Every Man Has His Place
( Originally Published 1902 )
IN our boyhood we frequently went hunting through the woods. We were looking for quails in the dead grass, and for squirrels in the trees. We took two dogs along to find the game ; a little black dog which was called Jack, for squirrels, and a handsome pointer called Dan, for the birds. We had considerable difficulty in holding the dogs in, at the proper time every now and then Jack would slip away from us in the field, and, catching the scent or the sight of the birds, would pursue them and get them out of range of the guns ; and Dan, feeling unusually gay, would break away from us in the woods, and in his wide ranges would scare every squirrel within a quarter of a mile of us, into the top of the highest tree ; now and then he would come to a full stand on the track a squirrel had made some time before. So it was with considerable skill and patience that we kept each dog undisturbed, on his own territory. If Jack found the trail he followed it quickly until he had sent the squirrel up a tree, when he gave a short bark if we were near, and several louder barks if we were some distance away, to indicate to us the fact that he had found and imprisoned the game. I do not recall his ever fooling us. When we came to the field, Dan covered every inch of the ground, first going to one side and then to the other. When he came near to the birds he went cautiously, and still more cautiously till he came to a stand ; with eyes set, tail rigid, and body immovable as a statue. At a word of command, he took a step or two, and up went the birds and our opportunity for the shot came. After all the shots had been made that were possible on the one point, he went after the dead and wounded birds, and brought them in. Jack was a fool in the field with the birds, Dan had no sense in the woods with the squirrels, but each was an expert in his own territory.
Every dog has his place; so has every man, if he can find it. Many men do find it, and are useful and happy ; many are a misfit, and are neither successful nor happy. They are the black Jacks, trying in vain to catch quails; they are the Dans, having as little success in hunting squirrels. There are professional men who ought to be merchants and mechanics, and vice versa. The God that made one dog to hunt animals with feathers and another to hunt those with fur, will by human instinct, reason, affection, and the direction of the Holy, Spirit, lead his children out into that occupation where they will have the largest happiness and usefulness.
Every person has his place in the kingdom of God, in practical church work. The failure to recognize this individual adaptation to spiritual work, results in a lack of efficiency and of true success. Every true minister of the Gospel is called unerringly to his sacred task; every child of God is called to some specific work, for which he has peculiar adaptation, and he will have the aid of the Holy Spirit in the selection and prosecution of his work, if he will only ask for it.