Posted by: Sherry Goodwin | February 10, 2008

A Change of Work

I don’t know why I always seem to shrink from writing much, or even anything, of the “under the surface” life, (which is so much more than the “on the surface” and the mere surroundings,) in my circulars.  They would be much fuller if I told one tithe of the hourly bits of gentle guidance and clear lovingkindness which make the real enjoyment, or of the perpetual little opportunities of a “word for Jesus” which He seems to give me, and often of real work for Him, which yet seems to come so unsought, so easily and naturally, so altogether without any effort, as to be not felt to be any working at all.  Now I will give you an instance of how He took me at my word the other day. . .I had suddenly got that sort of strong impulse to write on a certain theme, without which I never do my best, but with which I always do my best poems.  The theme was a grand one (“The Thoughts of God”); I had thought of it for months. . .I spent a little time in prayer first, and then the warning and the promise in Jeremiah xv. 19 came strongly to my mind:  “if thou take forth the precious from the vile, thou shalt be as My mouth.”  I felt that wanted looking into; I wanted Him to take forth the precious from the vile for me, and to reveal and purge away, then and there, all the self and mingled motive which would utterly mar the work that I wanted to be for His glory.  After that the question came, was I–had He made me–just as willing to do any little bit of work for Him, something for little children or poor people, simple and unseen, as this other piece of work, which might win something of man’s praise?  Then, I was intensely happy in feeling that I could tell HIM that I had no choice at all about it; but would really rather do just what He chose for me to do, whatever it might be.  However, there seemed nothing else to do, so I began my poem. . .when a labourer with a scythe came along a tiny path to drink at the stream a few yards below me.  He did not see me, and started when I hailed him and offered him a little book.  He climbed up to receive it, and then, instead of departing as I expected, deliberately sat down on a big stone at my feet, and commenced turning over the leaves, and evidently laying himself out to be talked to.  So here was clearly a little call; and I talked to him for some time, he being very interested and responsive.  Just as he was going to move off, two lads, of about fifteen and eighteen, his sons, came crashing through the bushes; . . .they. . .seemed quite willing to listen to the “old, old story” as he had been. . .At last the whole crew departed. . .[then] the younger lad reappeared, with his sister, a girl of about seventeen.  They did not say a word. . .seating themselves at my feet, looked up into my face, saying by their look as plain as any words,  “Please talk to us!”  What could one do but accede. . .the seed was falling on “good ground.”  . . .I enjoyed the morning probably twice as much as if I had done a good piece of my poem; and it seemed so clear that the Master had taken me at my word, and come and given me this to do for Him among His “little ones,” and that He was there hearing and answering and accepting me, that it was worth any amount of poem-power.

–Frances Ridley Havergal from MEMORIALS


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