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Written by F.A.Chick   

The Gospel Messenger -- January 1887

And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap if we faint not.--Gal., vi, 9.

Some reflections are in my mind concerning the above words, that have seemed pleasant and profitable to me, and I feel a desire to pen them down for the readers of the MESSENGER. We are all desirous of seeing some fruits of our labor, whatever the work may be in which we are engaged. And if no fruit appears we are apt to become discouraged. It is so with those who labor in the vineyard of the Lord. Whatever place we may fill whatever service we may be rendering--we all like to see some result. If no result appears we soon begin to question and feel anxious, and to doubt our usefulness, and the utility of what we are doing. This is true of every servant of the Lord, but I think it is specially true of those who are called to give their whole life to the work of the ministry; to reprove and exhort and rebuke, and to feed the flock of God. We want to see fruit. And we have a right to expect fruit. But we may expect it too soon, or in ways that would not glorify God, or be good for us, arid so we are disappointed. Then comes seasons of depression, when we are ready to faint and give up alt, and conclude that our ministry is of no use; that we have mistaken our field of labor; or that we were never called to this work. Now, to us all, ministers and members, the language of the verse quoted at the head of this letter, comes as a word of kindly promise of warning and admonition, all in one. It says: " Let us not be weary in well doing; for in due time we shall reap if we faint not." What a striking figure the apostle uses in the word "reap" in the text! Suppose one who knew nothing of the process of the germination and growth of plants from the seed, should be told that a certain seed would produce, if cast into the ground, bread for the use of man. He casts the seed into the ground, but days pass and he reaps no fruit. He becomes discouraged and faint in his mind. He ceases to expect fruit; he ceases to watch for it; and when the fruit appears, it does not gladden his heart and he does not reap it, because he has quit expecting fruit, and does not know there is any. This is the thought of the text. On the other hand, here is one who has long patience; he expects fruit; he ceases not to watch for it, though it be long delayed; he is not weary in well doing; he does not become faint, he sows the seed and trusts the Lord to give the harvest when the proper season shall come. He reaps the fruit, for he has continued to sow; he is in the field where the fruit ripens and when it ripens. The words are encouraging and true, and have been fulfilled again and again. How many times has our doubting and our unbelief been rebuked when we were beginning to be weary in well doing, and were getting ready, as it were, to fall out of the ranks. How often, at such times, our God has shown us a little fruit of our labor, and we have been strengthened and helped to still hold on our way. This, I think, is the general meaning of the text. And it is thus seen to be in full harmony with such expressions as these: "In the morning sow thy seed, and in the evening withhold not thy hand," etc., and "Cast thy bread upon the waters, and after many days thou shall find it again."

I feel like standing as a witness to the truth of these promises, and I had it in mind to narrate an incident in my own life, in order to show how our Father above fulfills his own words and does not let them return to him void. And when he gives us to see his promises fulfilled, how it rejoices our hearts! How good it is to think that all his word is fulfilled; both that which he gives us to see, and that which we cannot trace. By now and then showing us a promise fulfilled, he would lead us to believe that all are or shall be fulfilled. If he permits us to reap once where we have sown the seed, he means us to understand the harvest shall never fail, whether our eyes behold it or not. Thus was my mind led to believe by the instance, which I will now narrate.

I had been in the habit of visiting, once or twice a year, and preaching in Frederick county, Md., at a place about twenty-five miles from my home, where a few Old School Baptist friends live. I had gone from time to time, hoping that there were some who loved the truth, and who took pleasure in hearing it. I also hoped that I might, at some future time, see some good results from these visits. One year ago, in November, I visited and preached two evenings in this place. But everything seemed discouraging to me. Even those, for whom I had a good hope, seemed very cold and farther away than I ever knew them to be. I could not feel that the spirit of the Lord was with us. I came home with the question in my mind, of what use have all my visits there been? I felt as though they had been of no use. I was heartsick and discouraged. I thought that I had been sowing in vain. The Lord had not given me one soul for my hire; I had better cease going there. I was greatly troubled. But now for the result: About this time I received a letter from a lady in that county whose name was not familiar to me; so unfamiliar was it that it required considerable thought before I could locate the writer in my mind. She said that she had fallen into deep trouble of mind a few days Before; that she felt herself to be such a sinner, and knew not where to turn nor what to do. She said that while she had always respected religion, and had been accustomed to saying her prayers, she had never known her sins until a few days previous. Those around her (she was at the time teaching, and was boarding in the family of a Methodist minister) did not understand her, though they seemed anxious to do her good. "And now," she said, "I heard you preach some years ago, and my mind is led to you. Can you tell me anything to comfort me? Is there any hope that God will forgive such a sinner as I?" To this letter, so full of bitterness and sorrow, I could only reply by presenting Jesus as the Saviour of the very chief of sinners. In a few days another letter came, thanking me for my kindness, but still expressing the utmost despair. While I knew that it was not in me to give her peace where the Lord had given her trouble, yet I felt to reply at once and tell her a portion of my own experience. About three days later I received a reply asking me to join her in praising God for his great work in her behalf. The God of Salvation had appeared to her gloriously one night upon her bed, and she knew him for her Saviour. I did rejoice over her with great gladness of heart. After this she began in her letters to inquire about doctrine, and what Primitive Baptists believed, honestly telling me when things were clear to her mind, and when they did not so appear. My confidence in and fellowship for her grew continually. At last I wrote to her that it was so, and asked her to come and visit me, and go with me to Black Rock and get acquainted with the brethren there. She came on the first of February under circumstances of peculiar trial. Her faith and love were tested more than is usual. She herself is very frail and weak--hardly ever seeing a well day; the snow lay drifted all over the country, in places from six to ten feet in depth. She had five miles to go to reach the cars and forty miles on them to my place, and then eight miles to drive with me to Black Rock, with the snow so deep that we were three hours going eight miles. She was a total stranger to the whole church, and had seen me but twice, and could hardly call herself acquainted with me. Yet she came, spite of all these discouragements; and in the midst of the cold, and ice, and snow, went down into the watery grave and arose to newness of life. After she returned to her home she wrote: "I have made the journey that seemed so hard; I have done what I felt was my duty to do; I have returned to my home, and not a hair of my head is hurt." "I will glory in the Lord who has strengthened me." Again she wrote: "How I love that people that received me so kindly and loved me so freely." I have not tried to tell of the precious conversations, of the contents of her many letters, because time and space would fail. She is still rejoicing in the Lord and praising his name.

And did not I feel rebuked at the Lord's goodness to me for all my unbelief and fainting by the way? Here was fruit where I had said, "there is no fruit." I felt to say let me not be weary in well doing again, for the reaping time will come, if not to me personally, then to some one else. I felt humbled and yet exalted. I saw more clearly than ever that I was nothing, but Jesus was all and is all. I was abased in myself, but I was exalted in Jesus.

I have told this instance of the Lord's power and goodness, hoping to encourage some dear brother who is disheartened and weary. It is true "we shall reap in due season." Oh, for more of a spirit of humble reliance upon God, so that we may toil with the patience of the ox and the boldness of a lion!

I remain, as ever, your brother in hope of life eternal.


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