Edwin Adams, London
THIS rather unusual notice to motor car drivers appeared at the entrance of a hotel in a small Midland town. It was the equivalent of the much more common “Entrance Only” notice with which we are all familiar.
But does not “inlet only” apply to not a few young Christian men and women? Saved, sure of their salvation, perhaps regular attendants at the meetings, they yet do not serve the Lord, and secretly long for liberty to go in for the things of the world. “What is there for us?” asked one of these, plaintively. He meant that as a Christian he was debarred from the sports and worldly interests of the unregenerate, but he was not a worker for the Master, and so felt that his life was more or less empty.
Some are gifted, enjoy good health and a fine presence, and, in normal times, have plenty of leisure. But, like the Dead Sea, they have many inlets but no outlet; they are always receiving but never giving.
In the physical realm, want of sufficient exercise is a common cause of “that tired feeling.” The whole system loses tone. Self-poisoning is the result of too much “in-take,” especially where none of it is worked off in vigorous exercise. A clogged physical machine is a fertile cause of lassitude.
In the spiritual realm we run the risk of stuffing ourselves with what we do not use, and so of becoming religious dyspeptics. Knowledge does not express itself in doing. Theology was never meant to be an intellectual hobby, although Divine.
Divine truth is for the joy and satisfaction of the mind as well as for the heart and the conscience. Some, too, need more mental food than do others, if they are to act. With due allowance for the temperamental factor, however, we need to simplify our beliefs, and to live them out. Unhappiness and depression have not infrequently been cured when some service for the Master has been taken up.
Much gift possessed by Christians is used for the world and not for the Church. The pampered parasite of the pew retards the progress of the Gospel. Do not allow pride or laziness to keep you from serving the Lord. Will you wait until you have developed the middle-age “spread” and perhaps the middle-age fatty degeneration of the conscience? Don't you love the Lord enough to try to do something for Him and His lambs? You have The Best Thing Out; will you not in some way bring it to the notice of others who need it, even if they don't want it?
A sense of unfitness is right, but our sufficiency is of Christ, and greater fitness comes with practice. To learn to swim you must get wet. We must all make a start. If we refuse to do anything for our Lord the time may come when we shall be UNABLE to serve Him.
You may have noticed a pond on the hillside. It is always full, for it has an inlet. It is always fresh, for it has an outlet. Does this not typify the Christian who is constantly “abiding” in Christ, and who at the same time is constantly giving to others in loving service?
God divides up the work of saving a soul and of building up a believer, among many agents. And each one of us can have some share in this glorious work. Have we not here a grand encouragement to do what we can in the Lord’s service? “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”