In 2003 my parents gave me an old book written in 1962 entitled, Radiant Glory, The Life of Martha Wing Robinson. Before receiving this book, I had never heard of her. Even though she lived long ago (1874-1936) and her dialogue resonates like Old English, my eyes were glued to the pages of this book. Her words impacted me.
“Ignorance, even dense ignorance, need not stand in the way of service for the Lord. He has made no instrument he cannot use. The spade that digs the foundation of the beautiful temple is as useful in its place as the sculptor’s chisel that carves the stone. But it would be useful only as a spade; the builder would not attempt to do with it the work of a chisel.
Absolute consecration means wholly used for the Lord. Not until one can say, “Use me, Lord, as Thou wilt, where Thou wilt, when Thou wilt,” does he become an instrument of use in the Lord’s hands. “O, to be nothing”—“a broken and emptied vessel for the Master’s use…” Here lies a difficulty. How few are willing to be nothing. How many say rather, “Lord take me. Do with me some great work,” and add, it is to be feared, perhaps unconsciously, “and let all men see my greatness by my work.”
Not until we are willing to do what He tells us, to stay where He puts us, can we be of use. Not until we are glad to be little in His service, can we be much. Not that we should be satisfied to give little when we have much. Not that we should be “nothing” in His service and much to the world. We should give all to His service, place ourselves in His hand. He alone can decide whether He needs us most in a small field or a large one. There are so few large fields; there are so many small ones.
I was reading the other day that in this Spanish [American] War there were hundreds of applications for official positions to every one position. So it is in God’s works: he needs privates in His army who are to do the inglorious work. It is a [poor] reflection upon His goodness and His wisdom to say, “There is nothing I can do. I am ignorant. I have no talent. There is no use of my trying to be of service.”
God did not put you into the world to be a stumbling-block. He made nothing He could not use. Christ’s own disciples were ignorant fisherman. God has made more common people than uncommon ones, more average intellects than brilliant ones, more dull people than geniuses. There is but one conclusion to draw, therefore, and that is, He has more use for the commonplace person.
One thing is absolutely without question. There is work for each one to do, a place for each one to fill. No one but God knows how wide the place may become before the work is finished, but this is certain, the field will not widen until the waste places already given are utilized. If you cannot care for a few square feet, you cannot get an acre; if you cannot cultivate a small field, God will not give you a large one.
But says one, “I am not wishing to cultivate a large field. I am perfectly willing to cultivate a few square feet all my life, but I am not sure I am capable to do even that.” Yet what right have you to doubt? Be assured you are capable of cultivating exactly what the Lord has given you. You are capable, and if you do not do it, it is because you will not.
But in reference to a previous remark, why are you willing to cultivate “a few feet”? Is it because you are humble, or because you are lazy—too lazy to take a large field? Are you satisfied to do less than the Lord needs of you? Are you satisfied to cultivate a small field, when God has planned to give you a large one?
One’s duty is to do well [with] the little. Cultivate and recultivate, dig and sow, plan and pray. Use every opportunity, every moment, every bit of strength, and then if God wills, the larger field will open. If He does not will, then at least what you have all along desired is yours, a well-cultivated bit of ground. You have sown and the harvest is ready for the Master. You have done with your might what your hand found to do. If He wills to give a larger field (which He will not until you are ready), then all your experience goes to help you in your broader work.
No matter how small, how plain, how insignificant one’s task is, God knows all about it. And He knows as well when the task is neglected. The little thing undone shows as clearly as if it were a great thing. The little life ill-spent is as sad a sight to God as the great life ill-spent. And there is another thought—No life, no matter how insignificant, can be without influence.”
The book states, “Converted from near atheism just before the turn of the century, Martha Wing Robinson immediately consecrated herself to a life of prayer, bible study and implicit obedience to the will of God. At the time of her conversion, she was a hopeless invalid, but during the course of her seeking God, she was made every whit whole and entered upon a life of active Christian service.”
—Radiant Glory, The Life of Martha Wing Robinson, posted by Margaret R. Wilder
For other uplifting devotions, please click links below:
- More Precious Than Gold – Margaret R. Wilder
- Be Still – Margaret R. Wilder
- “Where are you God?” – Part I – Margaret R. Wilder
- Do Not Be Afraid – Margaret R. Wilder
- Rebellion In The Wilderness – Margaret R. Wilder
- Save Me From My Misery! – Part I – Margaret R. Wilder
- Save Me From My Misery! – Part II – Margaret R. Wilder
- Save Me From My Misery! – Part III – Margaret R. Wilder
- Like Medicine For My Soul – Margaret R. Wilder
- Divine Protection – Guardian Angels! – Margaret R. Wilder
I got this book in 1998, two years after my start with Jesus, and was absolutely amazed and worked with it for my own christian way, for many years. – Today, I must say, I am not so sure anymore that I could recommend this book without any reservations. – Much of the spiritual process which it describes, today seems to me as a product of very hard discipline of own efforts, coming out of the flesh.- An other critical
aspect today is for me this described turning into a complete marionette without the slightest own wish. – But does Jesus want a bride who is just a puppet on a string, or does He want a real dialogue between Him and us? – The whole atmosphere of the book, with pictures and everything, now seems to me like that of a monastry. No fresh air! – But maybe it’s my fault, God knows. Thanks for sharing.
Hello Nathalie! Sorry, I did not see your reply on my blog until recently. I am actively blogging and reading messages now. Thanks so much for visiting my blog in 2013 and sending me this message. (Wow that was 5 years ago!) I totally understand what you are saying in your message as there were parts of her book that were hard to read, fathom and embrace. However, what I have learned as there are spiritual nuggets of wisdom that we can glean from those who have traveled this road before us. I totally agreed with Martha Wing Robinson’s statements in my blog and felt they were very insightful. The time in which she lived was extremely hard and I thank God that we have been privileged to live in a different era. I agree that Jesus definitely does not want puppets, but those who seek him in spirit and in truth. The book is very dated and much of it pertains to another era, but I pray you embraced what you could use in your spiritual life and that you are continuing your walk with Jesus. I have updated my blog and am adding to it regularly. I hope you have a chance to visit again. You can also reach it by going to http://RenewMyStrength.com — God bless you today! Sincerely, Margaret R. Wilder
Her words impacted me too! I read the book few years ago, every prayer she prayed in the book, I prayed also. These days I read the book third time and this is what I’m longing for: Christ in me, Christ through me, he is my everything!!!! Martina from Austria
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This was my Great Aunt, there is Radiant Glory, a 2nd book and I believe a 3rd book,all by Gordon Garden of Zion, Il. I’d like to have a copy of the 3rd book as I already have the 1st two…?
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Hellow Vivien, So sorry that I did not see your reply on my blog until recently. I am actively blogging and reading messages now. Thanks so much for visiting my blog in 2015 and sending me this message. What a wonderful spiritual heritage you have! I do not have the other books. I am reviewing other old books that are really great. Check our my story by a little know minister, William Arthur Ward, of Richmond, VA. I knew him and was blessed to sit under his ministry. I have updated my blog and am adding to it regularly. I hope you have a chance to visit me again. You can also reach it by going to http://RenewMyStrength.com — God bless you today! Sincerely, Margaret R. Wilder
What a person, she was in touch with God.
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Sorry, I did not see your reply on my blog until recently. I am actively blogging and reading messages now. Thanks so much for visiting my blog in 2015 and sending me this message. I have updated my blog and am adding to it regularly. I hope you have a chance to visit again. You can also reach it by going to http://RenewMyStrength.com — God bless you today! Sincerely, Margaret R. Wilder
I knew Gorgen Gardner. Work at Pilgrim Camp in N.Y. for several years in the 60s.
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Wow! Amazing! Thanks for visiting my Blog! God bless you today! Sincerely, Margaret R. Wilder