Greetings MOL Family!
Welcome back to our study on God’s beautiful way…
Let us turn to 2 Corinthians the 5th chapter. You know, for several years this has been the great motto of our young people in this denomination:
For the love of Christ constraineth us. – 2 Corinthians 5:14
What constrains us? The love of Christ. Love constrains. What does constrain mean? Why, it means ‘it makes us do things’. It gets us in motion.
When you look on the great highway, and you see thousands of automobiles running along, up hill and down hill, thousands of them. Is something moving them? Oh, yes. Under the hood of every one of them, there is a what? A motor, there is a motor there. Do I have to look under every hood to see? No. When I see the car rolling, moving, I know there is a motor. And when I see a boy moving, I know there is a motive. The difference between a motor and a motive is simply this: a motor makes a car move; a motive makes a human being move. And there are only two great motives. You will find this in the book Education:
He [the student] should understand the nature of the two principles that are contending for supremacy…. He should see how this controversy enters into every phase of human experience; how in every act of life he himself reveals the one or the other of the two antagonistic motives. – Education, pg. 190
Every time I do something, I do it either through love (this motive we have just looked at here in 2 Corinthians), or else I do it through the opposite motive. In this same book, Education, pages 225-226, these two motives are canvassed, and there is nowhere in the inspired writing where these two motives are more clearly presented and contrasted than in these two pages. I recommend that you study them thoroughly.
Notice (as we continue from last week’s study) that this takes us from the playground into the classroom, from competitive athletics to competitive scholarship recognition. But the principle is exactly the same, the principle of love, unselfishness, on the one hand or selfishness and rivalry on the other. I read:
At such a time as this, what is the trend of the education given? To what motive is appeal most often made? To self-seeking. Much of the education given is a perversion of the name. In true education the selfish ambition, the greed for power, the disregard for the rights and needs of humanity, that are the curse of our world, find a counterinfluence. God’s plan of life has a place for every human being. – Education, pgs. 225-226
Oh, for how many is there room for, in God’s plan? Everybody. But the world has a proverb. And friends, all the proverbs aren’t in the Bible. Some of them come from the world. Did you ever hear this one? “There is room at the top.” Yes, room at the top. And the way the world reads that is: every other human being is either a stumbling block in my way to kick out of the road, or else he’s a stepping stone that I can step on to step up higher. And what do I want? I want to get to the top. And how many bruised and bleeding and dying bodies of my fellow men are in the road, or form the pyramid on which at last I rise?
That doesn’t make any difference if I have enough of this motive. If I have enough of it, I can be a Stalin or a Napoleon or a Hitler. But, I may not have quite that much. I may not be willing to kill anybody in order to beat, but I might be willing to black his eye, but I hope I don’t kill him. Then again, I might not even be willing to black his eye, but I may be willing to break his heart by beating him in some tennis match or in some spelling match or something of that kind. Oh, the thrill of beating, but oh, the pride of it, my friends. Oh, the selfishness of it. And oh, the despondency and discouragement and heartbreak of losing. I return to the reading:
God’s plan of life has a place for every human being. Each is to improve his talents to the utmost; and faithfulness in doing this, be the gifts few or many, entitles one to honor. – Education, pg. 226
“Are you on the honor roll?” “Oh, yes. I’m on the honor roll. I got straight A’s. Are you on the honor roll?” “Oh, no. Try as hard as I could, I never could get more than a C.” “Too bad.”
But here is a program where everybody can be on the honor roll. As we read in the last quote, you can get on the honor roll – Heaven’s honor roll. You can have a gold star. You can be on the honor roll. How? Just do your best. Whether it is in spelling or arithmetic, whether it is in hoeing the corn or washing the dishes, whether it is in giving Bible studies, or giving treatments, whatever it may be, just do your best, and your name is on Heaven’s honor roll. It may not make the first page of the paper. Nobody may come around and give you a certificate with a gold seal on it, but the angels will write you down as entitled to honor.
But ah, friends, somebody says, “Oh, yes, but everyone has that, so it won’t make any difference. If everybody has it, what difference does it make if I have it?” What a strange idea, my friends, that the thing that makes something valuable is that I’ve got to grab it out of the hands of other people. What a strange thing that the way for me to be happy is to deprive other people of something, and enjoy it at their expense. Who could invent a thing like that? I know now who invented it. I know. It came out of the heart of Lucifer, and the universe never knew anything about it until he came along.
Thank God, friends, there is coming a day soon when that will all be gone, gone forever, and we shall all win all the time, every time, and help other people to win. That is eternity. That is the glorious program. We can enter into it now. We don’t have to wait. Right now, we can live in a program where everybody can win; and every time we win, we help other people to win, instead of making anybody lose.
What could be more glorious than that? As I said, I never learned to be a good loser and I am so glad, because God doesn’t want people to lose. He wants them to win! He doesn’t want them to fail. He wants them to succeed! How glorious is a program where everybody can win all
the time. I return to the reading:
In God’s plan there is no place for selfish rivalry. Those who measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves among themselves, are not wise. – Education, pg. 226
(That is quoted from 2 Corinthians 10:12.)
Precious the service done and the education gained in carrying out these principles. But how widely different is much of the education now given! From the child’s earliest years it is an appeal to emulation and rivalry. – Ibid
Why, yes. Johnny scarcely gets the new worn off his books until his parents are saying, “Well, Johnny, are you at the head of your class? I want my boy to be at the head of the class.” Well, what does that mean? Well, if the other children in the class are dumb enough, Johnny doesn’t have to half try. He can be at the head of his class, you understand, just because he is surrounded with those that are slow.
But if the other students in the class are bright and active, try as he may, Johnny may never be at the head of his class. But his parents are after him. “Johnny, Johnny, can’t you do better than that? Why, look over there at Ray or Ralph or Harry, look they are getting A’s! Why can’t you do that? Study more, study more, bring your books home, and we will help you.”
From the child’s earliest years it is an appeal to emulation and rivalry, it fosters selfishness, the root of all evil. – Ibid
Read the rest of the page. Oh, friends, I repeat, I thank God there is something better for us than trying to beat others. Ah, but somebody says, “Well, why would anybody study, then?” Indeed, why would a person study if there was no program to honor the bright ones, and put dunce caps on the dumb ones, why would anybody study? Could it be that somebody would study to learn how to do God’s work? Could it be that somebody would study for the sheer joy of discovery in the great field of nature? Could it be that somebody would love to get acquainted with the trees and with the birds and with the flowers because the trees and the birds and the flowers are beautiful? Could it?
Could it be that somebody would want to study the human body in order to get acquainted with this temple that God has committed to our care, and would want to become well acquainted with the mysteries of the stomach, the liver, the lungs, the heart, the brain, so that he might be a good guardian of health, and that he might be a medical missionary to help others? Can even children learn to find joy in learning?
Oh, yes, friends. It needs not the spur and the lash of competition. True, this is a challenge to the Christian teacher, the Christian parent. Who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this? And then when we enter into the field of church activities. If harvest ingathering is to be raised, if Sabbath School goals are to be achieved, if other things are to be done, how is the way to do it? Well, you can take your choice, friends.
There is the wine of rivalry and competition which will stir men and spur men, and there is the appeal to the cross of Calvary, the love and sacrifice of Jesus. I wonder which will get the most done? Will you tell me, friends, that the cross of Calvary is not sufficient to move people and that they must be promised a dinner if their side wins, and they must furnish the dinner if their side loses, in order to raise money for the cause of Christ? Ah, friends, is love that poor, that cheap, that weak?
Will you repeat again that motto which has thrilled the hearts of God’s young people?
For the love of Christ constraineth us. – 2 Corinthians 5:14
Oh, that we may learn the meaning of that motive in all its heights and depths, in all its lengths and breadths, until with such an army of workers as our youth, rightly trained, might furnish, this message born on the wings of love is carried to every soul.
As we look into the face of Jesus, may we see that light shining down upon us, and may our upturned faces catch that glory and reflect it to others.
What a beautiful lesson, knowing that everyone may partake of God’s beautiful way… Invite a friend to join us, as we continue along this journey…
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.