He was not mentioned by name in the Conference Notes. Some had been signalled out for special remark. The subjects of their addresses were given, and a few of their observations also. But he was referred to only among, “Others also took part.”
This pained him deeply, for what he had said had appeared to him as being the crowning ministry of the Conference. And for it to have no particular mention was certainly distressing. He did not know whether he would go again to such a meeting. Was it worth while to spend his time, and only obtain scant recognition among “others also?”
Does anything show what the “flesh” in the Christian is, like “the iniquity of the holy things?”—the things connected with the service of the sanctuary (Ex. 28:38). “The plague of his own heart” (1 Ki. 8:28), reveals itself to the believer in such matters. He learns that “the flesh profiteth nothing.” The love of honour, the desire for praise, the effort to be “appreciated,” the endeavour to eclipse, the slighting remark about the ministry of fellow servants, the depreciation of the converts through the ministry of more “successful workers,” and the claiming of our own “results” as being of the choicest character, spiritual giants indeed, while the rest are after all, even if more numerous, only dwarfs. All these things show the subtle working of the “flesh.”
The thoughts, “I did that well,” “I spoke with power,” “I expressed myself so suitably,” “I prayed very nicely,” “I gave thanks with great freedom,” “I made good points in my address”—“I” this and “I” that—what do they all mean? Simply this, that self is uppermost even in what we may judge to be the holy things of our God. And with Him “a high look and a proud heart . . . is sin.”
If we live in the Ramah of privilege we need to visit the Gilgal of self-judgment regularly.
“With Clement also, and with other my fellow-labourers, whose names are in the book of life” (Phil. 4:3).
The record of all believers is on high. The names in the Book of Life, enregistered there by the hand of love, tell of His care for every one. Prominent or obscure here, what matters it if one may be agreeable to Him who has declared that “a cup of water” given to one because he belongs to Christ shall not lose its reward. He is righteous to forget every one of our sins because of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. He is not unrighteous to forget the least item of our service done for His name’s sake, though He Himself supplied the power and grace for the performance thereof (see Heb. 10:17; 6:10).
Happy indeed are we if we may be classed with “other my fellow-labourers,” in the ministry of the Word, or in the spread of the glad tidings of God’s grace. “Rejoice not,” said our Lord, our Master, to His apostles, “that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven.”
“And many others which ministered unto Him of their substance” (Luke 8:3).
No! Their names are not given in the inspired account. It was not necessary or profitable for us to know them. He knows them all. He forgets not one of them, nor the least bit of the ministry to Him which they carried out. The “book of remembrance” will unfold all in a future day—the day when every man shall have his praise of God and when each shall receive “according to his own labour.”
The “book of life” and the “book of remembrance” are sufficient. We may not be on the roll of fame of the world. We may not be mentioned with approbation in the Christian magazine. But if,
“The Master praises,
What are men?”
Let us go on unknown or well known here. Let us seek to be “diligent in” our Lord’s “business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord,” and ever seeking the honour which cometh from God only.
If we do aught to be seen of men, or to gain their praise or applause, verily we have our reward now and there will be little or nothing left for “that day.”
“To serve unseen; to work unnoticed.
This is true greatness.”
Help and Food 1928