Brethren Archive

Serving Our Generation

by Inglis Fleming

Of David it is written that “after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers” (Acts 13:36). Other translations of the passage have:

1. “David after having been useful to his generation in accordance with God’s purpose, did fall asleep.”

2. “David after serving God’s purpose in his own generation died.”

3. “David. . . served by the will of God.”

4. “David. . . serving God’s purpose.”

5. “David. . . useful. . . in accordance with God’s purpose.”

6. “David. . . having ministered according to the counsel of God.”

7. “David—ministered to the will of God.”

These various renderings amount to much the same in effect, but a casual reader of the authorised version may miss the meaning. Thus the differing wordings may awaken interest.

If our Lord still tarries on high what can anyone do more than the psalmist of Israel did?

We have not his gift, but each one of us has a mission to perform. “To every man his work” (Mark 13:34). “To every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ” (Eph. 4:7).

High honour is this! To serve God’s purpose in our little sphere. To be useful to those around us in accordance with the pleasure and will of God. To minister to others as our gracious God counsels us. This is privilege indeed!

That we the redeemed to God should be able to glorify God in our bodies and accord with His thought for us while in the world is wonderful favour. And yet by the power of the Holy Spirit it is a glorious possibility.

Our Lord could say “I delight to do Thy will (Thy good pleasure) O my God” (Ps. 40:8). Of the angels it is written “Bless the Lord, all ye His hosts; ye ministers of His that do His (good) pleasure” (Ps. 103:21).

Shall we not cry “Teach me to do Thy will (Thy good pleasure) for Thou art my God” (Ps. 143:10)? Then shall we be empowered to serve our generation aright.


S.T. 1937

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