John Newton: On Vocation

Have you ever wondered what God’s will is for your vocation?

This is often a daunting task to think about especially if you’re unemployed, graduating soon, or have already graduated from school and have moved back in with Mom and Dad.  One of the reasons this can be such a troublesome thought process is that we’ve been tricked into thinking that we can only serve God if we’re doing full time “Christian ministry.”  That is ridiculous for a couple reasons:

1) Every Christian is a minister of the gospel wherever you go.

2) Though being a pastor is great, you don’t need to be a “pastor” to please God.

3) You can do what you enjoy and make much of God in the arena of your gifting.

Pastoral work, lumberjacks, mechanics, potters, carpenters, soldiers, real estate agents, bankers, lawyers are all good careers and in them God can ‘perhaps’ be glorified.  Perhaps.  I say “perhaps” because we won’t glorify God if we’re working in an arena which we’re not gifted to work in.  We glorify God in our vocation only if we’re laboring within the arena He’s gifted us to do.  How do we know what we’re gifted to do?  Answer this question within the parameters of godly thinking, as opposed to sinful thinking: what do you enjoy to do?

Hear John Newton on this topic:

Whatever we may undertake with a sincere desire to promote His glory, we may comfortably pursue. Nothing is trivial that is done for Him.

Amen.

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John Newton: The Poet

How tedious and tasteless the hours, when Jesus no longer I see!

Sweet prospects, sweet birds, and sweet flowers, have lost all their sweetness to me.

The mid-summer sun shines but dim, the fields strive in vain to look gay;

But when I am happy in Him, December’s as pleasant as May.

His name yields the richest perfume, and sweeter than music His voice;

His presence disperses my gloom, and makes all within me rejoice:

I should, were He always thus nigh, have nothing to wish or to fear;

No mortal so happy as I, my summer would last all the year.

Content with beholding His face, my all to His pleasure resigned,

No changes of season or place, would make any change in my mind.

While blessed with a sense of His love, a palace a toy would appear;

And prisons would palaces prove, if Jesus would dwell with me there.

Dear Lord, if indeed I am Thine, if Thou art my sun and my song;

Say, why do I languish and pine, and why are my winters so long?

O drive these dark clouds from my sky, Thy soul-cheering presence restore;

Or take me unto Thee on high, where winter and clouds are no more.

The Works of John Newton, Vol. 3, 358.

John Newton: The Parent

John Newton is well known for writing the historic song “Amazing Grace.”  What we don’t often hear about is his parenting.  His daughter, Betsy, was growing up and about to set sail in the vast seas of this world and John, being a godly father, had these words to encourage her voyage. May the same words be true of us as we seek to parent children in a fallen world.

I know there is an infallible Pilot, who has the winds and the waves at His command. There is hardly a day passes in which I do not entreat Him to take charge of you. Under His care I know you will be safe; He can guide you, unhurt, amidst the storms, and rocks, and dangers, by which you might otherwise suffer, and bring you, at last, to the haven of eternal rest…Our voyage through life will sometimes be incommoded by storms, but the Lord Jesus is an infallible, almighty Pilot. The winds and the seas obey him. None ever miscarried under his care; and He takes charge of all who entrust themselves to Him.

The Christian Life is Not Always Spring

Saw this on the Desiring God blog recently and was moved deeply by these words below. John Newton rightly tells us that Winter brings us a lesson. Namely, that it is not always Spring in the Christian Life. But though dark seasons come, Christ is precious through Spring and Winter.

How tedious and tasteless the hours,
When Jesus no longer I see!
Sweet prospects, sweet birds, and sweet flow’rs,
Have lost all their sweetness to me.
The mid-summer sun shines but dim,
The fields strive in vain to look gay;
But when I am happy in Him,
December’s as pleasant as May.

His name yields the richest perfume,
And sweeter than music His voice;
His presence disperses my gloom,
And makes all within me rejoice:
I should, were He always thus nigh,
Have nothing to wish or to fear;
No mortal so happy as I,
My summer would last all the year.

Content with beholding His face,
My all to His pleasure resigned,
No changes of season or place
Would make any change in my mind.
While blessed with a sense of His love,
A palace a toy would appear;
And prisons would palaces prove,
If Jesus would dwell with me there.

Dear Lord, if indeed I am Thine,
If Thou art my sun and my song;
Say, why do I languish and pine,
And why are my winters so long?
O drive these dark clouds from my sky,
Thy soul-cheering presence restore;
Or take me unto Thee on high,
Where winter and clouds are no more.

The Works of John Newton, Vol. 3, 358.