A Word of Exhortation and Encouragement

Would you have much joy and peace in believing? Try to do all the good you can in the world. There is always much to be done, and few to do it. There are always many living and dying in ignorance and sin, and no one goes near them, and tries to save their souls. We live in days when there is much talk about High Churchism, and Low Churchism, and Broad Churchism, and Ritualism, and Rationalism, and Scepticism, but little real Christian work done to mend the evils of the times! If all the Communicants in all our churches laid themselves out to go among those who are without God in the world, with the Bible in their hands, and Christlike loving sympathy in their hearts, they would soon be far happier than they are now, and the face of society would soon be changed. Idleness is one great cause of the low spirits of which so many complain. Too many, far too many Christians, seem quite content to go to heaven alone, and to care nothing about bringing others into the kingdom of God.

If you try to do good in the right way, you never need doubt that good will be done. Many a Sunday-school teacher comes home on Sunday night with a heavy heart and fancies that his or her labour is all in vain. Many a visitor returns from his rounds, and things he is producing no effect. Many a minister comes down from his pulpit desponding and cast down, imagining that his preaching is to no purpose. But all this is disgraceful unbelief. There is often far more going on in hearts and consciences than we see. “He that goeth forth weeping, but sowing precious seed, shall come again with joy at the last day, and bring his sheaves with him” (Ps. 126:6). There are more being converted and saved than we suppose. “Many shall sit down in the kingdom of heaven” whom we never expected to see there when we died. Let us read on, and pray on, and visit on, and speak on, and tell of Christ to every one whom we can get at. If we are only “stedfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,” we shall find, to our amazement, that our labour was not in vain in the Lord (1 Cor. 15:58).

– J.C. Ryle, The Upper Room, pp. 252-253.

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