Summary: Challenge to the congregation to give God the best of your talents and labor.
There was a young boy who was the son of a drifter. This boy worked as a store clerk for a while, but the store failed. He bought a partnership in another store, but it failed also. He ran for legislature and lost both times. He ran for vice-president and lost. He became the 16th President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.
There was another boy who was called a "slow learner." A teacher recommended he be withdrawn from school because of his seeming inability. He tried to go to school in Switzerland, but failed the entrance exam. He was fired from three teaching jobs. At age 26 he won the Nobel Prize. He was Albert Einstein.
4 For to him that is joined to all the living there is hope: for a living dog is better than a dead lion.
5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
6 Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun.
7 Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works.
8 Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment.
9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun.
10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.
11 I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
What shall I do?—"Whatsoever thy hand findeth."
1. In seeking their calling many folks await a grandiose vision, a voice from heaven, a clearly-defined ministry
2. You know what ministry I did first -- clean the church (there was already a pastor, worship leader, etc) so I "cleaned under the anointing"
3. David had the anointing of a King, but had to go to the field and tend sheep, but there was preparation from God for later battles
4. Failure to fulfil an unknown calling is not sin. "Him that knows to do good and does it not, to him it is sin." Failure to fulfil known needs is sin.
5. Do what you can, in your workshop or shed, or with a needle in your hand; and if ever you have a scepter—which is not likely—and you use your needle well, you would be the most likely person to use your scepter well also.
6. Whether it be the visitation of the poorest of the poor or the teaching of tile most ignorant, whether the hewing of wood or the drawing of water, the very lowest work in the Lord’s house, if thy hand findeth it to do it.
7. George Washington, the commander-in-chief, was going around among his soldiers. They were hard at work, lifting a heavy piece of timber at some fortification There stood the corporal of the regiment calling out to his men, "Heave there, heave ahoy!" and giving them all kinds of directions. As large as possible the good corporal was. So Washington, alighting from his horse, said to him, "What is the good of your calling out to those men, why don’t you help them yourself and do part of the work." The corporal drew himself up and said, "Perhaps you are not aware to whom you are speaking, sir; I am a corporal."
"I beg your pardon," said Washington; "you are a corporal are you; I am sorry I should have insulted you." So he took off his own coat and waistcoat and set to work to help the men build the fortification When he had done he said, "Mr. Corporal, I am sorry I insulted you, but when you have any more fortifications to get up, and your men won’t help you, send for George Washington, the commander-in-chief, and I will come and help them." The corporal slunk away perfectly ashamed of himself. And so Christ Jesus might say to us, "Oh, you don’t like teaching the poor; it is beneath your dignity; then let your commander-in-chief do it; he can teach the poor, he can wash the feet of the saints, he can visit the sick and afflicted—he came from heaven to do this, and he will set you the example."