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    December 30, 1902

    “The Model Religious Life” The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald 79, 52.


    E. J. Waggoner

    Every reader naturally exclaims at once, “That is the life of Christ, of course,” and then as naturally begins, consciously or unconsciously, to put a wide gulf between himself and Christ, assuring himself that nobody can live such a life on this earth as Christ lived. The life of Christ is indeed regarded by most people as a model to be set up on a pedestal, and looked at and admired from a distance, rather than to be lived every day. This is part of the legacy that we have received from the Church of Rome, which has represented Christ as so far removed from human sympathies that no human mortal can presume to come directly to him, or expect to receive anything from Him except through the intercession of Mary or the glorified saints. This sentiment, so deeply imbedded in the mind, is one of the last Papal fetters to be thrown off.ARSH December 30, 1902, page 11.1

    But Christ himself, who calls us to learn of him, always identifies himself with us, by the term Son of man, which he so much loved, and says, “I am meek and lowly in heart.” He is the living representative of God the Father, who says: “I dwell in the high and holy place with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit.” Isaiah 57:15. And He has also made the way very simple and plain for us, by setting specially before us as the model, not the man skilled in meeting the sophistries of the scribes and doctors of the law, but the little child subject to its parents.ARSH December 30, 1902, page 11.2

    “And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set Him in the midst of them, and said, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 18:2-4.ARSH December 30, 1902, page 11.3

    What do we know of the life of Jesus? Only this: “And he went down with them [Joseph and Mary], and was subject unto them.” Luke 2:51. That is the whole, and it is enough. It shows the little child always ready to run errands or to render such household service as tender hands could perform; the child whose ear was quick to catch the first sound of the call to duty, and whose highest pleasure was found in being useful. That is the religion of childhood, and it is the religion for the mature man as well.ARSH December 30, 1902, page 11.4

    This was the religion of the child Samuel. “Samuel ministered before the Lord, being a child.” “And the child Samuel ministered unto [served] the Lord before Eli.” What did he do?-Just what a little child could do, and nothing more. He was not a priest, he could not enter into the holy place and offer incense. But he could wait on the priest. We read that after God had called him and spoken to him by night he “lay until the morning, and opened the doors of the house of the Lord.” There we get a glimpse of him at his daily service. His work was to make himself generally useful, no matter how lowly the task; and in the faithful discharge of those humble duties he was ministering unto the Lord.ARSH December 30, 1902, page 11.5

    It is not what is done, but how it is done, that determines whether or not one is ministering unto the Lord. The person who slights his task, or performs it unwillingly, wishing that his work were something “more honorable,”-something that would attract more attention, or command greater pecuniary reward,-is not serving the Lord, no matter what nor where his work may be, even though it be in the temple itself. For that person is not a free man, but a slave; and God has no slaves in His employ. All God’s servants are free; they are kings. God is King of kings, and he has no one in His service or in His kingdom of lower rank than king. Therefore every one who is the servant of the Lord is master of his work, and never allows it or circumstances to master him.ARSH December 30, 1902, page 11.6

    Servants, no matter how menial their service, are to obey orders “in singleness of heart,” as under Christ; “not with eye-service, as men-pleasers; but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men.” Ephesians 6:5-7. “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men.” Colossians 3:23. This was the characteristic of Jesus, who said, “I delight to do Thy will, O my God” (Psalm 40:8), and He was doing God’s will just as much when He was assisting Mary in her household tasks, or Joseph in the carpenter’s shop, as when he was preaching to the multitudes, and healing the sick. The first was the preparation for the last.ARSH December 30, 1902, page 11.7

    Elisha was a prophet of the Lord, performing many wonderful miracles, yet for years he was but a servant, and “poured water on the hands of Elijah.” 2 Kings 3:11. That was his “training for the ministry;” for how can one train for any calling better than in the exercise of that calling? and that lowly service, done willingly from the heart, was the true ministry. Elijah never served the Lord better than when he waited on Elijah.ARSH December 30, 1902, page 11.8

    So it was when Samuel was doing his childish tasks with a faithful, willing spirit, that he was called to the highest service that could be given to a man-that of bearing a message from God to the high priest of God. Yet the service was in reality no higher than the other.ARSH December 30, 1902, page 11.9

    What sweet simplicity is seen in the child Samuel! Prompt to answer every call, he rose from his bed without hesitation, time after time, to wait upon the aged Eli, who he supposed was needing assistance. Then, with the artlessness and graceful trust of childhood, he followed Eli’s instructions, and said, when he heard the voice “Speak, for Thy servant heareth.” Yes, he heard, because he was alert to hear, like the angels that excel in strength, that “do his commandments, harkening unto the voice of his word.” In that is summed up the perfect Christian life. How many there are who missed “the high calling of God in Christ Jesus,” simply because they despise the day of small things. “Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not;” for “with all lowliness wisdom.”ARSH December 30, 1902, page 11.10

    “Oh, give me Samuel’s ear-
    The open ear, O Lord!
    Alive and quick to hear
    Each whisper of Thy word;
    Like him to answer at Thy call,
    And to obey Thee first of all.
    ARSH December 30, 1902, page 11.11

    “Oh, give me Samuel’s heart!-
    A lowly heart that waits
    When in Thy house Thou art;
    Or watches at Thy gates.
    By day and night a heart that still
    Moves at the breathing of Thy will.”
    ARSH December 30, 1902, page 11.12

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