The work of a Christian will be tested
For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one's work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one's work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.
Our Lord Jesus Christ was continually “going around doing good,” while He was on earth (Acts 10:38). The Apostles, and all the disciples in Bible times, were always striving to walk in His steps. A Christian who was content to go to Heaven himself and cared not what became of others, whether they lived happy and died in peace or not, would have been regarded as a kind of monster in primitive times, who did not have the Spirit of Christ. Why should we suppose for a moment that a lower standard will suffice in the present day? Why should fig trees which bear no fruit be spared in the present day, when in our Lord’s time they were to be cut down as “cumberers of the ground”? (Luke 13:7). These are serious inquiries, and demand serious answers.
There is a generation of professing Christians now-a-days, who seem to know nothing of caring for their neighbours, and are completely swallowed up in the concerns of number one—that is, their own and their family’s. They eat, and drink, and sleep, and dress, and work, and earn money, and spend money, year after year. Whether others are happy or miserable, well or ill, converted or unconverted, traveling towards Heaven or toward Hell; these appear to be questions about which they are totally indifferent. Can this be right? Can it be reconciled with the religion of Him who spoke the parable of the good Samaritan, and bade us “go and do likewise”? (Luke 10:37). I doubt it altogether.
There is much to be done everywhere. There is not a place in your country- where there is not a field for work and an open door for being useful—if anyone is willing to enter it. There is not a Christian in -your country- who cannot find some good work to do for others, if he has only a heart to do it. The poorest man or woman, without a single penny to give, can always show his deep sympathy to the sick and sorrowful, and by simple good-nature and tender helpfulness, can lessen the misery and increase the comfort of somebody in this troubled world. But alas, the vast majority of professing Christians, whether rich or poor, Churchmen or Dissenters, seem possessed with a devil of detestable selfishness, and do not know the luxury of doing good. They can argue by the hour about baptism, and the Lord’s supper, and the forms of worship, and the union of Church and State, and such-like dry-bone questions. But all this time they seem to care nothing for their neighbors. The plain practical point, whether they love their neighbor, as the Samaritan loved the unfortunate traveler in the parable, and can spare any time and trouble to do him good, is a point they never touch with one of their fingers.
In too many -your country- churches, both in town and country, true love seems almost dead, both in church and chapel — and wretched party-spirit and controversy are the only fruits that Christianity appears able to produce. In a day like this, no reader should wonder if I press this plain old subject on his conscience. Do we know anything of genuine Samaritan love to others? Do we ever try to do any good to any one besides our own friends and relatives, and our and our own party or cause? Are we living like disciples of Him who always “went about doing good,” and commanded His disciples to take Him for their “example”? (John 13:15). If not, with what face shall we meet Him in the judgment day? In this matter also, how is it with our souls? Once more I ask, “How do we do?”
Ten Questions to Test Whether You Are a True Christian; J.C. Ryle