Giving, Not Getting
Jesus went on: “Does anyone bring a lamp home and put it under a washtub or beneath the bed? Don’t you put it up on a table or on the mantel? We’re not keeping secrets, we’re telling them; we’re not hiding things, we’re bringing them out into the open.
“Are you listening to this? Really listening?
“Listen carefully to what I am saying—and be wary of the shrewd advice that tells you how to get ahead in the world on your own. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes.” Mark 4:21-25
God has an innumerable, magnificently abundant variety of ways to seek after those who are His. When the Holy Spirit begins to draw you unto His Son, He will continue to woo you gently and in His mercy employ desperate measures to draw you into His everlasting love and life. Consider well the following testimony:
Born in Massachusetts, Daniel Webster Whittle was named after the famed New England attorney, statesman and politician Daniel Webster (1782-1852). He served in the American Civil War, attaining the rank of major. During one battle, he was severely wounded, losing an arm, and he ended up in a prisoner of war camp. It was during that time that he put his faith in Christ, and his conversion was unusual, to say the least.
Because of his injury, Whittle spent a long time in the prison hospital. Having nothing to read while he convalesced, he took up a New Testament his mother had packed in his belongings. He read and read it, with growing interest. A short time later, an orderly awoke him, saying a dying prisoner wanted him to pray with him. Seeing him reading his Bible, the hospital orderly had assumed he was a Christian, which he was not. But he finally agreed to make his way to the boy’s beside. Major Whittle says:
“I dropped on my knees and held the boy’s hand in mine. In a few broken words I confessed my sins and asked Christ to forgive me. I believed right there that He did forgive me. I then prayed earnestly for the boy. He became quiet and pressed my hand as I prayed and pleaded God’s promises. When I arose from my knees, he was dead. A look of peace had come over his troubled face, and I cannot but believe that God who used him to bring me to the Savior, used me to lead him to trust Christ’s precious blood and find pardon. I hope to meet him in heaven.”
Daniel Whittle went on to become an effective evangelist after the war, and he wrote many gospel songs. Quite a few of these are still found in hymnals and gospel song books. Meanwhile, here are a few of them:
Beloved, Now Are We the Sons of God
Christ Liveth in Me
Have You Any Room for Jesus? (adapted from an anonymous poem)
I Know Whom I Have Believed
Moment by Moment
The Banner of the Cross
The Crowning Day Is Coming
There Shall Be Showers of Blessing
Why Not Now?
The song “I Know Whom I Have Believed” is based on the testimony of the Apostle Paul: “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day” (II Tim. 1:12). It is a reminder that there are lots of things we do not know–at least, not yet. But what we can know for certain, based on the sure promises of God, is that Christ has the power to save and keep those who come to Him.
I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me He hath made known,
Nor why, unworthy, Christ in love
Redeemed me for His own.
But I know Whom I have believèd,
And am persuaded that He is able
To keep that which I’ve committed
Unto Him against that day.
I know not how this saving faith
To me He did impart,
Nor how believing in His Word
Wrought peace within my heart.
Matthew 16:24-28 (The Message)
Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?
“Don’t be in such a hurry to go into business for yourself. Before you know it the Son of Man will arrive with all the splendor of his Father, accompanied by an army of angels. You’ll get everything you have coming to you, a personal gift. This isn’t pie in the sky by and by. Some of you standing here are going to see it take place, see the Son of Man in kingdom glory.”