When one has given a glimmer of the tremendous difference between having Christ and being without Christ ; when one gets but one shuddering glimpse of what eternity is, and of what it must mean, as well as what it may mean, without Christ ; when one gets but a flash of realization of the tremendous fact that all these neighbours of ours, rich and poor alike, will have to spend that eternity either with Him or without Him,–it is hard, very hard indeed, to understand how a man or woman can believe these things at all, and make no effort for anything beyond the temporal elevation of those around, sometimes not even beyond their amusements ! ‘People must have entertainment,’ they urge. I do not find that must in the Bible, but I do find, ‘We must all stand before the judgment seat of Christ.” And if you have any sort of belief in that, how can you care to use those lips of yours, which might be a fountain of life to the dying souls before you, merely to ‘entertain’ them at your penny reading or other entertainment ? As you sow, so you reap. The amusing paper is read, or the lively ballad recited, or the popular song sung, and you reap your harvest of laughter or applause, and of complacence at your success in ‘entertaining’ the people. And there it ends, when you might have sown words from which you and they should reap fruit unto life eternal. Is this worthy work for one who has been bought with such a price that he must say,
‘Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all’ ?
So far from yielding ‘all’ to that rightful demand of amazing love, he does not even yield the fruit of his lips to it, much less the lips themselves. I cannot refrain from adding, that even this lower aim of ‘entertaining’ is by no means so appreciated as is supposed. As a cottager of no more than average sense and intelligence remarked, ‘it was all so trifling at the reading ; I wish gentlefolks would believe that poor people like something better than what’s just to make them laugh.’ After all, nothing really pays like direct, straightforward, uncompromising words about God and His works and word. Nothing else ever made a man say, as a poor Irishman did when he heard the Good News for the first time, ‘Thank ye, sir ; you’ve taken the hunger off us to-day !’
Frances Ridley Havergal from KEPT FOR THE MASTER’S USE