As "ambassadors of Christ, as though God did beseech you by us."(2 Cor. 5:20.)
This is a most high and honorable commission, and we do not wonder that Paul, writing to the Corinthians, declared himself and his fellow-laborers to be workers together with God and Christ, and besought them not to receive the reconciling grace of which they were the messengers, in vain. But not only are ministers workers together for Christ, but every one who is called to life "together with him" is a worker together with him. As the vine does not bear fruit directly, but by means of the branches, so it is with Christ. "Together with him," even as the branch, abiding together in the vine, so we are workers together with Christ. If only we could fully realize and truly take hold on the significance of the word "together," how much more fruit we would bear; how much wasted talent and energy, now lost in self-effort, would be saved; how light and gladsome would the labor be; how that fellowship and union, with power, would lighten labor when it is heavy and wearisome, and sanctify the senses, the afflictions, and the disappointments that are so often met with in the work. Union and fellowship with Christ in spiritual privilege and spiritual service are the whole secret of Christian life.
It has been and still is God's great work to win lost men back to himself, and make ready for the regeneration of the world, and it is also our work. If we would be workers together with Christ, we must study him as the model workman in his Father's business. Let us note some of the more marked characteristics of our Lord as brought out in connection with his work among men.
First. It is recorded of him: "Lo! I come! I delight to do thy will, O, my God! Yea, thy law is written within my heart." This must be the key-note to all service with and for God. It is not first the work, but the will of God that we are to do. The work is not always to our mind or taste; but the will of God, as Faber has it, is always the "sweet will of God." We asked a little boy a few days ago, if he did not want to do something else for us. To which he promptly replied: "No, sir, but if you want me to do it, I will." The work itself is sometimes irksome, especially in many of its details. The reaping is always glad; but the plowing and sowing, the patient waiting, and the careful tending, are not always to our mind. Weariness and perplexity, "bonds, stripes and imprisonments" are in the way; then we must have recourse to the mainspring of action and service: "I delight to do THY WILL, O, my God."
Second. We also note that our Lord said: "For their sakes I sanctify myself." Here, again, we have another principle of action: "For their sakes." Not for ourselves, but for their sakes, we can give ourselves up to work for men. Deep fellowship with Christ is necessary to this. Oftentimes we must go empty-hearted to Christ and get a filling of the divine love.
Even those we love most, are indifferent and ungrateful, and even worse, in the face of our care for them. But more often our work lies among those for whom we have no natural care, and not seldom those who are in themselves uninteresting and repugnant to us. Then it is, that inspired by the love of Christ and moved by the will of God, we can do "all things through Christ which helpeth us." This principle in our work, "together with him," means high consecration, with self-denial, in which we learn not to look at our own things, but on "the things of another." This only can teach us not to be respectors of persons; to love deeper, and beyond a man's clothes, culture and surroundings, even at his soul the broken image of God in him, and on to the end where, by faith, we see him in glory. Christ at the well, talking with the fallen woman of Samaria, is an example of doing the will of God, and at the same time sanctifying [setting apart] himself for the sake of another.