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Friday, 15 January 2016

McCheyne's watch!

Publishing the piece by David Robertson leads, not unnaturally, to a post about Robert Murray McCheyne who, as I intimated in the previous post, was one of David's predecessors as minister of St Peter's, Dundee.  McCheyne did not enjoy the best of health, and died at the tender age of 29 years.  It is not unlikely that the manner in which he threw himself into the Lord's work was a contributory cause as he expended his energy in ministry and mission.  

His great motivation was the word of his Master: "We must work the works of Him Who sent Me, while it is day; night comes, when no one can work." (John 9:4-5), and he was constantly zealous in his desire to both seek the lost, and encourage the saints of God.  It is said that he had a picture of the setting sun on the dial of his pocket-watch.  Over the lovely scene, in small but legible letters, were inscribed three words from his motivational text: "The night cometh". Every time he looked at it, he was reminded of the shortness of life, and the urgent necessity of pursuing his divine calling. Accordingly, he could not tolerate the inactivity of, even in the first half of the 19th century, many who confessed to be Christian!  It is recorded that, on one occasion on which he visited a congregation that was complacent, and ineffective, in the service of God, he cried out: "Oh for activity, activity.  I cannot impress you enough with the thought that we are all here with measured tasks for a measured time."

Too many believers, today, are content to receive the gifts of grace, but are lazy and unproductive when it comes to showing their gratitude to God for His unfailing mercies, by serving Him with enthusiasm  and joy.  In spite of the warning to "... not grow weary in well-doing," (Gal 6:9; see also II Thess.3:13), they quickly tire of responsibility, and are easily dissuaded for attending to any spiritual task that does not fit in with their personal schedule!   

McCheyne's watch should remind us all of the lateness of the hour.  Let us be up and about the service of the Master.  The "... night comes, when no one can work."

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