Christ's Object Lessons
by Ellen G. White
Chapter 28: The Reward of Grace
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All boasting of merit in ourselves is out of place. "Let
not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty
man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his
riches; but let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he
understandeth and knoweth Me, that I am the Lord which
exercise loving kindness, judgment, and righteousness in
the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord."
Jer. 9:23, 24.
The reward is not of works, lest any man should boast;
but it is all of grace. "What shall we say then that
Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found?
For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof
to glory; but not before God. For what saith the scripture?
Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto
him for righteousness. Now to him that worketh is the
reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. But to him that
worketh not, but believeth on Him that justifieth the
ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness." Rom.
4:1-5. Therefore there is no occasion for one to glory over [p. 402] another or to grudge against another. No one is privileged
above another, nor can anyone claim the reward as a right.
The first and the last are to be sharers in the great,
eternal reward, and the first should gladly welcome the last.
He who grudges the reward to another forgets that he
himself is saved by grace alone. The parable of the
laborers rebukes all jealousy and suspicion. Love rejoices
in the truth and institutes no envious comparisons. He
who possesses love compares only the loveliness of Christ
and his own imperfect character.
This parable is a warning to all laborers, however long
their service, however abundant their labors, that without
love to their brethren, without humility before God, they
are nothing. There is no religion in the enthronement of
self. He who makes self-glorification his aim will find
himself destitute of that grace which alone can make him
efficient in Christ's service. Whenever pride and
self-complacency are indulged, the work is marred.
It is not the length of time we labor but our willingness
and fidelity in the work that makes it acceptable to
God. In all our service a full surrender of self is demanded.
The smallest duty done in sincerity and self-forgetfulness is
more pleasing to God than the greatest work when marred
with self-seeking. He looks to see how much of the spirit
of Christ we cherish, and how much of the likeness of
Christ our work reveals. He regards more the love and
faithfulness with which we work than the amount we do.
Only when selfishness is dead, when strife for supremacy
is banished, when gratitude fills the heart, and love
makes fragrant the life—it is only then that Christ is abiding
in the soul, and we are recognized as laborers together
However trying their labor, the true workers do not
regard it as drudgery. They are ready to spend and to be [p. 403] spent; but it is a cheerful work, done with a glad heart.
Joy in God is expressed through Jesus Christ. Their joy
is the joy set before Christ—"to do the will of Him that sent
Me, and to finish His work." John 4:34. They are in
co-operation with the Lord of glory. This thought sweetens
all toil, it braces the will, it nerves the spirit for whatever
may befall. Working with unselfish heart, ennobled by
being partakers of Christ's sufferings, sharing His
sympathies, and co-operating with Him in His labor, they help
to swell the tide of His joy and bring honor and praise
to His exalted name.
This is the spirit of all true service for God. Through a
lack of this spirit, many who appear to be first will become
last, while those who possess it, though accounted last, will
There are many who have given themselves to Christ,
yet who see no opportunity of doing a large work or making
great sacrifices in His service. These may find comfort
in the thought that it is not necessarily the martyr's
self-surrender which is most acceptable to God; it may not be
the missionary who has daily faced danger and death that
stands highest in heaven's records. The Christian who is
such in his private life, in the daily surrender of self, in
sincerity of purpose and purity of thought, in meekness
under provocation, in faith and piety, in fidelity in that
which is least, the one who in the home life represents the
character of Christ—such a one may in the sight of God
be more precious than even the world-renowned missionary
Oh, how different are the standards by which God and
men measure character. God sees many temptations
resisted of which the world and even near friends never
know—temptations in the home, in the heart. He sees
the soul's humility in view of its own weakness; the [p. 404] sincere repentance over even a thought that is evil. He sees
the wholehearted devotion to His service. He has noted
the hours of hard battle with self—battle that won the
victory. All this God and angels know. A book of
remembrance is written before Him for them that fear the Lord and
that think upon His name.
Not in our learning, not in our position, not in our
numbers or entrusted talents, not in the will of man, is to
be found the secret of success. Feeling our inefficiency we
are to contemplate Christ, and through Him who is the
strength of all strength, the thought of all thought, the
willing and obedient will gain victory after victory.
And however short our service or humble our work, if
in simple faith we follow Christ, we shall not be
disappointed of the reward. That which even the greatest and
wisest cannot earn, the weakest and most humble may
receive. Heaven's golden gate opens not to the self-exalted.
It is not lifted up to the proud in spirit. But the
everlasting portals will open wide to the trembling touch of a
little child. Blessed will be the recompense of grace to
those who have wrought for God in the simplicity of faith
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