Work For Jesus

   (No. 1338)




   "Son, go work today in My vineyard." Matthew 21:28.

   I AM not going to confine myself to the connection of these words, nor
   to use them strictly after the manner in which they were first spoken.
   I may, perhaps, explain the parable very briefly at the close, but I
   take leave to withdraw these words from their immediate context and use
   them as a voice which, I believe, sounds often in the ears of God's
   people, and sometimes sounds in vain--"Son, go work today in My
   vineyard." It is certain that God still speaks to us. He has spoken to
   us in His Word. There are His precepts and promises, His statutes and
   testimonies. He that has ears to hear let him hear these sacred

   But beside this open Revelation there are counsels and rebukes more
   closely and personally addressed to the conscience. Voices--as soft,
   sometimes, as whispers--at other times loud as the thunders that pealed
   from Sinai. The Lord has a way of speaking to men when, "He opens the
   ears of men and seals their instruction," as Elihu said. Thus He speaks
   when He calls them effectually by His Grace in conversion. So He once
   called, "Samuel, Samuel!" till the child answered. So He said,
   "Matthew, follow Me." So He called out, "Zacchaeus, come down!" So He
   cried out, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?" So He bid some of us
   till the Divine accents were clear and irresistible.

   In like manner we have, many of us, heard Him say, "Son, give Me Your
   heart," and we have given Him our hearts--we could not do otherwise.
   That voice exerted such a charming spell and swayed us with such a
   Divine power that we were subdued by it and we yielded our hearts to
   the God of Love. Since then, you who know the Lord, must often have
   heard a voice speaking to you and bidding you seek His face in prayer.
   Perhaps you have been busy with the world, but you found an impulse of
   a mysterious kind coming over you and you have been glad to withdraw
   yourself for a few minutes to the closet that you might speak with God.

   You know how it has been when you have been meditating alone and yet
   not alone. One whose Presence you knew, whose face you could not see,
   was with you! You felt as if you must pray. It has not been any effort
   on your part. The exercise has been as easy as to breathe and as
   pleasant as to partake of your daily bread. You felt the Lord drawing
   you to the Mercy Seat and saying in your soul, "My Son, ask what you
   will and it shall be done unto you." You must have been conscious of
   such a voice as that. And have you not, at times, in the silence of
   your mind, heard the Lord call you to a closer communion with Himself?
   Has not the sense, if not the words, of the spouse in the canticle been
   heard in your soul--"Come, My Beloved, let us see if the vines
   flourish. Come with Me from Lebanon, My Spouse, with Me from


   You have been up and away! You have gone into the secret places where
   Christ has shown you His love till you sat under His shadow with great
   delight--and His fruit has been sweet to your taste. Our experience
   makes us know that there are heavenly voices that invite prayer and
   call us to communion. And probably some of you have also been conscious
   of another voice which I earnestly desire we may all hear tonight,
   namely, the more martial and stirring call to service for the Lord
   Jesus Christ! Some of you have been obedient to the call these many
   years, but it calls louder and louder and louder still! You have been
   reaping and bearing the heat and burden of the day, but you cannot
   throw down your sickle, your hands cleave to it. Yes, rather do you
   take more gigantic strides and sweep down more of the precious corn at
   every stroke you take! You feel that you can never cease from it till
   you do--

   "Your body with your charge lay down, And cease at once to work and

   A voice Divine seems to be calling you and saying, "Follow Me, and I
   will make you a fisher of men. Behold I have made you a chosen vessel
   to bear My name unto the Gentiles." You have heard that voice and you
   are striving to obey it more and more. Others either have never heard
   it, or hearing it, have forgotten it. There are none so deaf as those

   will not hear! And there are some who have a very deaf ear to any
   admonitions of this kind. They are like Issachar--a strong donkey
   crouching down between two burdens, but yet lifting neither. I fear
   lest upon them should come the curse of Meroz, because they come not,
   "to the help of the Lord--to the help of the Lord against the mighty."

   Now, perhaps this evening there are some Christian men or women here
   that shall feel as if the hand of the Crucified were laid upon them and
   they will hear Him say to them," You are not your own. You are bought
   with a price. Why don't you glorify God in your bodies and in your
   spirits, which are His? Awake, you that sleep, and arise from the dead,
   and Christ shall give you light." The text, I hope, may be blessed of
   God to be such a voice as that! Listening to it, we notice four things.
   First, the character under which it calls us, "Son." Secondly, the
   service to which it calls us, "go work." Thirdly, the time for which it
   calls us, "go work today." And fourthly, the place to which it directs
   us, "go work today in My vineyard."

   I. First, then, THE CHARACTER UNDER WHICH IT CALLS US. It appears to me
   to be a very powerful selection of terms. "Son, go work today in My
   vineyard." It puts work on a very gracious footing, when we are bid to
   work for the Lord, not as slaves, nor as mere servants, but as sons!
   Moses speaks to us, and he says, "Servant, go and work for your wages."
   But the Father in Christ speaks to us, and He says, "Son, go work today
   in My vineyard." No more as a servant, but as a son, shall you serve
   the Lord! The returning prodigal said, "Make me as one of your hired
   servants." That was not an evangelical prayer and was not answered. The
   father said, "This, my son, was dead, and is alive again," and so he
   received him, not as a hired servant at all, but as a son.

   Oh, dear people of God, I trust you always draw the distinction very
   clearly between the Covenant of Works and the Covenant of Grace. When
   you work for God you do not work for life but from life. You do not try
   to serve Christ in order that you may be saved, but because you are
   saved! You do not obey His commands that you may become His children,
   but because you are His children and, therefore, are imitators of God
   as dear children! You say, "Abba, Father," because you feel the spirit
   of adoption within you and you endeavor to obey the commands of your
   Father for the same reason. I do not, therefore, say to anyone here,
   "Go and work for God that you may be saved." I would not venture to put
   it on that footing!

   "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." But turning
   to those who are saved, the Gospel exhortation is put after a Gospel
   sort--"Son, go work today in My vineyard." And it has all the more
   strength on this account, because, in addressing us as sons, it reminds
   us of the great love which has made us what we are. We were by nature
   heirs of wrath even as others, but, Beloved, "Behold, what manner of
   love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons
   of God." Think of the love which chose us when we were still aliens and
   enemies! Think of the love which adopted us and put us into the
   family--itself wondering while it did it--for the Lord is represented
   as saying, "How shall I put you among the children?" as if it were a
   strange thing that such as we are should ever be numbered among the
   children of God!

   The love which adopted us did not stay there, but having given us the
   rights of children, it gave us the nature of children! We were
   regenerated--"Begotten again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of
   Jesus Christ from the dead; born not of corruptible seed, but of
   incorruptible, by the Word of God which lives and abides forever." Now,
   just think of election, adoption, regeneration and when the Lord
   addresses you by that term of, "Son," think of all that and say, "I owe
   to God an immeasurable debt of gratitude for having enabled me to
   become His son! He, by His Grace, has given me power and privilege to
   become a child of God! Therefore do I feel the claims of obligation and
   I would endeavor to work in the vineyard because I am His child, His
   son, His daughter, made so by His Grace."

   This you see, dear Friends, engages us to work in the vineyard all the
   more convincingly, because we may reflect not only on the Grace which
   has made us sons, but on the privileges which that same Grace bestowed
   upon us in making us sons, for, if children of God, the Lord will
   provide for us, will clothe us, will heal us, will protect us, will
   guide us, will educate us, will make us meet to be partakers of the
   inheritance of the saints in light! Remember, too, that precious
   passage, "If children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with
   Christ, if, indeed, we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified

   If heirs of God, how large is our inheritance! And if joint-heirs with
   Christ, how sure that inheritance is! And we have been brought now,
   Beloved, to such an estate as this that the angels, themselves, might
   envy us, for I venture to apply a passage of Scripture to this case--I
   hope without wresting it--"Unto which of the angels said He at any

   You are My son?" But He speaks, thus, to us poor worms of the dust! And
   when He is bidding us serve Him, He comes to us under this character
   and addresses us in this relationship! He says, "Son, Daughter, go work
   today in My vineyard. I have given you boundless privileges in making
   you My child. I have given you this world and world to come. Earth is
   your lodge and Heaven your home. And therefore, because I have done all
   this for you--and what could I have done more for you than have made
   you My child?--therefore I say, Go, work today in My vineyard."

   In appealing, thus, to us under the name of Son, it is supposed that we
   have some feelings within us correspondent to the condition to which
   our heavenly Father has called us. He says, "Son." If any of you, being
   a son, has a father, and if that father wished you to do something for
   him, and he addressed you as, "my Son," you would feel, at once, that
   whatever you could do you were bound to do because you were a son! It
   would awaken in you the filial feeling which is swift at once to yield
   obedience and love.

   And when the Lord looks upon you, my Brothers and Sisters, and says to
   you "Son," or, "Daughter," it is supposed that there is, in your heart,
   a child's nature given, by His Grace, and that this filial instinct
   prompts the quick response, "My Father, what do You say to me? Speak,
   Lord, speak, Father, for Your son or daughter hears You. I long to do
   Your will. I delight in it, for to me it is the greatest joy I know
   that you are my Father and my God. Therefore, Lord, my heart stands
   ready now to listen to whatever You have to say, and my hand is ready
   to do it, as Your Grace shall enable me, only strengthen me in Your
   ways." "Son, Daughter, go work today in My vineyard."

   By the use of that term "son," it is supposed, also, that you have
   something of the qualification that will fit you to do what He bids
   you. A man who has a vineyard naturally supposes that his son knows
   something about vineyards. The boy will have learned something through
   his sire and you that know the Lord are the only people who can serve
   Him in His vineyard--that is to say, in winning souls for Christ none
   can do this but those who are won, themselves. If there is a lost child
   to be reclaimed, he shall be brought in by one of the children who has,
   himself, been found. Unto the wicked God says, "What have you to do to
   declare My statutes?" but to you who are His sons and daughters He
   entrusts the Gospel, putting you in trust with it that you may bear it
   to others and bring others to know and love His name.

   Oh, dear Friends, it must be a dreadful thing to be trying to save the
   souls of others while you, yourselves, are lost! And what an unhappy
   mortal must he be who has to preach the Gospel that he never knew--to
   tell of promises that he has never believed, and to preach a Christ in
   whom his soul has never trusted! But when the Lord speaks to you as His
   son and His daughter, the very fact that you stand in that relationship
   to Him proves that you have some qualification for the service and,
   therefore, dear Brother or Sister, you must not back out of it. You
   must not wrap your talent in a napkin, for you have got some talent in
   the very fact of being a child of God--a son or daughter of the Most

   Thus have I tried to open up the character to whom the Lord speaks, but
   I cannot do it so as to interest those who are not His people. But I do
   say this to those of you who are a people near to Him, to whom He
   stands as a Father, that this fact has strong claims upon you. If I am
   a father, where is my honor? If you are my children, where is your
   fear? If, indeed, the Lord has put you into His family, do you not owe
   to Him the obedience and the love of children? And what can be more
   natural that if there is household work to do--vineyard work to
   do--your Father should look to you to do it, and turn to you whom He
   has loved so long and loved so well, and say, "Son, Daughter, go work
   today in My vineyard"?

   II. Well, now, secondly, let us turn to the next point, and that is,
   Christians who do not like the word, "work," and they look very black
   in the face if you say anything about duty. As for the matter of that,
   I do not mind how black they look, because there are some people who
   very much expose their own disposition by black looks and sullen moods.
   And when they turn sour they only manifest what is in their own nature.
   He that quarrels with the precept, quarrels with God! Let him remember
   that. And he that does not like the practical part of Christianity may
   do what he likes with the doctrinal part of it, for he has neither part
   nor lot in this matter.

   The language of the true child of God is, "I delight myself in Your
   precepts." And, as David put it, "Your precepts have been my song in
   the house of my pilgrimage." He would even sing about the precepts of
   the Gospel! And now the text says, "Go work." That is something
   practical, something real! Go work. He does not say, "My Son, go and
   think and speculate, and make curious experiments, and fetch out some
   new doctrines and astonish all your fellow creatures with whims and
   oddities of your own." "My Son, go work." And He does not, here, say,
   "My Son, go and attend

   conferences, one after another all the year round and live in a
   perpetual maze of hearing different opinions and going from one public
   meeting and one religious engagement to another--and so feed yourself
   on the fat things full of marrow."

   All this is to be attended to in its proper proportion, but here it is,
   "Go work! Go work!" How many Christians there are that seem to read,
   "Go plan." And they always figure in a way with some wonderful plan for
   the conversion of all the world, but they are never found laboring to
   convert a baby--never having a good word to say to the tiniest child in
   the Sunday school! They are always scheming and yet never effecting
   anything. But the text says, "My Son, go work." Oh, yes, but those who
   do not like to work, themselves, display the greatness of their talents
   in finding fault with those who do work, and a very clear perception
   they have of the mistakes and the crotchets of the very best of
   workers, whose zeal and industry are, alike, unflagging.

   However, the text does not say, "My Son, go and criticize." What it
   distinctly says, is, "Go and work." I remember that when Andrew Fuller
   had a very severe lecture from some Scottish Baptist Brethren about the
   discipline of the Church, he made the reply, "You say that your
   discipline is so much better than ours. Very well, but discipline is
   meant to make good soldiers. Now, my soldiers fight better than yours
   and I think, therefore, you ought not to say much about my discipline."
   So the real thing is not to be forever calculating about modes of
   Church government and methods of management and plans to be adopted and
   rules to be laid down which it shall be accounted a serious breach to

   All well in their place, for order is good in its way. But come, now,
   let us go to work! Let us get something done! I believe the very best
   working for God is often done in a very irregular manner. I get more
   and more to feel like the old soldier of Waterloo when he was examined
   about the best garment that could be worn by a soldier. The Duke of
   Wellington said to him, "If you had to fight Waterloo over again how
   would you like to be dressed?" The answer was, "Please, Sir, I should
   like to be in my shirtsleeves." I think that is about the best! Get rid
   of everything superfluous and get at it and hack away!

   I would to God that some Christians could do that, just strip to it,
   get rid of the superfluities of orderliness and propriety--and
   everything else which hampers them in trying to get back poor souls.
   There they are, going down to Hell! And we are stickling about this
   mode, and that, and considering the best way not to do it--and
   appointing committees to consider and debate to adjourn and to
   postpone--and to leave the work in abeyance! The best way is to arise
   and do it! Let the committee sit afterwards. God grant we may. My son,
   go work today. Let it be something practical, something real, something
   actually done! And by good work is meant something that will involve
   effort, toil, earnestness, self-denial--perhaps something that will
   need perseverance.

   In right earnest you will need to stick to it. You will have heartily
   to yield yourself up to it and give up a good deal else that might
   hinder you in doing it. Oh, Christian men and women, you will not
   glorify God much unless you really put your strength into the ways of
   the Lord and throw your body, soul, and spirit--your entire manhood and
   womanhood--into the work of the Lord Jesus Christ! To do this you need
   not leave your families, or your shops, or your secular engagements.
   You can serve God in these things! They will often be vantage grounds
   of opportunity for you, but you must throw yourself into it!

   No one wins souls to Christ while they are half asleep! The battle that
   is to be fought for the Lord Jesus must be fought by men and women who
   are wide awake and quickened by the Spirit of God. "My Son, My
   Daughter, go work today." Do not go and play at teaching in Sunday
   schools. Do not go and play the preacher! Do not go and play at
   exhorting people at the corners of streets, or even play at giving away
   tracts. "My Son, go work." Throw your soul into it! If it is worth
   doing, it is worth doing well! And if it is worth doing well, it is
   worth doing better than you have ever done before! And even then it
   will be worth doing better, still, for when you have done your best you
   have still to reach forward to a something far beyond--for the best of
   the best is all too little for such a God and for such a service! "My
   Son, go work."

   Well, now, such a claim as this may, perhaps, you think, sound rather
   hard. But I could tell you of many who would be very glad, indeed, if
   the Lord would say that to them! I might tell you of some who seldom
   leave their couches! Some who can seldom sit upright through their
   weakness. Some to whom the nights are often full of pain and the days
   are spent in weariness. They have learned, by God's teaching, to be
   content to suffer--but sometimes they cannot stifle an ardent
   wish--they wish the Lord would let them serve Him! They do not envy,
   but yet there sometimes crosses over their

   mind the shadow of something like envy when they remember what
   opportunities some of you have, who are full of health and strength.

   I have seen my Brother minister laid aside, the voice, perhaps, gone,
   the lungs feeble, the heart prone to palpitate, and, oh, how he has
   wished that he could preach again! With what fervor has he said, "Oh,
   if I had but those opportunities over again, how I would try to use
   them better than when I was favored with them!" I tell you there are
   thousands of God's servants who would kiss the dust of His feet if He
   would only say to them, "Go work." I remember reading of a minister who
   had been laboring in America till he had fairly broken down. He had to
   take a tour for his health. He had not been away many days before he
   wrote in his diary, "There may be some ministers who count it a
   pleasure to be relieved from the duty of preaching, but I count it a
   misery. I would sooner preach as I have done in my own pulpit
   continually than I would see all the kingdoms of the world."

   And, indeed, there is no pleasure in the world like that of serving
   God! You will soon get tired if you have a vacation, but you will never
   get tired of a Divine vocation, though you may sometimes grow tired in
   it. Now, think that the Lord might have said to you, "Now, go and lie
   on that bed for 10 years. Go and pine away in consumption. I have
   nothing much for you to do. You have got to bear My will." Are you not
   glad that you are full of strength, or that you have some share of it,
   and that now your heavenly Father says, "Son, go work. I have given you
   strength. Go work"? Lord, we thank You for so kind and gentle a

   Besides, there is a great deal of honor in this work. You know how much
   your little boy wants to be a man. All boys do. When he first wears
   stick-up collars he congratulates himself upon the sign of anything
   like being a man. How proud he is of it! And if you, being a father,
   were to say to your boy, "My Son, you are now of such an age that I can
   trust you to do some work for me," see how the little man would begin
   to lift himself up! He is glad of it! And I am sure that if we look at
   it rightly, we who are the children of God ought to feel honored by our
   heavenly Father saying to us, "You may do something for Me."

   We must be very humble, for, after all, we cannot do anything except as
   He works in us to will and to do! But it is really very gratifying and
   ennobling to a poor mortal spirit to be allowed to do anything for God,
   yes, and to do what perfect saints above and holy angels cannot do, for
   oh, dear Brothers and Sisters, there is no glorified spirit that can go
   down that back street and up that blind alley, and up those staircases
   that seem as if they would tumble down under your feet! Go and talk to
   that dying woman about Christ! You have a privilege which honored
   Gabriel has not! Be thankful that you have it! There is no angel that
   can take that little child in the Sunday school class and tell it of
   "Gentle Jesus, meek and mild," and carry the little lamb for the Good

   The Lord sends you to do it. And it should be a point of thankfulness
   with us all that He has counted us worthy and put us into the
   ministry--into any part or parcel of that ministry--to do something for
   His name's sake. Well, we are always receiving--always receiving and it
   is very blessed--but still, in this, as in other things, it is more
   blessed to give than to receive! And when we can give back to God some
   little trifle of service, stained with our tears because it is no
   better than it is, oh, it is a happy and a blessed thing! How grateful
   you ought to be that the Lord says to you, "Son, go work today."

   And remember, once more, on this point, that the work to which the Lord
   calls us is very varied, therefore there is a great deal of change in
   it. And, besides that, it suits the different temperaments,
   constitutions, dispositions and abilities of His people. He says, "My
   Son, go work today in My vineyard." But He does not give you to do my
   work, and He does not give me to do your work. Dear Sister, you would
   like to do the work of such-and-such an excellent Christian woman,
   would you not? Yes, but that is naughty of you. Be satisfied to do your
   own! Suppose your housemaid always wanted to do the cook's work--the
   house would soon be in a mess! Better keep to your own place, dear

   Ah, there is a Brother here who says, "I think I could preach if I only
   had such-and-such a congregation." Very likely, Brother, but you had
   better preach to your own and do what good you can, there. Very likely
   I should do better with my own congregation and you will do better with
   yours than I could. Every man had better keep to his own work in his
   own place. And how thankful we ought to be that if one can preach a
   sermon, yet another can offer a prayer--that if one can go and speak to
   thousands--yet another can speak to ones and twos! There is work in the
   school. There is work in the family. There is work in the street. There
   is work in the workshop. There is work everywhere for Jesus if you will

   but stretch out your hands to find it and follow Solomon's good advice,
   "Whatever your hands find to do, do it with all your might."

   III. Now, THE TIME is the next thing. "My Son, go work today." That
   means directly--now. Brother, Sister, I will not say a word about what
   is your duty to do tomorrow. Let the morrow take care of itself. I will
   have nothing to say about what it will be right for you to do in 10
   years. If you are alive, Grace will be given to you for that. But what
   I have to say to you, in God's name is, "Go work today," and as the sun
   has gone down, let it be, "Go work tonight in My vineyard," if there is
   opportunity, even tonight, before another day's sun has dawned upon the
   world. "And why today?" Because, Brothers and Sisters, Your Father
   wants you to be at it at once.

   "Why do you stand here, all the day, idle?" If you have done nothing
   for Christ, you have wasted enough time. Do not rest today, but be at
   it now. He wants you to do it now because the vines are in a certain
   condition that require, just now, work. There is somebody in the world
   who is in a tender state of mind--to whom you may speak successfully.
   There is a mourner here who wants comfort tonight. There is one
   struggling against his conscience who needs urging on tonight in the
   right way. If the case is neglected, tonight, it will be like
   neglecting to trim the vines just at the proper time for taking away
   the superfluous wood.

   Now you can do it. You cannot do it on any other day. Therefore, "go
   work today." "Today," because there are certain dangers to which those
   whom you are about to bless are just now exposed. The devil is tempting
   them--it is necessary that you go and help them against that
   temptation. They are just now in despair. It is necessary that you step
   in with the Word of comfort from your Master's mouth. They are,
   perhaps, this very night, before they go to their rest, about to commit
   a great sin. Perhaps the Lord means you to interpose just now, before
   that sin is done. Son, Daughter, go work today--you are needed. There
   are very few laborers just now--many of them have gone. Son, Daughter,
   go today, while the others have gone out for their recreation--while
   the others are asleep and grown idle.

   There is a gap just now. It is at this very moment. Many a brave deed
   of valor owed its success to being done at once. If Horatius had not
   kept the bridge just in that same moment when the enemy endeavored to
   pass over, we should never have heard of him, nor of the brave deeds of
   old. There is a time of dearth--of need--there is an urgency. Son, God
   says to you, "Hasten, even now, and go work today in My vineyard."
   "Today." Mark that. It means work all day--work as long as you live!

   Son, if once you get into that vineyard, do not come home, again, until
   the day is done. I am always sorry when I hear of Christian people
   beginning to give up some of their work before the infirmities of old
   age come on. Although I think that many a minister, when he gets old,
   had better give up a charge for which he is not equal and take one
   smaller for which his strength would prevail. But I know that some give
   up this work and that, and they say, "Let the young people come and
   take their turn." Yes, yes, but suppose the sun were to stop shining
   and say, "There is a star over there. Let him have a turn and shine
   instead of me"?

   Suppose the moon were forever to give up shining in the night watches,
   and say that she has had enough of being out at night? And suppose the
   earth were to say it has had enough of yielding harvests? "Why should I
   yield any more? Let the sea take its turn and grow corn." And so, dear
   Christian Friends, keep on as long as you can! Who can blame dear old
   John Newton? When he got too feeble to get up the pulpit stairs of St.
   Mary Woolnoth, he was helped up and then, leaning on his pulpit Bible
   he poured out his soul. A friend of his said to him, "Dear Mr. Newton,
   don't you think you ought to give up preaching?" "What?" he asked,
   "shall the old African blasphemer ever give up praising the Grace of
   God as long as there is breath in his body? Never!"

   And so he went to his work again. Oh, for more of that spirit to
   persevere in the Master's service! Only there is this thought--it is
   only a day. "Son, go work today." It will only be a day. The longest
   life is no more and then the shadows of death will gather. But there
   will be no night, for instead, the day shall break and the shadows
   shall flee away--and then life's service, here below, will all be over.
   There will be no troublesome children to teach, no hard-hearted sinners
   to rebuke, no backsliding, lukewarm Christians to reprove, no deceivers
   to encounter, no skeptics to answer with the testimony that cannot be
   shaken, no scoffers to put up with, patiently bearing their contumely.

   It will be all over, then! And then shall those who have served their
   Master behold Him gird Himself and sit down and serve them--and they
   shall feast at His table and enter into His joy! "My Son, Daughter, go
   work today," for you

   shall rest tomorrow. Work on, for there is rest enough in Heaven! Work
   on, for eternity shall well repay you for the toils of time!

   go work today in My vineyard." I like to think of this special sphere
   of labor because it must be a pleasure to work in our Father's
   vineyard. For everything that we do there will be done for Him! I trim
   this vine--it is my Father's vine. I dig this trench--it is my Father's
   ground I turn. I gather out these stones--it is my Father's vineyard
   that I am engaged in clearing. I repair this fence--it is my Father's
   soil that I am thus hedging about. It is all done for Him! Who would
   not do all that he could for the dear Redeemer, dying Lamb and for the
   blessed Father of our spirits? "Go work today in My vineyard."

   Then what interesting work it is, for it is our own vineyard because it
   is our Father's vineyard! All that belongs to Him belongs to us. We are
   sons working in our Father's vineyard, so we can say, "This vine? Why,
   I have an interest in it, for I am the heir of my Father's property.
   This ground that I endeavor to dig about and fertilize? It is my
   ground, it is my Father's. And this wall that I try to mend? It is
   mine, it is my Father's." It is always pleasant to work for ourselves,
   you know. And, in a blessed sense, when we are working for God we are
   working for ourselves. You are laborers, you are God's farmers, you are
   God's people--and when you are working for the Lord you are really
   taking shares with Him.

   And what a work it is, too! "Go work today in My vineyard." One likes
   working in a vineyard because it pays. Working in a desert may be
   thankless toil, but working in a vineyard where there will be clusters
   is very different. One can already think of those juicy grapes that
   will be ready for the winepress! And for the festival, when the ruddy
   juice comes freely forth--when they make merry and joy in the vintage.
   And you will have the new wine and the wine on the lees well-refined.
   All sorts of pleasures await the man who serves the Lord!

   "Go work in My vineyard." Does it not mean that the work is plentiful?
   There is always something to be done in a vineyard. If you ask those
   who keep vines, they will tell you that there is much labor required.
   From one part of the year, right on to the end, there is something to
   be done, many dangers to be averted, and many enemies to be kept off
   the vines. So there is plenty to do, Brothers and Sisters. Go work in
   the vineyard where there will be need of all your hands. It is close at
   hand, hard by you, for the heavenly Father did not say, "Son, take a
   ship and go to Tarshish, or to Ophir." He said, "My Son, go work in My
   vineyard," and the vineyard was just out the back door there.

   Now, your heavenly Father's vineyard is close to you. Those streets
   where you live--the very house in which you dwell, perhaps the very
   chamber in which you sleep--is God's vineyard where you are to work for
   Him. It is your heavenly Father's own work to be done by you in your
   heavenly Father's own strength! Oh, if I might, tonight, by God's
   Grace, set one young man on fire with love to Christ I would be glad!
   If I could but be, by His Grace, the humble means of inspiring some
   Christian woman with the high mission of being useful in her day and
   generation, how much would my soul rejoice!

   There came into this Tabernacle one evening a young gentleman who was
   well known as being a great hand with his cricket bat. He was a
   Christian and full of earnestness in laying hold upon the great truths
   of Revelation! But he had never served his God. He thought it right to
   spend his leisure time in manly exercises and, in such pursuits, he
   sought recreation. But while I spoke, a fire kindled within him and he
   went home to begin to preach the Gospel in the streets of the city
   where he lived! And now he is the pastor of a large and influential
   Church which he has gathered together. Since then he has preached more
   than once, in this place, the Gospel of Jesus Christ! Oh, that some
   other Believer who may happen to be in that condition--some young man
   of ability who is spending all his strength on the world without going
   into anything grossly wrong, but simply wasting his talent--might hear
   a voice saying to him tonight, as he goes down that aisle, "My Son, go
   work today in My vineyard"!

   After dwelling so long upon the practical admonition, I have but little
   time left for that brief explanation of the parable, or more properly
   the parables of the vineyard with which, on the outset, I promised to
   close. The occasion on which they were spoken is memorable. Assailed
   "while He was teaching"--rudely interrupted by the legal Sanhedrim of
   the Jews with the High Priest in the forefront--they confronted our
   Lord, as it were, with a warrant and propounded to Him two questions.
   One as to the authority or title by which He acted--the other as to the
   source from which His authority was derived.

   You all know how skillfully He evaded His unscrupulous antagonists. "I,
   also, will ask you one thing," He said. And He asked them a question
   that left them in a ridiculous parley, for, "they reasoned among
   themselves," went aside to

   whisper, and then drew back in sheer timidity declining an answer, for,
   "they feared the people." Or, as you may read it, "They were afraid of
   the mob!" The advantage our Lord thus gained, He quickly followed up
   with a parable--in fact, with the parable we have been talking about.
   He opened it thus--"What do you think"--putting a query about two sons.
   The one forward in profession, yet utterly disobedient. The other
   sullen in appearance though afterwards penitent in spirit and diligent
   in labor. The thing was so obvious that they answer without hesitation
   with a reply that nailed the censure to their own breasts!

   "Which of these two did the will of his father?" They said unto Him,
   "the first." Read it, read the parable for yourselves. Realize the
   force of it if you can! The penitent harlot and the obdurate High
   Priest are put in the scales. "In the way of righteousness"--according
   to the truthful caricature--the chief priests and elders, themselves,
   admit that "the first" of these two did the will of our heavenly
   Father! Digest this parable, I pray you! Almost without a break the
   vineyard supplied Him yet, again, with another parable which He
   insisted on their hearing--a parable that brought out the character of
   the dispensation and "the signs of the times" so distinctly that they
   could not fail to read it in the light of their own Prophets--and at
   the same time exposed the treachery of their counsel and conspiracy
   that they recognized their own portrait at once and perceived that He
   spoke of them!

   "The vineyard," you are all aware, was the constant symbol of the
   Jewish nation as a theocracy. The men that sat in Moses' seat were the
   stewards in charge of that vineyard which was Jehovah's special
   property. They, like the perverse rulers of every age, sought to
   shelter their evil designs under cover of syndicates and conferences.
   But the words and warning's of Jesus, His proverbs and parables, were
   keen enough to probe all their subtleties and leave them to stand
   abashed without an excuse for the guile of their hearts or the guilt of
   their conduct!

   Now remember that the kingdom of God was taken from them and given to a
   nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. To what nation is it given?
   Is it not to the Church which is called "a chosen generation, a royal
   priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that you should show
   forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His
   marvelous light"? The vine is the express symbol of our Christian life,
   as all Believers are incorporated with Christ. Well then, there is a
   vineyard of God's own planting--you believe that. He has let it out to
   farmers--you believe that. He will come seeking fruit of this
   vineyard--you believe that. You are, dear Brothers and Sisters, the
   children of the farmers-- you believe that, or else you would not
   presume to sit at His table and drink of His cup. He says, therefore,
   to you, "Son, go work in My vineyard." What answer do you give with
   your lips? What answer do you give with your life?

   Thus far I have not been speaking to unconverted people. I have not
   said a word to them. To them, however, I have this word to say, and I
   have done. I shall not ask you to work for Christ. I cannot exhort you
   to do anything for Him. You are not in a state of mind to do it! You
   must, first, believe in Him. Oh, let it be a sorrow to you, tonight,
   that you are incapable of serving Christ! Till you get a new heart and
   a right spirit you have no capacity to serve Him! You have first, to
   trust Christ and to prove in your own souls that this Gospel is the
   power of God to your salvation. Your eyes must be opened! Before you
   can do anything for Him, you must be turned from darkness to light and
   from the power of Satan to God that you may receive forgiveness of sins
   and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith in Jesus.

   Then, not till then, will you be meet to be made witnesses both of
   those things which you shall have seen and of those things in which He
   will hereafter reveal to you. You must be born again, yourselves,
   before you can travail in birth for others, till Christ is formed in
   them. You cannot testify, those of you by whom the testimony of Christ
   has not been received and in whom it is not confirmed. Your unskilled
   labor would be mischievous. Hands off such holy work till those hands
   have been washed clean by Jesus Christ! Come to Him and trust Him! Come
   to Him and believe in Him, and when He has saved you, then He will say
   to you, "Son, go work today in My vineyard."