“A Young Man in Christ” #5: Truly humane
From A Good Start by C. H. Spurgeon, Chapter 1 (”A Young Man in Christ”).
I have said that a man in Christ is truly a man, and I will give one more meaning to my words. He is a man in this sense, that he is human; or, lengthen out that last syllable, and it gives a better meaning – he is humane. Of all who live, the man in Christ is the most human, or really humane man. In this he follows the Lord Christ Himself. Ah, what a man He was! There is not one whom you could not point to and say, “That is an Englishman,” or “That is a German,” or “That is a Jew,” or “That is a philosopher,” or “That is a clergyman,” or something or other special and distinguishing; but of Jesus of Nazareth, as a human being, you could never say more than that he was a Man – the noblest, purest specimen of man who ever adorned this world. A Man belonging to all nations, to all ranks, and to all times. Do you not notice in His life how everything that had to do with man lay near His heart? I take it that He was more completely a man than John the Baptist, although there are many who consider that type of manhood to be the very highest. John the Baptist came neither eating nor drinking, but Jesus came both eating and drinking; and though the ribald throng said, “He is a drunken Man and a wine-bibber,” yet He was all the more a perfect Man, because He was a Man among men. He dwelt not in the wilderness, but among the people;’ he did not eat locusts and wild honey, but went to a marriage, and ate bread at the tables of those who invited Him. He entered into all that men did except their sins. He was in all things to man a true brother and friend. He was not merely a preacher, but He became a Physician and healed bodily sicknesses. The Christian man should always be the helper of everything which promotes the health and welfare of the people. Christ was not only the bread from Heaven, but the Giver of the bread of life to the poor and needy. He fed thousands of the fainting with loaves and fishes. If all other hands be fast closed, the hand o the Christian man should always be open to relieve human necessity. Being a man, the believer is a brother to all men – rich and poor, sick or healthy – and he should seek their good in every possible way, aiming still at the highest good – namely, the saving of their souls.
The man in Christ, also, is in the best sense human, in that he lives in a real world and not in an ideal castle of sanctity. He has found out how to spiritualise the secular. He elevates the things of a man till they become the things of God. You know it is very easy to secularise the spiritual: there are many who have desecrated the pulpit, and brought it down to the lowest conceivable level; but there are others who have elevated the carpenter’s bench, and made it holiness unto the Lord. The man in Christ does exactly that. He does not draw a line and say, “So far my life in Christ goes, but no further. My religion is a thing for Sundays, and not for the Stock Exchange. ‘Do unto others as you would that they should do unto you,’ is a golden rule for the domestic circle, but it will not do for our market at all, we could not get a living on any such principle.” No, he considers that no religion can be true which unfits a man for a lawful calling. His religion is part and parcel of himself. He does not carry it with him, but it is in him. It has come to be himself. A man in Christ makes up his accounts as sacredly as he reads his Bible. He does not pray upon his knees alone, but in all places he speaks with God. His service of God is not confined to his closet and his pew; but, diligent in business, he is still fervent in spirit, serving the Lord. All that Christians do ought to be done as unto the Lord – whether ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye do. If there be anything in this world that you cannot do to the glory of God you must not do it at all; but all things that ye do, if ye be Christian men, are to be done in the spirit of faith, in the presence of God, unto the glory of God Most High. Such is the man in Christ Jesus.
This also is his mark as man, and humane – that he does not seek his own. Of course, going into the world, he does not tell a lie and say, “I am not going to try and make money. I shall not aim at doing business.” He is going to do that, and he would be a great fool for going upon ‘Change at all if he had no such object. Does he become a broker with the design of losing his capital? Nobody would believe him if he said so. But he goes to his office with this determination: “I am not going to rob another to enrich myself. It shall not be said of one single grain of gold that I add to my heap that I wring it from the widow or the orphan, or that I gained it by driving a man hard who needed it more than I, or that I wrested it from one who, whether he needed it or not, had a better right to it than I.” The doctrine of the worldling in Horace, “Get money, fairly if thou canst, but by all means get it,” is no Christian doctrine: it is worthy of heathenism in its worst form. The man in Christ, though active, earnest, intelligent, and by no means a simpleton (if you think he is, deal with him and see), yet is so far a fool in some men’s esteem that when he sweareth to his own hurt he changeth not; and when he seeth a fine opportunity, at which some would leap, he stands back and says, “So do not I, because of the fear of the Lord.” He cannot and he will not bring a curse upon himself by an unjust action, and this, it seems to me, makes him all the more truly a man, though it manifests one of the characteristics of his being a man in Christ Jesus.