Take my life and let it be consecrated Lord to Thee.
No doubt the lines of this familiar song has attracted many of you, and perhaps you often have sung it, either in group-singing or by yourself. Indeed, there is something attractive in it, a sound of perfect submission, and it strikes a chord within us, that is appealing for the Christian youth.
Today there is so little seen of that spirit. Life has become so involved, so complicated. There are new developments on every side. Positions of every kind are open for the taking. How flattering for our human nature, when asked, for instance, “Where are you working, or, what are you going to be?” And the reply is: O, I am studying for scientist, doctor, lawyer, engineering, philosophy, or bookkeeper, private secretary, stenographer, etc. etc. To work in a big bank building, or to go to college, raises the shoulder.
And do not misunderstand, we would not dare to say that such ambition is sinful or superfluous. Young people have their life before them and must choose a worthy occupation. Besides, we are living in a time of highest opportunities to go ahead. High School, College, University is open for everyone who is able to learn and to develop the God-given talent.
When we see such brilliant young people in our day, and hear of their comprehensive minds, to search and develop the things which God had laid in the earth, or in the sky, when mysteries are unfolded in science of which we never dreamed before, we are apt to ask ourselves the question: Are these people at heart really happy in their work; does it give satisfaction to their soul? The answer is inevitably a definite NO. Any work apart from God cannot give the desired happiness. All things, whatsoever we do, must be done to God’s honor and glory. Then only can we find real joy in it.
And so especially as Christian young people, we must have a definite goal in mind when choosing an occupation. We must ask ourselves often the question, “In which way can my future life be most consecrated and devoted to my Lord?” This is a serious question, for then we stand immediately before a choice and a great responsibility.
Here is a challenge for our youth:
We have Christian institutions of benevolence, where help is needed very much. At present there is in Cutlerville a very modern and well equipped new wing added to the Pine Rest, and there is also an every growing list of patients waiting to be taken in. But the strange phenomenon is: there is no help! What, ask the world? Have you no help among your own young people? What is your Christianity worth if there is no spirit of devotion and consecration to help those sufferers?
Let us search ourselves, young people. Is there probably a misunderstanding about this line of work? Why does it not appeal to you?–I know some people think you have to act like a guard in a prison-house. Be stern and firm with the patients, prevent them from danger and doing wrong. But what a cold conception of such a beautiful work of mercy. It is true, the work at Cutlerville requires determination of purpose and sympathy toward the sufferer, for Christ’s sake. Let me tell you there is a hidden joy, a secret in that work which nobody can taste but he or she who throws themselves wholeheartedly into it. When we, by the grace of God, may look upon these patients as originally created after God’s image, endowed with soundness in mind and body, and then to behold what havoc sin has wrought in the mind of some of these people, then we begin to wonder and become humble and thankful for what we have received. Then we try, if possible, to eleviate their suffering. By winning their confidence you become their friend and they in turn become your friend, ties of friendship are created between nurse and patient, especially when you watch the golden opportunity, when in their bright moments or days you can comfort and encourage them with the only comfort in life and death, our Lord Jesus Christ. And remember, most of these patients come from Christian homes, used to go to church, sing the Psalms and still know who to sing them. They are part of the Church, members of the body of Christ, of which you also confess to be a member.
I am sure there are here and there young boys or girls growing into man or womanhood. You are perhaps physically strong and mentally able to take upon you this work. Ask yourselves the question? Could I perhaps be of help to these afflicted brothers and sisters in the Lord? Could I bring them some cheer in their gloom? Try it! Ask those who have spent part of their life in this work of mercy, how they have benefited and they will assure you the reward in this work was not material gain, but the work, though often difficult has always been worthwhile and a great pleasure. Not when we look for a big bank account, for a name, for honor in this world, but if you may by faith look forward to that unseen reward which we believe shall be the portion of all those who faithfully have served here on earth in the cause of God’s Kingdom, we would suggest that you . . . .
Miss Woudenberg spent ten “glorious” years serving the sick in the Cutlerville Hospital. Even now, as she looks back on those years, she says with enthusiasm, “I would not exchange those years of blessedness for all the honor or money in the world. To be able to do little deeds of mercy for those who must receive mercy, to be able in some little way to help those who are helpless, teaches one to be grateful, to be humble and meek, and above all to give God the glory for all His benefits to us and His marvelous ways. This is a wonderful work!” Miss Woudenberg can go on for hours in the most interesting fashion. I am sure she would be glad to give anyone details about her work as nurse in this institution.