a sermon delivered by Charles Spurgeon
1 Corinthians 7:29
II. “The time is short.” THIS SUGGESTS.
Do you know what reflection this fact suggested to me? “Surely, then,” I thought, “I have some opportunity to follow out the work of faith, the patience of hope, and the labor of love, though not the opportunity I once had.” Then, picturing to myself an ideal of a short life all used, nothing wasted, all consecrated, nothing profaned, I seemed to see a boy giving his young heart to Christ.
I saw the lad believing in Jesus while yet beneath his father’s roof, and under his mother’s care. No sooner saved than he began at once to serve God after a boy’s way, and still increasing in intelligence and energy as a stripling, and afterwards as a young man, from the first he devoted himself, with all the intensity of his being, to his Lord’s service.
So diligent and persevering was he that he lost no time. So jealously did he watch his own heart, and so far was he from falling into sin, that there were no dreary intervals spent in wandering and backsliding, and retracing his steps in repenting of the evil, in getting lukewarm, and then rekindling former ardor.
With my mind’s eye, I followed that young man living a holy life through a succession of years, getting up to the highest possible platform of spirituality, and keeping there, and all the while blessed with such abundance of the graces and gifts of the Spirit of God as should make him bring forth much fruit to the glory of the Father, do much for the honor of Jesus, prove a great blessing to the church, bear a rich testimony to the world, and diffuse saving benefits to the souls of men.
This was my ideal of a vessel “meet for the Master’s use.” I lingered lovingly upon it. The child became a man. His life was brief, it was soon over. Our days on earth are as a shadow, but happily they may be radiant and leave a trail of light behind them. Might not even God Himself look down, with a measure of admiration, from His eternal dwelling place on the career I have sketched? The slender threads of fleeting moments are worked up to the goodly fabric of a complete biography. Endowed with one talent—TIME—and that endowment sparse, the gift so prized as to be economized, so looked after that it is never squandered, so usefully employed that its judicious expenditure can never be vainly regretted, so profitably invested that the faithful steward welcomes the advent of his Lord, ready and anxious to give in his account. This is as I would wish to be.
Some of you, who are unconverted, can never hope to receive the greeting that awaits such a faithful servant of the Lord Jesus Christ. You have lost your golden opportunity, you have wasted your substance in riotous living. But are there not children here to whom this is possible, and youths who might convert my daydream into a narrative?
Oh for men and women with the ambition, and one enterprise, to glorify the Lord! Ardently do I desire that God should be glorified in me, and that not in a small measure. I have prayed, and I do pray Him to make the most He can make of me—to do it anyhow. What if, to this end, I must be cast into the furnace of affliction, and suffer for His sake? What if my honor should be trampled in the dust, and my name become a hissing and a by-word, and a reproach among the sons of men, while the witness of my integrity is on high? Here am I, O Lord, to do anything, to bear aught, that You shall bid! Only get as much glory to Your own name as can be got out of such a poor creature as I am.
Who will join me in this petition? Vows made in our own strength are vain, but I solemnly charge each Christian young man to foster this aspiration. In the name of Him who has redeemed you with His blood, gird up the loins of your mind, and survey the course you have to run. Prepare for the good fight of faith in which you are to engage. Live to the utmost possible consecration of your entire manhood in its triple nature—spirit, soul, and body. Yield yourself up unreservedly to the Lord Jesus Christ. Do not stop to parley. “The time is short,” therefore, “whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave whither thou goest.”