‘Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.’ Isaiah 6:8
Suggested Further Reading: Romans 15:14–21
Ask any man whether he is a Christian against his will, and he will tell you certainly not, for he loves the Lord, and delights in his law after the inward man. Thy people are not led unwillingly to thee in chains, O Jesus, but ‘Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power.’ We willingly choose Christ, because he has from of old chosen us. In the matter of holy work, every man who becomes a worker for Jesus is so because he was chosen to work for him; but he would be a very poor worker if he himself had not chosen to work for Jesus. I can say that I believe God ordained me to preach the gospel, and that I preach it by his will, but I am sure I preach it with my own; for it is to me the most delightful work in all the world, and if I could exchange with an emperor, I would not consent to be so lowered. To preach the gospel of Jesus Christ is one of the sweetest and noblest employments, and even an angel might desire to be engaged in it. The true worker for God must be impelled by divine election, but yet he must make and will make, by divine grace, his own election of his work. Here are the persons wanted. Are there not many such persons here who feel ‘God has chosen me to do something for him; woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel’? but who, on the other hand, can testify, ‘I choose the work too. For Christ’s sake, whether it be teaching in the Sunday school, or tract distributing, or talking to ones or twos, or whatever it may be, my God, I choose the vocation; help me to follow it heartily, for it is my delight to do thy will, O my God.’ Here is the divine side then, the man is chosen; but there is also the human side, the man is led to choose the engagement for himself.
For meditation: We tend to assume that God’s will must be diametrically opposed to our wills and that we can only do it grudgingly. But God can so transform our thinking that his will becomes ‘good, and acceptable, and perfect’ (Romans 12:2), our delight (Psalm 40:8) and joy (Romans 15:32).
Sermon no. 687
22 April (1866)