“Workers Together with God” The Medical Missionary 14, 6.
Of whom is this true? How many are included in this statement?-Evidently only those who have yielded themselves to God as his servants. For while God’s will is surely being worked out, even by the haters of God, it is done in spite of them, and not with their will. They are constantly working against God; but He makes even the wrath of men to praise Him, and so that which was intended to be detrimental to his work in reality advances it: “for we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” However, the good that God works with men’s efforts against him is of course not their work: and only those who in their hearts desire God’s work to prosper can be called workers with him.MEDM June 1905, page 164.2
The term, “the work of God,” is used so frequently, and it is so common to speak of this or that man as engaged in the Lord’s work, that we are in danger of losing sight of the greatness of that work, and of in our minds reducing it to the measure of human ability. When we stop to think, it must be very evident that God’s work must be only such as is worthy of the Creator and King of the universe. God is great, and doeth great things. His work must be worthy of himself; and that part of it which might be considered least is infinitely beyond the capacity of man.MEDM June 1905, page 164.3
It is of the highest importance that we keep constantly before us the thought of the greatness and the extent of God’s work, although no human mind can comprehend it. Otherwise our efforts will be misdirected and feeble, and we at the same time will be vainly imagining that our work is of great consequence, as being God’s work, when it is in reality nothing. We need the constant stimulus and inspiration of the thought of the infinite greatness of the work in which God accepts us as partners, to keep us up to the highest point of efficiency.MEDM June 1905, page 164.4
Our idea of the greatness of God’s work will be enlarged if we consider its extent and its duration. Our ordinary thought is too narrow, and our range of vision too limited. We are too often content with looking only at the things that are visible, and of thus imagining that the work of God pertains to this earth alone. True, this earth is where we are, and it is where the work is so far as we are concerned in it: but the work here is but a small portion of God’s work, just as it is but a very small fragment of His universe. God’s kingdom is boundless in extent, and His work in the whole of it is undivided: one plan and one purpose runs through it all. Each person who is a worker together with God may not see more than that small portion of the work that is assigned to him; but each one ought ever to remember that he has countless millions of associates in heaven and in the numberless worlds, all employed on the same task. “Angels and principalities and powers” are working to the same end that every child of God on this earth is working; and our part of the work must be so well done that there will be no lack of harmony, nothing unsightly, no blot, in the finished product.MEDM June 1905, page 164.5
Still further, God’s work is eternal in duration. Not only will that which God does endure forever, but He will forever be working. As He “worketh hitherto,” so will He continue to work throughout eternity. God can never be idle. “The Word of God is living and energetic” (), and must always be in action. So when “this present evil world” shall have passed away, and the new earth “wherein dwelleth righteousness” shall have taken its place, the work of God will by no means be needed, and our partnership with Him in that work will not be dissolved. We singMEDM June 1905, page 165.1
so much that we fall into the habit of thinking that when the Lord comes all our work will cease, and that we shall spend eternity in sitting and singing; and this idea is to the detriment of our work now, for just to the extent that we lose the sense of the magnitude and glory of our work shall we lose the inspiration that is necessary to spur us to the highest effort.MEDM June 1905, page 165.3
It is true that the work of God in this world at present is to save lost men, and it is in this that we are workers with Him: but we must not imagine that we shall be out of employment when this work is accomplished. Perhaps a little illustration will help us to grasp the true idea. Here is a ship at sea. The machinery is not in motion, the sails are not filled, and it seems to be drifting aimlessly about. Looking around, we find the explanation. There has been an accident, and a lot of people are struggling in the water. The ship has stopped in its course, and will not go on until every soul that can be reached has been rescued. For the present, the ship with its entire crew has no other work than to rescue the perishing. But, when all have been brought on board will the sailors say, “Now our task is accomplished, and we can spend all our time henceforth sitting on deck and singing.” Not by any means. Rejoicing there will certainly be, but there will be no idleness. Now that the work of saving life has been completed, all hands will at once proceed to their regular places, and the ship will proceed on its course, in the work for which it was sent out. The crew was sent out with the ship to carry passengers and freight to a distant port; when the accident occurred everything had to give place to the saving of life; but as soon as that was done, the real work was resumed. So the attention of God and angels and men who serve God is now directed to the saving of the lost; but when that is done all will proceed with the great work of God, in which He has been engaged “from of old, from the days of eternity.” The sooner we finish the work of rescue and repair, the sooner can we be employed in the great work which, because of sin and death, has been temporarily interfered with so far as this world is concerned, but which is nevertheless being carried on.MEDM June 1905, page 165.4
Who is sufficient for these things? “It is God that girdeth me with strength, and maketh my way perfect.” Only God has the wisdom and skill and strength to do the work of God: and our work is nothing, and less than nothing, except as it is wrought in God. From him we are to learn what the work is, and how to do it. Jesus said, “I can of mine own self do nothing,” yet He also said, “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish His work.” The Son can do nothing of himself, but what He seeth the Father do; for what things soever He doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise. For the Father loveth the Son, and showeth Him all things that Himself doeth.” .MEDM June 1905, page 165.5
These words apply to us as well as to Christ for God has bestowed such love upon us that we should be called sons of God, and such we are. As children of God in the house of the Father (See ) our business is to look at the work of God, to watch Him at work, that we may learn how to work together with Him. Jesus said: “He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.” . God was grieved with the generation of Israel that saw His works for forty years, and yet did not learn His ways. He had a right to expect something of them after forty years’ apprenticeship; but they were failures. Moses learned God’s ways ( ), but the greater part of Israel saw His acts without profiting by the lesson.MEDM June 1905, page 166.1
As is the workman, so is the work. If the worker be not fitted and trained to his work, his efforts, even if he attempts the task, will be useless. The reason why so much poor and purposeless work is done is that we, not realizing that all real work is really God’s work, do not realize what we ought to be in all respects in order to have a part in it. Body, soul, and spirit must be employed together. The spirit may be willing, but if the weakness of the flesh is such that the will of the spirit can not be performed, we are but cripples to be carried, instead of workers together with God. God accepts the willingness of the spirit, but is certainly better pleased when the body is also “ready to every good work.” It is the Word of God alone that does the work, and we can do real, lasting work only as that Word, which is spirit and life, abides in us,-only as God’s will and God’s Spirit are our will and spirit-our life.MEDM June 1905, page 166.2
God’s work is done quietly, and only in quietness and confidence do we have strength. Great things are expected of us, but since with God nothing is impossible, so nothing is impossible to him that believeth; and with the accomplishment of the greatest and most glorious work boasting is excluded, because that work can be done only by one whose sense of his own weakness and inability to do anything forces him to depend wholly on God.MEDM June 1905, page 166.3
And what is the reward of labor here?-Increased ability, and the privilege of being trusted with more responsibility and a larger portion of work. And when will rest come? Just as soon as we are really and wholly engaged in God’s work; for that work is a perfect work, and perfect work gives perfect rest. This is the work of God, that we believe; and we who have believed do enter into rest, even the rest that has remained to the people of God since the foundation of the world. “Let us labor therefore to enter into that rest.”MEDM June 1905, page 166.4
“The natural creature labors, frets, and sweats.
But after Christ work turns to privilege,
And henceforth, one with our humanity,
The six-day Worker, working still in us,
Has called us freely to work on with him,
In high companionship. So, happiest.
I count that heaven itself is only work
To a sure issue.”
E. J. W.MEDM June 1905, page 166.5