Be a wheel-greaser

It used to be the fashion for children to be given autograph books in which to collect the signatures of the great and the good – or, if you didn’t know any of those, of visiting aunts or your school teachers.  Of course, the idea was that they would also write some wise saying or helpful advice.  I had such a book, I remember, though I don’t know what became of it.  I don’t recall collecting many signatures either, and, knowing my propensities, I probably used it to draw in!

My parents both had autograph books too.  I remember looking through them when I was a child; what happened to my father’s I don’t know, and just one page of my mother’s is still in existence.  She may have kept it because it contains a verse written there by her much-loved Auntie Alice.  This is how it reads:

Do what you can being what you are,

Shine like a glow-worm if you cannot like a star,

Work like a pulley if you cannot like a crane,

Be a wheel-greaser if you cannot drive a train.  

In other words, you could say, Auntie Alice’s message was to be faithful in the place where you are, and in the work you have been given to do.

In Matthew 20, the Lord Jesus told a parable about labourers who were hired by a landowner to work in his vineyard.  Some were hired early in the morning, some at other times throughout the day.  In the evening they were all paid exactly the same amount.  Commenting on this parable, Campbell Morgan writes, ‘The one plain meaning of this parable is that those who are highly privileged will not receive wage according to privilege, but according to fidelity.  Or again, those whose privilege is less, will not receive a less wage if they are true to the opportunity which comes to them.’

Whether we are wheel-greasers or engine drivers, may we be faithful in our service for Him who is Himself called Faithful and True. 

His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things.  Enter into the joy of your lord.’

                                                                                    Matthew 25: 21 and 23 

Forth in Thy Name, O Lord, I go,

My daily labour to pursue,

Thee, only Thee, resolved to know

In all I think, or speak, or do.


The task Thy wisdom hath assigned

O let me cheerfully fulfil,

In all my works Thy presence find,

And prove Thy good and perfect will.

                                      Charles Wesley