My text to-day is in my pocket. Here
it is—a watch, very old, and very large and very heavy because it is gold.
It belonged to a man who came to this country from the Parish of Spott,
near Dunbar in Scotland, nearly 100 years ago. The journey from Leith to
B.A. took 6 weeks. Only the other day a friend of mine did the journey by
aeroplane to Rio, and Zeppelin to Europe, in 6 days. The man who owned the
watch was very poor when he came here. But soon people found that they
could trust him, and by hard and honest work he built up a large business,
and although he died long ago, his name to-day and the business he founded
are well known, and highly esteemed.
Now in 5 more days you will all be
going home from school for your month’s midwinter holidays. How time
flies! Do you remember the old saying
— "Seize time by
the forelock; it has no hair behind
?" That means that if
you waste time or lose time you can never never get it back. You can lose
a watch, a knife, or a pencil, and get it back. You can never get time
(1) So the first lesson to remember whenever you look
at a watch is this. Be in time— be punctual. When the bell rings in the
morning don’t say to yourself that you can turn round in bed and have ten
minutes more sleep. When the time for prep’ comes in the evening, don’t
say to yourself that you’ll do it in the morning. Make this your motto for
all life — DO IT NOW.
The past is gone beyond recall;
The future is not yours.
Look at this watch again. I began speaking to you about
2 minutes ago. These 2 minutes are gone for ever. You and I can never get
these 2 minutes back again. And look, too, at the words which the owner of
this watch had requested to be printed on the face of the watch
— NIGHT COMETH. Every time he looked at his
watch he was reminding himself of what Jesus once said;
"The night cometh when no man can work". Will you try
to remember that when you look at your watch?
(2). Here is another useful lesson from a watch. Its
most important part is not the outside but the inside, what you don’t see,
the wheels and springs.
And so it is with each of you in God’s sight. With Him
what counts is your heart. He will not ask about the homes you come from,
or the clothes you wear, or whether your fathers and mothers have big
houses or little houses. He will ask what kind of heart you have. I
remember a poem in a school-book which I had long ago. The poem was called
Gentleman John. The only verse I can recall was this— ‘Tis not the honest
brown dirt, my lad, That makes a man’s hand unclean;
‘Tis what he does that is base and bad,
‘Tis what is cruel and mean.
‘Tis what you have in you, not what you have on,
That ever will make you a gentleman, John."
(3). And here is one more lesson to remember. How does
a watch bring honour to its maker? By keeping perfect time
—by doing its work well and quietly. The better
the watch, the quieter the tick. This watch was made by a man called
Joseph Benlington in Liverpool, and it is still bringing honour to that
man’s name. Notice specially that Joseph Benlington wasn’t ashamed to put
his name on the watch he made. God has stamped His name on each of you.
Are you trying to bring Him honour? Try to use your time always in such a
way that God, will never be ashamed of you. And that will make the last 5
minutes a valuably spent 5 minutes of your very valuable lives.