A Brief Meditation for the Month

December 2020

When Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, from 1861–1865, was assassinated, it was not unexpected. Prior to the cruel event, Lincoln, aware of the plots against him, had sought to take precautionary measures during his many travels, but in the end, they were not enough. On 14th of April 1865, struck down by his assassin’s bullet, Abraham Lincoln was ushered from this scene of time into eternity.

Lincoln was regularly warned and advised by concerned friends about the danger he was in because of popish plots against him, instigated by the Jesuits. He was not at all ignorant of the constant threat he was under: being an avowed believer in divine providence, Abraham Lincoln was resigned to the will of God, whatever that would entail. On one occasion, he stated to one of his close friends, “Man must not care where and when he will die, provided he dies at the post of honour and duty.” Thus, Lincoln, living as he did under the constant threat of death, lived nevertheless, in a perpetual state of readiness to be called away from the onerous responsibilities he believed God had placed upon him.

We may never have to shoulder the kind of responsibilities that Abraham Lincoln was required to carry in office; nevertheless, we all have our appointed place in this world for a brief period. This being so, we ought to listen to the wise counsel of Solomon, who said, “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.” Ecclesiastes 9:10. Even our Saviour testified to the limited opportunity for God’s service during earthly life. He stated: “I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.” John 9:4. The day of opportunity for any of us is at best, but short.

As we enter the final month of another year, we are made aware of the rapid passing of our mortal lives. It is impossible for us to hold time back or to halt our advance towards eternity. As C. T. Studd aptly observed, “Only one life, ’twill soon be past, only what’s done for Christ will last.” Whether engaged in publicly proclaiming God’s word, administering care to those in need, raising children for Christ’s kingdom, giving a cup of cold water to a thirsty child in Christ’s name, or perhaps just being patient under difficult providences; everything ought to be done to please and glorify God, 1Corinthians 10:31. Whatever the lot assigned to us in divine providence, whether it be an attention-catching one or entirely mundane, everything is to be done joyfully as unto the Lord. The Old Testament prophet, Micah, reminds us of our duty in his words: “He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8. These words sum up succinctly the purpose of our lives. To fulfil these obligations, however, it is essential that we be reconciled to God; that our rebellious natures be subdued, and our wills be renewed by divine power. When our wills are conformed to the divine will, then we happily remain at our appointed post, doing our God-appointed duty, ready to be called to account at any moment. How blessed it is to be living in a state of readiness for the call from earthly duties to heavenly glory. The great apostle Paul could write to Timothy, “I am now ready,” 2Timothy 4:6. Jesus says to all of us: “Be ye also ready,” Matthew 24:44.

G. G. Hutton.