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grass, that to-day is in the field, and to-morrow is cut down and cast into the oven; and I was wondering how soon our lives might end and our day be over, when the master said : There is work for you all to-day.' Ay, Hetty, there is work for us all in the Lord's great harvest field.”
The two young women had now reached the long swathes of grass, and for some time were too busy with their work for much conversation, at any rate of a quiet and serious character ; but Polly Green's last words continued to ring in the ears of Hetty: “ There is work for us all.”
Yes, she knew it; and she felt conscious that she was not doing her share.
Hetty Freeman was, like a great many others, almost persuaded to be a Christian; she knew what was right, but unfortunately for her peace of mind she had not had the courage to forsake all and follow Jesus. The world, and the things of the world, had attractions too great for her, and she was as yet undecided for Christ.
Merrily and pleasantly the business of the day went on, and before the evening all the hay had been carted and securely stacked, without taking a drop of rain.
“ There,” remarked the farmer, as the men finished putting the tarpaulin over the newly-made stack; “ we've done a good stroke of work; but we haven't finished a minute too soon; it is just beginning to rain.”
True enough, it was beginning to rain ; and before the night was passed such a storm burst over the district that, had the hay remained in the field, much of it must inevitably have been spoiled.
“ We couldn't have worked to-night, Hetty,” said Polly Green to her friend, as they watched the falling rain. “It was well that we had finished the meadow before this came on.”
“ Yes," answered Hetty. “I should have been sorry to see the hay spoiled after all the trouble the master has taken about it.”
And so should I ;” and then, after a pause, Polly continued: “You know what I said this morning, Hetty, about our Lord's words : 'Work while it is called to-day.'”
“Yes, yes. I know," answered Hetty, hastily; “but if you are going to preach I shall just go off. I don't feel inclined to hear a sermon just now.”
“No, I am not going to preach, Hetty; but I want to give you one more word to think on. You know the Lord says that all His servants are to work, and I'm sure no true servant would wish to be idle; but the Bible tells us, too, to 'work out our own salvation with fear and trembling.' Hetty, dear, are you doing that ?"
This was a straightforward question, and went home to Hetty's heart. She felt that she could not truthfully answer it in the affirmative, and her pride would not allow her to admit that she was neglecting her duty in this respect; so she merely, evaded it by saying that she did not care to talk of such things. She considered herself as good as a great many others who made more profession of religion ; and, after all, there was time enough to think of such matters; she was young and healthy, and in all probability had long to live.
Don't say that, Hetty; you don't know what a day may bring forth; there is many a one dies younger
you are, and what if you should be taken, unprepared ?"
What more Polly might have said we cannot tell, for her companion abruptly left her. But though she would hear no more of her friend's wise counsels, she could not forget what had already been said.
Weeks and months passed by, and Hetty remained undecided for Christ; she was convicted, but not converted. Meanwhile Polly Green went on quietly doing her Master's work, and showing by her life how sincere and true was her belief. How much good she did by her holy example and loving advice can never be known on earth ; but we may be sure of this, that work such as hers is accepted by the great Master, who has told His disciples to work for Him,
even though the doing so cause them trouble and persecution.
It was hay-time again. The country was once more dressed in its brightest garb of green and gold. The feathered songsters sent forth their joyful notes, and all nature seemed to rejoice in the warmth and sunshine of the beauteous summer. Once more Farmer Amold was among his workpeople, urging them on and helping them in their labours; but this year neither Hetty Freeman nor Polly Green were among the haymakers. The latter was lying upon her death-bed, and the former was carefully and anxiously watching over her.
Open the window a little, Hetty," said the sick girl, "and let me feel the breeze; it is so refreshing."
As Hetty complied with the request, the scent of the newly-made hay was wafted into the room, and the sound of the mowers sharpening their scythes was heard in the distance.
“Ah, Polly,” said the young nurse ; " this time of the year puts me in mind of what you said to me last summer; do you remember what it was?” Polly did not immediately recollect what her friend referred to, so she went on. “It was about working while it is called to-day, seeing that the night comes when no one can work; you remember now?”
“Oh, yes, I remember now, Hetty; and I think I said something about not knowing when our day would be over. Mine is nearly passed, Hetty; my work is nearly done; but I hope my life has not been spent in vain.”
“No, Polly, it has not indeed. But for you I should not have been so happy now; it was you who pointed me to the Saviour, and helped me to find salvation through faith in Him. Oh, no; your life has not been wasted."
“I am so glad, Hetty dear, that you have found peace with God; and now you must set yourself to work for Him. There is work for us all, you know; and, if we would be happy Christians, the more work we do the better."
A few days later, and Polly Green had finished her work in this world, and had gone to the Saviour whom she had loved so well. But although she was gone, her works remained, and who can say where the results of her loving labour ended ?
She was only a poor working girl, but she did what she could, and perhaps accomplished more good than many others who have greater opportunities of usefulness.
“A word spoken in due season, how good is it?" and yet how many there are who never speak the word. They know the blessedness of trusting in Jesus, and finding peace and safety in Him, but cannot bring themselves to point others to the same happiness. They are afraid of being thought righteous overmuch; they think they will give offence, or are so diffident as to fancy that they are not competent to properly perform the duty of speaking a word of advice or counsel. But is this a right feeling? Is there not work for us all to do, and is it not our duty to do it? If every Christian were but to let his light so shine before men that they might see his good works, and thus be induced to glorify his Father who is in heaven, how much good might be done, how much misery and wretchedness avoided !
Let no one say that he or she is too humble to be able to do good. Every one who is taught of God may do some good. There is work for us all, and the time in which to do it may be very short; knowing this, it behoves us to work while it is called to-day, for the night cometh when no man can work.
Do you say you have no opportunities of usefulness? Look around
you will find plenty to do. Is there no sin to be battled with ? no suffering to be alleviated ? Surely you can do some work for Him who has done so much for you.
Even without going from your own home you may find work. “The well-directed efforts of a good man, even in the private walks of life, may produce results hardly to be calculated,” says a writer on this subject. “His conduct throughout the successive engagements of
the day may operate powerfully on the different members of his family, and even upon his friends who frequent the house, who make him social visits. He may on these occasions frequently give a suitable direction to conversationmay exchange unprofitable or light converse for that which will instruct and edify, and raise the conviction, that while frivolous and vain subjects leave a painful void, those of higher import refresh and invigorate the mind, and increase its zest for spiritual things." In other words, we may be constantly working for Christ, and doing good to those about us, by living a sincere and truly Christian life.
One thing is certain, that he who would do any work for his Divine Master must seek that Master's aid : “ of ourselves we can do no good thing." Seeking help from on high, and striving faithfully and earnestly to do good to all about us, we are certain to succeed, and to have the satisfaction of knowing that we are doing our share of the work that God has laid down for us to do. There is work for all ; let us, then, work while it is called to-day, for the night cometh when no man can work.
G. H. S.