Wasted Strength
Isaiah 55:2, 3
Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfies not? listen diligently to me…

It has often been remarked of the criminal population that, if they would only give to honest and honourable pursuits the same patient attention, the same untiring energy, the same keen ingenuity, which they now devote to illegal schemes, they would soon rise to competence and honour. Perhaps the essence of this great mistake may be found in those who are very far removed from the criminal class; there are many in all vocations and positions of life who are wasting their strength on that which is unprofitable, who might be effecting great things for others or for themselves if they would only "labour for that which satisfies." This principle will apply to -

I. THE STUDY OF THE BIBLE. What immense pains were taken by the scribes of our Lord's time in mastering the minute points of Old Testament Scripture! It ended in a barren and guilty formalism which called down the severest condemnations that came from the lips of Christ. If they had only spent their strength on gaining the heavenly wisdom with which those sacred pages are enriched, they would have been much better men, and would have received the Messiah in a very different spirit. We, too, may expend a vast amount of unprofitable labour on the Scriptures, trying to secure their sanction for our fancies or foibles, and leave untouched their springs of truth and power and life.

II. THE WORK IN THE MASTER'S VINEYARD. We shall certainly not include in wasted strength or unsatisfying labour the energy spent in laying, the foundation, although the workman may not live to see the walls of the building use; this may be the most honourable, remunerative, profoundly satisfying work of a man's life: this, indeed, was the work of the Saviour of mankind. But we shall include:

1. Labour which is merely superficial, which the wind of changing circumstance soon "driveth away."

2. The deliverance of one-sided truth - a statement of doctrine which is so partial as to be practically false. This must issue in disappointment; it is building of "wood, hay, and stubble," which will be burned.

3. Irreverent activity, on which the blessing of God is not sought, and on which, consequently, it does not descend.


1. All men seek happiness; they give freely of their various resources to obtain it - money, strength, ingenuity, patience; they endure hardship and even suffering in order to secure it.

2. A very large proportion of mankind is bitterly disappointed. What promised to be bread turns out to be chaff; what looked like satisfaction in the distance proves to be weariness and heartache in experience.

3. The disappointment is due to one fundamental mistake - they adopt a false method. They risk everything on some one object - wealth, fame, power, pleasure, friendship - which either eludes their grasp or proves unsatisfying and vain. They should become the active servants of God, listening when he speaks, accepting what he offers, going whither he directs. In the earnest, faithful service of a Divine Saviour is happiness of the truest kind - blessedness, well-being, life; the pure, lasting satisfaction of the soul. - C.

Parallel Verses
KJV: Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

WEB: Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which doesn't satisfy? listen diligently to me, and eat you that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

Vain Expenditure on Things
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