Working for Christ in his absence?


I’ve been thinking about crucifixion, mortification and prayer and the route to ministry burnout. This extract from Spurgeon’s sermon on Song of Solomon 1:7-8 “The good shepherdess” is a great encouragement never to lose sweet fellowship with Christ:

I know that I shall be speaking to many this morning who are busy in serving their Lord; and it may be that they feel great anxiety because they cannot keep their own hearts near to Jesus: they do not feel themselves warm and lively in the divine service; they plod on, but they are very much in the condition of those who are described as “faint, yet pursuing.”

When Jesus is present labour for him is joy, but in his absence his servants feel like workers underground, bereft of the light of the sun. They cannot give up working for Jesus; they love him too well for that, but they pine to have his company while they are working for him…

It is a very unhappy thing to lose fellowship with Jesus, and yet to have to go on with religious exercises. If the wheels are taken off your chariot it is no great matter it nobody wants to ride, but how if you are called upon to drive on? When a man’s foot is lamed he may not so much regret it if he can sit still, but if he be bound to run a race he is greatly to be pitied…

Above all, should we not try to live as a church, and individually, also, in abiding fellowship with Jesus; for if we turn aside from him we shall rob the truth of its aroma, yea, of its essential fragrance. If we lose fellowship with Jesus we shall have the standard, but where will be the standard bearer? We may retain the candlestick, but where shall be the light? We shall be shorn of our strength, our joy, our comfort, our all, if we miss fellowship with him. God grant, therefore, that we may never be as those who turn aside.

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