A while ago I was talking with a Christian merchant
who expressed a great and important truth. He said:
"People are crying to God to use them, but He cannot.
They are not given up to Him; they are not humble and teachable and
holy. There are plenty of people who come to me and want work in my
store, but I cannot use them; they are not fit for my work. When I must
have someone, I have to go and advertise, and sometimes spend days in
trying to find a man who will fit into the place I want him for, and
then I have to try him and prove him to know whether he will suit me or
The fact is, God is using everybody that He can, and
using them to the full extent of their fitness for His service. So,
instead of praying so much to be used, people should search themselves
to know whether they are usable.
God cannot use anybody and everybody who comes along
any more than the merchant could. It is only those who are "sanctified,
and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work" (2
Tim. ii. 21) that He can bless with great usefulness.
God wants men and women, and He is hunting for them
everywhere; but, like the merchant, He has to pass by hundreds before
He finds the right individuals. The Bible says: "The eyes of the Lord
run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to shew Himself strong in
the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him" (2 Chron. xvi.
Oh, how God wants to use you! But before you ask Him
again to do so, see to it that your heart is "perfect toward Him." Then
you may depend upon it that God will show Himself strong in your
behalf. Glory to His dear, dear name!
When God searches for a man to work in His vineyard He
does not ask, "Has he great natural abilities? Is he thoroughly
educated? Is he a fine singer? Is he eloquent in prayer? Can he talk
But, rather, He asks, "Is his heart perfect toward Me?
Is he holy? Does he love much? Is he willing to walk by faith, and not
by sight? Does he love Me so much and has he such childlike confidence
in My love for him that he can trust Me to use him when he doesn't see
any sign that I am using him? Will he be weary and faint when I correct
him and try to fit him for greater usefulness? Or will he, like Job,
cry out, 'Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him'? (Job xiii. 15).
Does he search My word, and 'meditate therein day and night,' in order
to 'do according to all that is written therein'? (Joshua i. . Does he
wait on Me for My counsel and seek in everything to be led by My
Spirit? Or is he stubborn and self-willed, like the horse and the mule,
which have to be held in with bit and bridle (Ps. xxxii. 9), so that I
cannot 'guide him with Mine eye'? (Ps. xxxii. . Is he a man-pleaser and
a time-server, or is he willing to wait for his reward, and does he
seek solely for 'the honour that cometh from God only'? Does he 'preach
the word' and is he 'instant in season, out of season'? (2 Tim. iv. 2).
Is he meek and lowly in heart and humble?"
When God finds such a man, He will use him. God and
that man will have such a friendly understanding with each other, and
such mutual sympathy and love and confidence that they will at once
become "workers together "(2 Cor. vi. 1).
Paul was such a man, and the more they whipped him and
stoned him and tried to rid the earth of him, the more God used him. At
last they shut him up in prison, but Paul declared with unshaken faith,
"I suffer trouble as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God
is not bound" (2 Tim. ii. 9); and so he spoke God's word, and neither
devils nor men could put shackles on it, but it pierced right through
the prison walls, and flew across oceans and continents and down
through the long centuries, bearing the glorious tidings of the blessed
Gospel; overthrowing thrones and kingdoms and powers of evil, and
everywhere bringing light and comfort and salvation to dark, troubled,
sinful hearts. Though more than eighteen hundred years have passed
since they cut off Paul's head and thought they had done with him for
ever, yet his usefulness increases and his mighty words and works are
today bearing such fruit to the good of men and the glory of God as
passes the comprehension of an archangel.
Oh, how surprised Paul will be when he receives his
final reward at the general judgment day, and enters into possession of
all the treasures he has laid up in Heaven and the everlasting
inheritance prepared for him!
Poor, troubled soul, cheer up! Be of good courage! You
think you are useless, but you do not know. Trust God!
Paul saw dark days. He wrote to Timothy one day and
said, "This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned
away from me" (2 Tim. i. 15). Study his life in the Acts and the
Epistles, and see what conflicts and discouragements he had, and take
Jesus said, "He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture
hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But
this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should
receive ..." (John vii. 38, 39).
See to it that you are a believer. See to it that you
are "filled with the Spirit," and Jesus will see to it that out of your
life shall flow rivers of holy influence and power to bless the world;
and you, too, will be surprised, at the reckoning day, to behold the
vastness of your reward as compared with the littleness of your
sacrifices and your work.