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Better to Wear Out Than to Rust Out

At what point may a Christian cut back on his or her service to God? At what stage of life is it acceptable for a child of God to lay down the sword of the Spirit and allow someone else to wage the daily war against Satan? The answers to these questions are the same and they are obvious. Not until we have breathed our last should we cease to work with all of our might in the vineyard of the Lord. The apostle Paul perfectly expressed this attitude when he wrote, “For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.” (II Timothy 4:6-8). Over the years it has been my privilege to witness valiant men and women of the cross not just continue their service to God but actually increase and improve their service to God even in the face of the ravages of illness and aging. Perhaps they could no longer speak as they once did, write as they once did or go out into the fields as they once did, but each of them found a way to serve in God’s kingdom.

Every faithful child of God wants to go home to be with Him in eternity. As we watch our Christian comrades one by one venture into the valley of the shadow of death, melancholy strikes our hearts and we long for the day when we ourselves can cast off this mortal coil and gather around the throne of the Lord with all of His saints in heaven. But while we are here, we still have work to do. Again we cite Paul. “For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better: Nevertheless to abide in the flesh is more needful for you.” (Philippians 1:23-24). Paul felt the tug of eternal rest and peace on his heartstrings. He also felt the tug of weak and wandering souls who needed his spiritual leadership and strength. As much as he wanted heaven, he knew that he must not cease or even slow down in his work on earth.

Dear Christian, this is not the time to take a break in our work for God. Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.” (John 4:35). There are millions, even billions more souls on the face of the earth than there were when Jesus said this. There are millions more today than there were just ten years ago. At no time in the history of the world have the fields been whiter and more ready for harvest. The job of harvesting is not restricted to the young and energetic. Christians of all ages have a part that we can play in getting God’s message to the lost. We cannot stop.

My Christian friend, Satan is still fighting to take your soul as well as the souls of those around you. If you slip out of the spiritual battle garb now (Ephesians 6:11ff), you will make yourself vulnerable to every weapon Satan has in his arsenal. You will be unprotected. All the effort you put forth in earlier years will be wasted. Keep studying, keep praying, keep fighting back against temptation and sin for your own sake but also for the sake of those whom you may influence for eternity.

Yes, the road seems so long sometimes. Yes, our feet get weary and are hearts become loaded with the sorrows of the world. But there is rest ahead (Hebrews 4:9-11). Moments of respite are afforded us here, but the final rest is in the eternal mansions of heaven (John 14:1-4). No matter your age or your physical condition, fight on with everything you have. Keep growing in the faith. Keep serving others. Keep teaching God’s truth all the way until the moment that the gates of eternal life open for you and you hear those welcome words, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant… enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” (Matthew 25:21). Let not one of us rust out due to lack of activity but let us each wear ourselves out in service to the One who gave His all for us.

Mike Gifford

2462 Oak Bluff Drive
Dacula, GA 30019

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