'll boast a Savior crucified.
And may my lasting portion be,
My Savior not ashamed of me.