Wait on the Lord : a discourse : delivered by Rev. E.K. Love, of Thomasville, Ga.
In this 1882 sermon, preached to the Missionary Baptist Convention of Georgia, prominent Baptist leader Emanuel K. Love (1850-1900) delivered a message of religious uplift that also carried strong political overtones.
This does not only imply to patiently wait for a blessing from the Lord, though this is necessary. The Apostle tells us that after we have asked for a blessing, we must have patience to wait for it. This does not imply only, to calmly endure afflictions and troubles without complaint. Though this is our duty, not to murmur, nor complain beneath the chastening rod, this doesn't only mean that we must be perfectly resigned to every dispensation of his divine providence, notwithstanding this is our highest duty. In your patience possess ye your souls. Neither does it simply mean for us to go to church, and wait on him in the public worship, nor wait patiently for death, when we must change worlds. But to wait on the Lord, implies a service. We are not called upon to wait merely in the presence of the Lord. Some professed Christians remind me of an old man of whom it is said that his master told him to take his hoe and go and lay by a piece of corn, meaning to work it for the last time. He took his hoe, and (literally obeyed) laid down under the shade from morning till night. When his master inquired as to how he was getting on, he replied, "I am laying by it." The next day his master called to inspect the job, and found him in the shade, laying by the corn. When he commenced to scold and ask why he had done no work, he informed his master that he was not told to work, but to lay by the corn, which order he had obeyed. So with some church members; they seem to understand this "wait on the Lord," a mere "laying by." Instead of going into the vineyard of the Master and work, they take their tools, "once in Christ, never out" (a good old Baptist doctrine) and "I know the day, and I remember the time," and "lay by" the vineyard of the Lord. They are not working, but every time you call on them, they are laying by the vineyard, with that blessed old tool, "Once in Christ, never out," under their heads, and that other famous tool among us, "I know the day, and I remember the time," laying by their sides. Those who are called to wait on the Lord, must remember that they are called to service. Those who waited upon the king, served his guest. It was just as much their duty to serve his attendants, as to wait on him. We who are called to wait on the Lord, must serve his people. This is a most honorable position, as well as a fearful responsibility. More honorable it is than to wait on earthly kings. A position in which angels are justly proud. They wait in his august presence, willing and ready, at his fiat, to dart as lightning, to execute his command. To wait on the Lord, is to serve his people in every thing that subserves their good. I refer especially to the work of the colored ministry. We are the down trodden people of this country. Our people have served in bondage for two hundred and fifty years. Our people have been taught to be converted, and give their hearts to Jesus and serve their mistresses and masters honestly. They were not taught vital and living Christianity. They were practically taught that adultery was no harm, and that getting drunk was merely an amusement. They were substantially taught that it was a feat of industry to seize every opportunity which presented itself to rival their neighbors even if it robbed them of the dearest objects of their hearts. It is useless for me to consume your precious time to tell you how we were taught these erroneous doctrines. Suffice it, however, for me to state that we were born in ignorance. The only things we knew, we learned by imitation. These were some of the most damning evils that attended the system of slavery in this country. Sometimes many stayed in the same hut, and became so common with each other, that they thereby lost that chastity, modesty and self-respect which is so necessary to refinement and greatness. To eradicate these evils is the work of the colored ministry. Dear brethren, let us feel the magnitude of our work and fearful responsibility. To serve the people is to--Educate Them.
Full text (Library of Congress/African-American Perspectives: Pamphlets from the Daniel A.P.Murray Collection, 1818-1907)