The Way of Success

A sermonette to preachers.

J.L. Shuler

In this day of increased knowledge there are multiplied avenues for study and investigation. Some things are more important to know than others, but when God bids Its know that a thing is true, it becomes most impor­tant to heed and understand such truth.

 

One of the great eternal facts which Jehovah commands us to know, is this: " Know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself." Ps. 4:3. Whatever the branch of God's work in which we are engaged, we need to know that the Lord has set us apart for that work. The worker who has this inner evidence of God's call to him, will throw his whole life and heart and energies into the work, and will never forsake the work for any other calling.

But we are to know not only the fact that God sets men apart for a special work, but note the kind of per­son set apart,—" him that is godly." The text does not say that the Lord sets apart the man with an eloquent tongue, a keen intellect, a pleasing per­sonality, a fine education, or a high degree. While all these things are helpful, useful, and desirable, yet the one thing altogether essential in the sight of God is godliness. " The meas­ure of capacity or learning is of far less consequence than is the spirit with which you engage in the work. It is not great and learned men that the ministry needs; it is not eloquent ser­monizers. . . . The Lord has need of men of intense spiritual life."—" Gos­pel Workers," pp. 63, 64.

In this day of formalism, lukewarm­ness, and apostasy, men. of intense spiritual life are needed as never be­fore, and it is only such men who can really 'answer the call of the hour. Men in former times, who were used by God in a powerful way, such as Moses, Joshua, Peter, Paul, Luther, and Wesley, were godly men; and thus it will always be. Success in the work of God depends more largely on the degree of consecration than upon nat­ural or acquired endowments. Thus we read: " Human effort will be effi­cient in the work of God just accord­ing to the consecrated devotion of the worker."—" Ministry of Healing," p. 37. " Success will be proportionate to the degree of consecration and self-sac­rifice in which his work is done, rather than to either natural or acquired en­dowments."—" Gospel Workers," p. 70. Nothing could more plainly state the way or degree of success to be attained, for it js based on the degree of con­secration and self-sacrifice which is made.

Our knowledge is not only to com­prehend that the Lord sets apart the godly, but the purpose for 'which he is set apart: " Know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for Himself." Not set apart for the pur­pose of seeking One's own ease, for­tune, or fame; not to please ourselves; but to give. ourselves entirely over to Him, to do His will and finish His work. Wonderful are the opportunities for service which abound on every side for the one thus set apart; in fact, " there is no limit to the usefulness of one who, putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart, and lives a life wholly consecrated to God."—" Ministry of Healing," p. 158.

The man who is set apart for Heaven's service by God Himself is also divinely sent forth on his mission. One of the greatest things that can be said of any worker in God's cause is that brief sentence used by the be­loved disciple to introduce the work of John the Baptist: " There was a man sent from God, whose name was John." John 1:6. One of the all-important things about a preacher is that he be sent of God. How can a man speak for God, win men to God, and repre­sent God as His ambassador, except he be sent by God? A man may be an eloquent orator, an interesting and forceful speaker, and an entertaining talker, without any special unction from above; but he cannot be a mes­senger for God unless he is sent by God.

The minister who is truly set apart by God and sent by God, will achieve true success, for there is no failure with God. The difference between be­ing a true success and a misfit or fail­ure, depends upon being .set apart by the Lord, or being set apart by the wish of parents, friends, or schools of theology.

Brevard, N. C.

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