Wilson Reid - Letter to Bernice - Verdan Cold, Holland - March 24, 1936

Verdan Cold, Holland

March 24, 1936

 

Dear Bernice,

Yours came to hand this a.m. and one each from Kath and Willie Brown yesterday.  I expect I will be hearing from Kath again as I sent her a letter sometime ago which she will acknowledge, if she gets it.  I did not register it, but it will get through safe I am sure.  I won’t therefore, write to her now, but will after hearing from her.  In the meantime, I will be glad if you let her know I had hers, or let her read this.  The other letter I enclosed was from the Congo.  It also came this a.m. and I should like her to see that there are people there also in the Way of God.  I always think back with gladness to the day we visited this man and his wife and how he asked us, after a talk, to pray for him.  Later his wife decided, and I believe she is the writer of the letter.  The other brothers laboured there before us, of course, just as Willie and Eddie had done in Egypt.  It was not I, therefore, who laboured for them, but I am glad to have been a little help to delivering them.  I look forward to seeing them someday and we never know but that Kath may also.

 

In the meantime, the thing for you to do is get well and leave the matter of the future with God.  If, as you say, you can find work and Kath also when strong enough, it will give you the experience of Christians at home which is really the foundation.  Most of the people we ever see get saved are people who must live at their homes in the service of God.  It is the few who go forth to preach, and if we are to help them we must also have had the experience of serving God at home.  God wills that we can speak from practical experience.  It was from among disciples that Jesus chose Apostles, so to say, we make disciples from among the unsaved, but Apostles, ones sent to preach, from among the disciples.  Any Christian in God’s way is a disciple, but all disciples are not Apostles.  It is therefore, needful to be a good disciple and be taken forth with Him as an apostle, so with Jesus and those He took.  Jesus, Himself first served as a carpenter and I like to think how he had the approval of God on both sections of His life:  one might way the life as a disciple and as an Apostle.  When He left the carpenter’s bench at thirty years of age, and went forth to preach, God said of Him, “this is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.”  He had the approval of God on this part of His life.  God said not at this time, “Hear ye Him,” because Jesus had not yet been doing the work of an apostle and preacher of the Gospel.  God testified both of His life and preaching and said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased, hear ye Him.”

 

To me, it is very clear, and not only because the word of God says so, but from my own experience and that of others.  I never forget in this connection what a brother worker in South Africa once told me.  He attended some meetings in Edinborough and from the first he could see the truth.  He had been very religious before this in the Baptist way and was anxious to work for God.  In this Way he found his way into the work, without having a practical experience at home, and he said he always felt it was a weakness in his life when he came to help others.  At the time, he naturally thought it fine to get out so soon, but he would now be glad had it been otherwise.  If you don’t get it before you go out, you can never go back and get it afterwards.  Therefore, I also advised Woodly to have first a good experience at home and to leave the other, and I believe he did so and had a very good time in S.A.  It is surely very needful and I am glad you think of this.  I could not be true to you, to Kath, or to anyone else, or to God, if I advised otherwise.  There is so much we need to learn by practical experience else we would be like the man building without a foundation.  We would be like the sayer without having been a doer, and our words could only be empty.  I believe that I may have been guilty, to some extent, ignorant, of spoiling one young life in South Africa by this, and indeed two whom I can think of.  I was young in every way and thought that nothing else but the work of preaching was important.

 

Then also, one may be fit to be the sheep sacrifice, but not the bullock.  The Bullock, as we read in Leviticus 1 God does not expect impossibilities or beyond what we have.  It takes strength of body also to be the bullock and if we attempt to make a sheep do it, it can only end in failure for the work, and death and disaster for the sheep.  Then also the sheep could serve more than the turtle-doves or pigeons, and yet all consumed on the altar were a sweet smelling savour to God.  To my mind, the turtle-dove sacrifice would speak of a person who had not much to give to God, maybe a person with not much strength, and not long to live, or perhaps an old person whose life is now behind and which never again can be put before, whereas the old could only dream out what they could and would have done had it been possible.  We can see the Dove Sacrifice was not dealt with the same as the sheep and bullock.  It was not divided up, and the priest did most in connection with it, whereas the person that offered the sheep and the Bullock had quite a little to do.  They could serve, and I believe the sheep sacrifice would speak of that of an ordinary person at home, who can be useful there, and who will at least stand on the right hand and hear, “Come ye blessed of my Father – for I was hungry and ye gave Me meat, thirsty and ye gave Me drink, a stranger and ye took Me in, etc.”  These people had homes and could receive those who for His sake had no homes.  They could serve as the sheep.  They laboured, not directly in pulling the plough or wagon, as the ox or bullock, but they were fellowhelpers to the truth as Gaius – read this in connection, 3 John.  Gaius was as the sheep who serves at home.  Naturally we see that a sheep does not labour, but sacrifices in giving its wool and flesh, clothing [and] food, the two things which Jesus promised His disciples when He sent them as apostles.  (See Matthew 6).  One might say that the disciples are much like the sheep and the bullock who labour, like the apostles, but all work together for the extension of the same kingdom and can all, at the end sing the same song as we read in Revelations 5, the elders and the living creatures.  It is nice I may say to see these two companies, were redeemed people by the blood of Christ and who have been made Kings and Priests by Him.  I believe that they were true over-comers from among the disciples and apostles and they now had a place around in the midst of the throne, but I must not say more of this.  I would like to say a little of the bullock sacrifices.  The man had to bring it there, also the other man the sheep.  They had to kill them, skin, and divide them into their pieces and then the priest kind lit the fire and provided the wood.  It shows that whether we are the bullock or sheep sacrifice, we must die at our own hand, to our own interests.  We must also, when we become the sacrifice, be willing to strip ourselves of all we had clothed ourselves before, this skin was never put on the altar – God did not accept it, but as you can read, it says there further on that “the priest that offers any man’s burnt offering, even he shall have the skin.”  This was the only portion of the sheep or bullock that was not accepted by God.  The devil is always anxious to get us clothed in a wrong way, just as Adam and Eve were with the fig leaves, because he knows that when God clothes us in His Way it will be hard to lay the other off, for which he has laboured.  It is cruel, however, to attempt to take the skin off before the time that the sheep or bullock is dead.  It means unnecessary suffering, because if people are honest and God can reveal it to them, they will do it themselves and they won’t feel it.  A dead bullock or sheep feels nothing, and the skin comes off very easily, but while living it is not only suffering, but hard and cruel.  It is far better to wait and let people see for themselves, and if they never see for themselves, we will be better off without them.  The skin can never go on the altar, but we can learn lessons from what those people have been.  This is the sense I think, in which the priest benefited from the skin.  The man was to cut up his bullock or sheep.  I think it means to have to leave ourselves at the disposal of God to let Him use us how and where He will.  Man himself put not the pieces on the altar, but the priest who was there to do God’s part.  God knows best where we can fill a place, and if He can use one part here and one part there in the world, we need to be willing.  He will order our lives and also kindle fire of love and zeal and all that is needed to consume us.  I like to think of the provision for our cleansing in the respects in which we cannot avoid a certain amount of uncleanness.  The bullock or sheep could not fly to the place, their feet had to come in contact with ground.  And they could not avoid inward uncleanness which the food, upon which their existence depended produced.  Therefore, He said, “His inwards and his legs – the person – shall wash in water, and the priest shall burn on the altar.”

 

It shows that it is not only the blood for cleansing of our past, but the water of the Word of God to cleanse us inwardly and outwardly and make us acceptable to God.  Therefore also, I think, came forth from Christ on the cross, both “Blood and water.” – when the soldier pierced Him – I hope therefore you and Kath will go on and get well and have a place on the altar of God, and if you can never have strength to be as the bullock and pull the plough or wagon, be content to be the sheep and live and work at home, in fellowship with those who can.  As I said before, to attempt to make the sheep do the work of a bullock would only leave the work undone and kill the sheep in the bargain.  As we said, the over-comers among the disciples can have a place around the throne of God which the others also could have while they too could be in the midst of it – I mean the living creatures or messengers.  They could also sing the same song and say we shall reign on earth.  I think it is in the thousand years mentioned in Revelation 20.  The Kings, over-comers – and priests are mentioned three times in Revelation 1:5 and 20.  This is what He who loved us and bought us with His own blood can make us.  I hope we may be willing whether as a bullock or sheep, and have a part with Him in His reign on earth and a place with Him in the midst of the throne of Heaven.  I like to notice that when we read of Jesus the slain Lamb, that He was in the midst of the throne and of four living creatures and in the midst of the elders.  He was the center of all and the only one who could clearly open the book of God, and the seals wherewith it was sealed.  I can see how clearly the Bible was a seven sealed book for me, which I could not open or look therein, until I saw a man with the marks of a slain lamb in his life.  When I looked on the clergy man and the other big preachers, I saw nothing of what I read there, but when I saw a man in the Way of Jesus, the slain lamb of God, it began to open up and I could look therein and understand.  Jesus is not now on earth to open the book for people, as He did for His disciples of old, when their hearts burned within them as they listened, but He does it through those who go forth to represent Him and with the same marks in their lives.  He says on the judgment, Matthew 25, “insasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these, ye did it unto Me.”  They represented Him and had the same marks in their lives.  And I am sure that the devil is anxious to destroy these marks, as he knows then that the book of God would remain sealed.  I like the verse which says no one in heaven or in earth or under the earth could open this book or see therein, and surely it is still something to weep over, as John did when it is so.  People sometimes say to us, “Has God only one way?” but how clearly we can see it here, that there was only one way and that was by sacrifice in the first place of His Son, and now through Him in those He sends forth to preach and represent Him on earth.  I hope the Lord will help you both and fit you for His service in whatever your strength can afford, and if you can't be bullocks, make up your minds to be good sheep.  God will show you later, and will still very gladly do all we can.