In the south there is an old man with a row boat who ferries passengers across a mile wide river for ten cents. Asked “How many times a day do you do this?” he said, “As many times as I can because the more I go the more I get, and if 1 don’t go, I don’t get.” This old man knows well a lesson which many of the so-called wise have forgotten that if we don’t go, we don’t get. We live in an age of subsidies, social welfare and social security. Sweden has developed their social welfare program to such an extent that everyone is cared for from the cradle to the grave and yet Sweden has the highest percentage of suicides of any country.
The “something for nothing” craze is supporting such places as Las Vegas and the race tracks and unfortunately it has infected religion so that the pulpits today preach instant salvation. Unlike the old man, people today believe that they can get without going and the most popular preachers now preach what the people want to hear.
They are told that they can believe almost anything they want and do almost anything they want, that since God is not willing that any should perish they can please themselves and it will work out all right in the end.
While this type of thinking is on the increase it evidently is not new for Malachi speaks of those who weary God by saying such things. He says, “Ye have wearied the Lord with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied Him? when ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; or, Where is the God of judgment?”
Yes, it wearies the Lord when we say that those who do evil appear good in His sight. They ignore God, crowd Him completely out of their lives, spend all their time and energies pleasing themselves and then expect God to give them eternal life.
On the contrary, the scriptures plainly teach us that only those who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, only these will receive eternal life.
Eternal life is the gift of God. We realize that it is a gift and cannot be earned; nevertheless God is only going to give it to those who have patiently continued in well doing. If we don’t go, we don’t get. If we don’t seek first the kingdom of God, we shall never receive it. If we don’t lay aside every weight and run with patience, we shall not receive the prize.
There is no such thing as something for nothing. Not in this life, not in the life that is to come. If we don’t go we don’t get.
We must adopt the old man’s philosophy and apply it to higher things, for we must realize that we all need to go. We live in an age when people want to get without going and to be infected with this thinking is fatal.
As we travel through the year let us go as many times as we can. Let us go where Jesus would have us go and do as Jesus would have us do. Remembering that faith without works is dead, let us show our faith by our works. We should visit the sick, we should support the classes and lectures, we should write to those in isolation, we should be doing and going as much as we can.
“Be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord. and Work: for I am with you saith the Lord of hosts.” We are to work out our salvation. Let us get going because if we don’t go, we don’t get.