“I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming When no one can work”
When I was in elementary school, we had chapel each morning for 20 minutes. Often we sang the song “Work, for the Night Is Coming.”
Vividly I remember the songbook was thin, limp-bound and beige in color. (Today the song is number 377 in the Red Back hymnal).
The principal was C.W. Walley, a retired Methodist preacher, who was always in charge of chapel. One day during the closing prayer, I was letting Elsworth Davis smell a mothball, not knowing the principal followed the admonition to “watch and pray!”
After he had finished leading in prayer — and before the entire school — he said, “Clyne, why were you pulling Elsworth’s nose?”
“I wasn’t,” I replied. “Don’t you lie to me, boy; I was watching you.”
Then he had us come forward and used a switch on us while I held Elsworth’s nose. It was the most impressive lesson I ever had in school.
As stated, we often sang, “Work, for the Night Is Coming.” Speaking of work ... a list of employee regulations was posted by a New York carriage manufacturing company in 1872. There were seven rules, three of which read:
“Office employees each day will fill lamps, clean chimneys and trim wicks.
“Men employees will be given an evening off each week for courting purposes, or two evenings if they go to church regularly.
“The employee who has performed his labors faithfully and without fault for five years will be given an increase of $.05 per day in his pay.”
The good old days were not always so good.
Faithfulness in work is a noble quality. No one in the Scriptures demonstrated that more clearly than Noah. He faithfully worked on the Ark for not just 20 years nor 50 years, but 100 years — building something he had never seen, to float on a flood of which he had never heard.
But he kept on working. Instead of cheers, he got jeers; nobody understood his talk of a flood nor his predicting that animals would voluntarily come. No one encouraged him spiritually, except possibly his family. But he kept on working, and finally God vindicated him.
May God help us to buckle down and do the work assigned to us. The little two-chapter book of Haggai in the Bible was penned about 2,500 years ago, yet it comes to us and our day with a relevancy that is startling.
Among other admonitions, the little book emphasizes that God’s house has laid unfinished for 15 years while the people have built their own homes and ignored the work of God.
So the prophet proclaims, “Be strong ... declares the Lord and work, for I am with you” (Haggai 2:4). God didn’t say to be idle or just theorize, but work. We can hardly move a 100 yards, if we are alert, before we find some opportunity to build the kingdom by a ministry of helping others.
G. Campbell Morgan, the famous preacher of an earlier day, said: “I am appalled at the time we waste in considering things and theorizing about things. ... That least thing you are doing, apparently so unimportant, is of supreme importance when you place it in relation to the whole.”
Billy Graham believed: “Jesus worked all His life. But the greatest work that Jesus did was not in the carpenter’s shop. ... His greatest work was achieved in those three dark hours on Calvary ... dying for us.”
As we work for God our lives should be spent with the memory “You are the God that sees me” (Genesis 16:13), and we all should be able to say, “I have set the Lord always before me” (Psalm 16:8).
Since we work for God and not men, then we must also look to God for our reward and not to men.
The Bible promises: “You know the Lord will reward everyone for whatever good he does” (Ephesians 6:8).