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The Willing Mind
1 Chronicles 28:9
God does not enter man's heart till man himself opens the door. The turning-point with a man is when he surrenders freely his will to God. God's greatest power towards a man is seen in subduing his will. It is the strongest fortress that He takes. The service which He requires from His people is a willing service.
I. A Willing Mind Triumphs over Difficulties. There are those who cast about for or make difficulties, the unwilling. They admit the force of your reasoning, but create barriers, or at least exaggerate them. Like children that deface their book that they may escape learning their lessons. Another class have uncommonly clear eyes for seeing difficulties clearer than for seeing duties. Difficulties are to them like the large letters on great posters, and duties like the small letters which people pass without observing. Such people have weak inclinations. They would rather be good and do good, but they are, on the whole, open for influences in one direction or another, just as they come. 'A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.' 'Willing,' in the text, is opposed not only to unwilling, but to mere inclining. The mere wisher dreams, the wilier prepares for work. For example, in the matter of temptation. How many who complain of temptations have really a strongly willing mind to resist them? So with attendance at the house of God. So with working for Christ. Very feasible reasons can be given sometimes for the omission of such duties. Counter-arguments may seem weak in comparison, but the 'willing mind' would cut its way through all.
II. A Willing Mind Makes Duty Pleasant. Duty and pleasure are often opposed to each other. They set out with different objects, and own different authorities. The very essence of duty is the sacrifice of our own will. 'Even Christ pleased not Himself.' 'I came not to do Mine own will.' Christ's will from the first was lost in His Father's; His very meat and drink was to do His will. Man, on the other hand, is naturally in arms against duty i.e. against God. Duty comes awkward to him like learning to work tools. For a time old habit makes the proper handling very irksome and tiresome, but after we have learned the art there is pleasure in it. Then what is right and what is pleasing are the same thing. So, in room of trying to shirk duty, set about bringing your mind to it.
III. A Willing Mind Ennobles Service. It is not hard work which constitutes slavery. The difference between the slave and the freeman is the 'willing mind'. It was the indolent servant who thought his lord an 'austere' master. To the willing mind all service is alike noble anointing the head or washing the feet. What would be irksome and be felt humbling to others is a joy to the mother of a child.
IV. A Willing Mind Makes our Offerings Acceptable. 'To the noble mind rich gifts wax poor when givers prove unkind.' God will be contented with nothing but the heart. Serve Him with a perfect heart and with a 'willing mind'.
References. XXVIII. 9. G. Brooks, Outlines of Sermons, p. 127. XXVIII. 10. A. G. Brown, Penny Pulpit, No. 1061. XXIX. 1. C. Perren, Outline Sermons, p. 228. G. W. Rutherford, The Key of Knowledge, p. 216. G. G. Bradley, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xx. p. 289. XXIX. 5. C. Perren, Revival Sermons, p. 220. F. E. Paget, Helps and Hindrances to the Christian Life, vol. ii. p. 254.
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Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on 1 Chronicles 28". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 15 / Ordinary 20