Sermon 2445. The Last Sermon for the Year
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S DAY, DECEMBER 29, 1895.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, DECEMBER 26, 1869.
"Give an account of your stewardship, for you may no longer be steward." Luke 16:2.
THE first part of this text applies to us all. The second part will apply to each one of us before long. "Give an accountof your stewardship," is a command that may be addressed to the ungodly. They are accountable to God for all that they have,or have ever had, or ever shall have. The Law of the Lord is not relaxed because they have sinned-they still remain responsibleto God even though they attempt to cast off the yoke of the Almighty. As creatures formed by the Divine hand and sustainedby Divine power, they are bound to serve God. And if they do not, and will not, His claims upon them do not cease-and to eachof them He says, "Give an account of your stewardship."
This text may also be applied to the children of God, to the godly-in a different sense, however, and after another fashion.For, first of all, the godly are God's children-they are accounted as standing in Christ. They are no longer merely God'ssubjects, for what they owed to God as sinners has all been discharged by Jesus Christ, their Substitute and Savior. Theyhave, therefore, been placed on a different footing from other men. But having been saved by Grace and adopted into God'sfamily, they have had entrusted to them talents which they are to use to His honor and Glory. Being the Lord's children andbeing saved, they become His servants-and as His servants they are under responsibility to God and they will all have to giveto Him an account of their stewardship.
Look at Eli. I have no doubt that he was a saved man, but God made him a steward over his own family as well as a Prophetto Israel, and he had to give an account of his stewardship. And because he had not been faithful in it, although he was noteternally condemned, yet he was made to suffer most miserably when he was told that the whole of his house would be sweptaway-and also when he heard of the deaths of his sons and, as the direst news of all, learned that the Ark of God was takenby the Philistines. God visited him in his capacity of steward, made him give his account, and awarded him in this life aheavy penalty for his unfaithfulness! And I do not doubt that many a child of God who has been saved at the last, yet, beingfound unfaithful as a steward, has had to suffer much, has lost much of honor and much of fellowship with God-and much ofhigh advancement in the way of Grace which he might otherwise have obtained.
David was another such steward. He was not a lost soul-I have no doubt that he is among the saved and blessed saints in Heaven-butas a steward he was not found faithful. You remember how grievously he sinned and from that moment his family was full ofrebellion, his kingdom was full of trouble and he went with broken bones all the way down to his grave! Hence I may say toyou, children of God, who are not under the Law-and I do not address you at all in a legal strain when I so speak to you-youalso have a stewardship. Give an account of it, or else, perhaps, you may no longer be spared. Or, being spared, yet you maystill have tokens of your Lord's displeasure which you may carry with you even to your tomb. Thank God you shall leave themthere! But it would be more for God's Glory and for your own comfort to not have them at all.
I desire, on this last Sabbath evening of another year, not so much to speak to you, as to get you to talk to yourselves.So, first, we will think together upon the reasonable demand made in our text-"Give an account of your stewardship." Next,we will examine some reasons why we should at once give an account of our stewardship. And, lastly, we will consider the weightyreason in the text which will come with force to each of us sooner or later-"You may no longer be steward."
I. First, then, let us consider this REASONABLE DEMAND and let each one of us try to comply with it-"Give an account of yourstewardship." You man of God, you Christless soul, you aged man, you young Sister, "Give an account of your stewardship."
First, give an account of the stewardship of your time. How have you spent it? Have not many hours been allowed to run towaste, or worse than waste, in frivolity and sin? Have you lived as a dying man should live? Have you employed your hoursas remembering that they are very few and more precious than the diamonds in an emperor's crown? What about your time? Hasthere not been much of it spent in indolence, in frothy talk, or that did not minister to edification? You need not accuseyourself for time spent in lawful recreation that may sustain your body and better fit it for the Lord's service. It is wellthat you should have such recreation, but how much time is utterly wasted by some people, neither used for the good of thisworld, nor of that which is to come, but wholly frittered away in the service of sin, self and Satan? Where, for instance,did some of you spend yesterday-how did you employ its precious hours? I will but bring that one day to your remembrance-wasit a well-spent day? Is that hour well spent that is passed in the company of drunks? Do you call that day well spent thatis given up to rioting, or that night that is defiled with wantonness? I charge you to answer this question! For every momentthat God has lent to you, He will ask for an account of what you did with it. There is not an hour since you began to understandright from wrong for which you will not have to give an account to God! If there were nothing but time entrusted to our stewardship,here is room, indeed, for heart-searching and close reckoning!
"Give an account of your stewardship," next, as to your talents. We all vary in our natural gifts and in our acquirements.One has the tongue of eloquence, another has the pen of a ready writer and a third has the artistic eye that discerns beauty.But, whichever of these gifts we may have, they belong to God and ought to be used in His service. Some have only such giftsas qualify them to earn their daily bread by manual labor-they have but little mental power-yet, for that little they mustgive an account and also for the physical strength with which God has blessed them. There is no person here without a talentof some sort or other. There is no one individual here without some form of power either given by nature or acquired by education.We are all endowed, in some degree or other, and we must, each one, give an account for that talent. What an account mustsome give who have been endowed with 10 talents, but have wasted them all!
What must be the account rendered by a Napoleon? What must be the reckoning given in by a Voltaire, with all the splendorof his intellect laid at the feet of Satan and desecrated to the damnation of mankind? Yet, while you think of these greatones of the earth, do not forget yourselves! What has been your special gift? You can speak well enough in some companies-haveyou ever spoken for Christ? You can write well, you judge that you have no mean gift in that direction-has your pen ever writtena line that will bring your fellow men to the service of the Savior? What? Having 10 talents, are they all wrapped up in napkins,or all used for self, and none employed for God, for holiness, for the Truth of God, for righteousness? How sternly does thecommand come to you, "Give an account of your stewardship." Yet I am afraid that we cannot, any of us, give an account ofour talents without fear and trembling!
Next, give an account of your substance. We vary greatly as to our temporal circumstances, I suppose there are a few presentto whom God has entrusted great wealth, more to whom He has given considerable substance and that to the most of us He hasgiven somewhat more than is absolutely necessary for our actual needs. But whether it is much or little, we must give an accountfor it all! I do not know what some rich professors will have to say concerning that which they give to the cause of God.It is no tithe of their substance-it is, as it were, but the cheese parings and the candle ends- and these they only givefor the sake of appearance because it would not look respectable if they were altogether to withhold them! The Church's cofferswould never be as empty as they are if it were not that some of the stewards in the Church are not faithful to their trust.
It is very sad to think of some of the great men in our own country who have incomes which, in a single month, would furnisha competent support for an entire family during their whole lives! I wonder what sort of reckoning theirs will be when theyhave to give an account of hundreds of thousands or even millions of pounds? With some of them, all that they can say willbe, "So much lost on the racetrack, so much spent upon a paramour, so much paid for diamonds, so much squandered in this formof waste and so much in that." But for the poor and needy, who are perishing in our streets, the multitudes who crave evennecessary bread-some of them have done nothing at all! There are grand exceptions, names that shall live as long as philanthropyis prized among mankind, but the exceptions are so terribly few that when the rich men of England are indicted at the barof God, as they certainly will be, the account of their stewardship will be a truly terrible one! Yet what are you, and whatam I, to judge thus, if we cannot say that we have been faithful with our little? I ask you if you have and I pray you tomake a reckoning in your mind, now, of your stewardship of the gold, or the silver, or the copper with which God has entrustedyou.
We must give an account, in the next place, of our influence. Everybody has some kind of influence. The mother who never leavesthe nursery has a wondrous influence over those little children of hers, though no neighbor feels the force of her influenceand no one but her own little ones are affected by her faithfulness. And who knows but that she is pressing to her bosom,perhaps a Whitefield who will thunder out the Gospel through the length and breadth of the land or perhaps, on the other hand,an infidel, whose dreadful blasphemies shall ruin multitudes? There is an influence that the mother has for which she mustgive an account to God! And the father's influence-oh, Fathers, you cannot shake off your obligations to your children bysending them to school, whether to a Sunday school or a boarding school! They are your children and you must give an accountof your stewardship concerning your own offspring!
Yes, and even the nurse girl, though she seems of small note in the commonwealth, yet she, also, has an influence over herlittle charge which she must use for Christ. Not only he who thrills a senate with his oratory, but he who speaks a word fromthe carpenter's bench-each has his influence and each must use it-and give an account of it. Not merely the man who, by refusingto lend his millions, could prevent the horrors of war, but the man who with a smile might help to laugh at sin, or with aword of rebuke might show that he abhorred it. There is no one of you without influence and I ask you, now, how you have usedit? Has it always been on the side of the Lord? "Give an account of your stewardship," for that influence will not alwayslast.
We might pass on to consider all the other things that God has entrusted to us, but time would fail us. So I will remind you,my dear Friends, with much affection, that the account which you will have to render and which I ask you to render now, isnot an account concerning other people. Oh, how nice it would be if we had to do that! Would it not? With what gusto somewould undertake the task if they had to give a report upon other people's characters! How easily each of us can play the detectiveupon our fellows! How ready we are to say of this man, "Oh, yes, he gives away a good deal of money, but it is only out ofostentation." Or of that woman, "Yes, she appears to be a Christian, but you do not know her private life." Or of that ministerof the Gospel, "Yes, he is very zealous, but be makes a good thing out of his ministry." We like thus to reckon up our fellowcreatures and our arithmetic is wonderfully accurate, at least, so we think!
But when other people cast us up according to the same rule, the arithmetic seems terribly out of order and we cannot believeit to be right! Ah, but at the Great Judgment we shall not be asked to give an account for others, neither will I ask anyof you, now, to be thinking about the conduct of others. What if others are worse than you are, does that make you the better,or the less guilty? What if others are not all they seem to be, perhaps neither are you! At any rate, their hypocrisy shallnot make your pretense to be true! Judge yourselves, that you be not judged! Let each man thrust the lancet into his own woundand see to the affairs of his own soul-for each one must give account of himself to God.
Remember, too, that you are not called upon to give an account to others. Alas, there are many people who seem to live onlythat they may win the esteem of their fellows! There is somebody to whom we look up to-if we do but have that somebody's smile,we think all is well. Perhaps some here are broken-hearted because that smile has vanished and they have been misjudged andunjustly condemned. It is a small matter to be judged of man's judgement-and who is he that judges another man's servant?To his own master, the servant shall stand or fall, and not to this interloping judge! My dear Friends, when the opinion ofone leans this way, and of another the other way-when we see public opinion to be as restless and changing as the vane uponthe Church steeple swinging round with every wind that blows-we may well bid defiance to it all and thank God that the lastbar is not swayed by the follies of the times, and that the Great Judge will not give His verdict according to the whimsiesof an hour, but according to the rule of absolute equity!
Yet remember that if it is hard to be judged of man, it will be still sterner to be judged of God! If, weighed even in thebalances of men, some of us are found wanting, how shall we bear to be put into the unerring scales adjusted by the Divinehand, to be judged by Him who cannot err-and to have our destiny fixed for all eternity-either in Heaven or in Hell? Rememberthis, my dear Hearer, and be ready to give an account of your stewardship-not to your fellow crea-ture-but to the great Creatorand Judge of all!
Remember also, dear Friends, that the account to be rendered will be from every man, from every man, personally, concerninghimself. And whatever another man's account may be, it will not affect him. Some men will not have been any better than othersof you have been. Yet if you perish as they perish, a numerous company will not make Hell any the cooler! If some men shallhave been worse than others of you have been, it certainly will not diminish your punishment if you know that their doom isheavier than your own! Forget, for a while, that there are any other men in the world, and stand individually and separatelybefore those awful eyes which are searching you through and through-for God will judge each of you as if there were no othermen to judge-and read your inmost heart as if He had not another object to look upon! Give an account, then, of your stewardship.God grant us Grace to give, on each of these separate items that I have mentioned, an honest statement not only to our ownconscience, but to Him who is the Judge of all!
II. Now, for a few minutes, let us examine SOME REASONS WHY WE SHOULD AT ONCE GIVE AN ACCOUNT OF OUR STEWARDSHIP.
It was a maxim of Pythagoras that each of his disciples should, every eventide, give a record of the actions of the day. Ithink it is well to do so, for we cannot too often take a retrospect of the past. But since, perhaps, some of you may havebeen lax in this duty, let me remind you that we have come, as it were, to the eventide of the year and it seems to be mostsuitable that before we cross into another year of Grace, we should, in our heart and conscience, take stock and give an accountof our stewardship.
Sit down a while, Pilgrim! Sit down a while. Here is the milestone marked with the end of another year-sit down upon it, putyour hand to you brow and think! And lay your hand upon your heart and search and see what is there. This last Sabbath eveningin the year is a most fitting time for giving this account and I ask you to use it in making up the account which you haveto present before God. And if you feel unwilling to do it, I shall the more earnestly press you to do it! There are no personswho so dislike to look into their account books as those who are insolvent. Those who keep no books, when they come beforethe court, are understood to be rogues of the first water-and men who keep no mental memoranda of the past and bring up norecollections with regard to their sins, having tried to forget them all-may depend upon it that they are deceiving themselves!If you dare not search your hearts, I am afraid there is a reason for that fear and that, above all others, you ought to bediligent in this search.
Permit me to remind you that if all should be wrong with you, it is best for you to know it. It is only the most recklessseaman who would rather not know whether there is a rock in the course that he is sailing. O Sirs, are you like the ostrichthat, having covered its head in the sand, and shut its eyes to the hunter, thinks it is all secure? I pray you, seek to knowthe worst of your case! It seems to me that any honest and sane man would want to do this. There is nothing a wise man hatesmore, when he is sick, than to have a doctor attending him who will always, if he can, give a flattering report, but willnever speak the truth about his patient. Let not your heart flatter you any longer, but say to it, "My Soul, make out an honestaccount! See what and where you are and whether you are God's servant or not, doing as God would have you do."
Believer in Christ, it will be well for you to make out this account because you will find that it will help you to prizeyour Savior more. I never look into my own heart without first feeling shame and, afterwards, feeling greater love to Himwho has eternally loved such a sinner as I am! I am sure it will drive you to your knees if you honestly search your own lives.There is enough in the history of a single week to make you prize your Redeemer more than ever if you fully realize the guiltof that one week and the greatness of His Grace in pardoning it! O Christian, if you would be driven nearer to your Lord,search and see, confess, repent and seek forgiveness. Go again to the Cross because you have again felt the burden of thesin that nailed your Savior there!
And, ungodly man, I press you, also, to give an account of your stewardship because, perhaps, the same result may come toyou. If you find that you cannot give so good an account as you thought you could when you were wrapped up in self-righteousness,perhaps you may be alarmed and dismayed when you see the true state of the case-and it may be that God the Holy Spirit willlead you to say, "I will go to Jesus, for I am undone without Him. I will hasten to His Cross, for I need the pardon thatHis blood has bought. I will now go with the language of confession on my lips and beseech Him to accept me before anotheryear begins." It seems such a long time since I have talked to some of you. Tossing to and fro upon my bed, suffering greatpain, I have thought that those of you to whom I have preached, now, these many years, will have to give an account of everyaddress that I have delivered to you and of every exhortation with which I have plied you. I beseech you, seek to make thataccount at once to your God in private and ask Him to humble you, and to draw you sweetly to trust His dear Son, that youmay be saved!
I cannot bear the thought that any of you should be lost! I had hoped that those who have supplied my place during my illnessmight, perhaps, have been guided to shoot the arrow more directly than I can shoot it. One thing I know, there was not amongthem all, whoever they might be, one who more anxiously desired that you might find the Savior than I do! And I pray at thismoment, since I shall never preach to you again on another Sabbath of this year, that this night may be the last one you willspend in sin-and that tomorrow may be a spiritual birthday to you, the first day in which you shall rejoice in a Savior! No,that this very night you may be born again and become a new creature in Christ Jesus!
III. And now, lastly, let us consider THE REASON WHICH THE MASTER GIVES-"Give an account of your stewardship, for you mayno longer be steward."
This may happen in various ways. It may be that some here may live for years and yet no longer be stewards. A preacher maybe laid aside, his voice gone, his mental faculties weakened-he is "no longer steward." One is thankful to have further opportunitiesof serving the Lord and trying to bring sinners to the Savior. O my dear Brother, work for God while you can! It is one ofthe bitterest regrets a man can know, to lie on his bed, to be unable to speak and to think to himself, "I wish I could preachthat sermon over again. I did not drive that nail home with all the force I ought to have used! I have not been earnest enoughin pleading with sinners! I have not wrestled, even to agony, over the salvation of their souls." It may be possible, my dearBrother Minister, that you and I may have 20 or 30 years of being laid aside from active service. Then let us work while wecan, before the night comes when no man can work! Brother, let us seize the oar of the lifeboat and row out over the stormysea, seeking to snatch the drowning ones from yonder wreck, for the time may come when our strong right arm shall be palsiedand when we can do no more!
Yes, and rich professors may have to give an account of their stewardship and no longer be stewards. There were some of thatkind when the recent financial panic came-though they had much before the crash, they had nothing left afterwards so theycould no longer be stewards of the wealth that had been taken from them! It must be a cause of deep regret to men in thatposition if they cannot give a good account of their stewardship because they have done but little good with their wealthwhile they had it. And think, Sirs, you to whom God has given great possessions, how soon He may take them from you, for richesabide not forever. Behold, they take to themselves wings and fly away! I know of no better way of clipping their wings thanby giving generously to the cause of God and using in His service all that you can. It would be a subject for continual regretto you, I am sure, if you came down to poverty, not so much that you had descended in the social scale, for that you couldbear if it came by mere misfortune through the Providence of God-but if you felt, "I did not do what I should have done whenI had wealth"-that would be the arrow which would pierce you to the heart! It may be so, dear Brothers and Sisters, it maybe so with some of you. At any rate, I feel that there are some of you who are poor because God will not lend His money whereHe knows that it will be locked up and not put out to good interest in His cause. What little you have is all hidden away,so the Lord will not trust you with more! He sees you are not fit to be one of His stewards. There are some, on the otherhand, whom God has entrusted with much because He sees that they use it wisely in promoting the interests of His Kingdom.
But, after all, to every man, whether he is rich, or whether he is in the office of the ministry, there may be a close ofhis stewardship before he dies. The mother has her little children swept away, one after another. This is the message to her,"You may no longer be steward." The teacher has his class scattered, or he is, himself, unable to go to the school. The wordto him, also, is, "You may no longer be steward." The man who went to his work, who might have spoken to his fellow workman,is removed, perhaps, to another land, or he is placed in a position where his mouth is shut. Now he can no longer be steward.Use all opportunities while you have them! Catch them on the wing! Serve God, while you can, today! Today! Today! Today! Leteach golden moment have its pressing service rendered unto God, lest it should be said to you, "You may no longer be steward."
But we shall soon no longer be stewards in another sense. The hour must come for us to die. Out of our large congregationwe have constant reminders that those who have served us as a Church and have served God faithfully in His Church, cannotabide with us forever. One or another, whom we have loved and honored, gives his account and passes to his rest. So will itbe in turn with the pastor, with the deacons and with the elders. Do not put away the thought of that day, my fellow workers,as though you were immortal! It may come to us all of a sudden-no gray hairs may cover our heads-but while we are yet in thefull strength of manly vigor, you or I may be called to give our account! What do you think? What do you think? Could yougather up your feet in the bed and look into eternity without feeling the cold sweat of fear stand upon your brow?
What do you think? Could you face the great Judgment Seat and say, "I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that Heis able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day. I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course,I have kept the faith"? Oh, God be praised if we are able to say that! What monuments of mercy will you and I be if we areable to say this at the close of our service-and to hear our Lord say, "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into thejoy of your Lord."
My fellow member, by the fact that God is continually removing from us one and another, I ask you to remember that you, also,will soon depart. Therefore, be making up your account. Rest in Christ more confidently! Love God more earnestly! Serve yourgeneration more intensely! Live while you live-play not at living, but live in real earnest-and let it never be said of youthat you trod so lightly on the sands of time that you left no footprints there! Make your mark upon your age and fill yourappointed place, as God shall help you, that when you are gathered to your fathers, you may not be forgotten, but the Churchmay remember you because in her midst there are children born to God through your means!
As for the unconverted here, need I tell them that they must soon depart and no longer be stewards? You must go from yourbusiness, O Trader. You must go from your merchandise, O Merchant. You must go from your bench, O Artisan. You must go fromyour machine, O Engineer. You must each depart and go to that place from which no traveler returns. Be ready! Be ready! Iwill ring the alarm for some of you-perhaps my text is a prophecy meant for some man here-"Give an account of your stewardship,for you may no longer be steward." You have had children about you and you have taught them blasphemy and drunkenness! Oryou have had workmen in your employ and you have laughed at their religion, or aided and abetted them in sin! You have hadtalent, but you have used that talent in the service of the Evil One! You have had gold, but you have lavished it upon wantonness!
Now give an account of it all! Ah, Sirs, you may not heed what I say, but you will have to heed what will be said to you atanother time! You will see this matter in another light when the death angel shall put his cold, freezing hand upon your shoulderand say to you, "Give an account! Give an account! Give an account of your stewardship!"
O Savior, Son of God, put Your pierced hands on these blind souls and give them light that they may be able to render up theiraccount with joy, and not with grief! Give them Grace to believe in Your name and trust in Your atoning Sacrifice, for thisis the way of salvation! O poor Sinners, trust in Christ Jesus and Him Crucified! You cannot be saved by your stewardship,any of you, but unfaithful stewardship will ruin you! Christ Crucified is your only hope of salvation! Look unto Him and live!Oh, look unto Him now! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: LUKE 12:13-44.
Verses 13, 14. And one of the company said unto Him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.And He said unto him, Man, who made Me a judge or a divider over you? Our Lord was a Judge and a Divider, but His sphere ofaction was spiritual-He did not interfere in the personal disputes of those who gathered round Him.
15. And He said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consists not in the abundance of the thingswhich he possesses. Christ took advantage of this man's request and made it the text for a sermon against covet-ousness.
16-19. And He spoke a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thoughtwithin himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: Iwill pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul,Soul, you have much goods laid up for many years, take your ease, eat, drink, and be merry. Notice how fond the rich man wasof the little pronouns, "I," and, "my." He lived only for himself and was an embodiment of that covetousness which our Lordabhorred and denounced! What a vivid contrast there is between what the man said to himself and the Lord's message to him!
20. But God said unto him, You fool, this night your soul shall be required of you: then whose shall those things be, whichyou have provided? This may also be said to any of you-where would you be if the Lord said to you, "This night your soul shallbe required of you"?
21-23. So is he that lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God. And He said unto His disciples, Therefore Isay unto you, Take no thought for your life, what you shall eat; neither for the body, what you shall put on. The life ismore than meat, and the body is more than raiment. Do not spend your care on the lower things-care most for that which ismost worth caring for-more for the body than for raiment, more for life than for meat, and consequently, more for the immortalspirit than for anything besides-and more for God, even, than for your own soul! Let your cares be rated according to theirobjectives-to set a caring, anxious care upon the lesser things will be folly, indeed!
24. Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouses nor barns and God feeds them: how muchmore are you better than the fowls? It seems, then, that those that are fed by God are much better fed than those that arefed by men! The ravens know no care, whatever, for God cares for them. And if we could ever bring our hearts into such a conditionthat we felt that everything to do with us was in God's hands, we should enter into a blessed, hallowed freedom from carein which we should find a sweet repose of spirit-
"Beneath the spreading heavens, No creature but is fed. And He who feeds the ravens,
Will give His children bread."
25, 26. And which of you, by worrying, can add one cubit to his stature? If you, then, are not able to do that thing whichis least, why take you thought for the rest? It would be a very small matter to you if you were a foot taller, or if you werea foot shorter. It is not that the making of yourself a cubit taller or shorter would be a small thing to do, but it is asmall thing in its result-it is an inconsiderable matter whether a man is tall or short. If you, then, are not able, even,to reduce your stature, or to increase it, take no anxious thought about other things!
27. Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you that Solomon in all his glorywas not arrayed like one of these. So that God cares not only for things that have necessities, as ravens have, but for thingsthat have luxuries, as lilies have! When God does anything, He does it well. He is a grand Housekeeper! He does not measureout so many ounces of bread per diem, as if we were in a workhouse, but, "they that seek the Lord shall not want any goodthing." "No good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly." The lilies might do as well without their golden hues.They might ripen their seed without the lengthened stems that lift them where they can be observed, but God takes more careof them, even, than Solomon did of himself, for, "Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these."
Now, dear children of God, if you trust your Heavenly Father, He will see that you have no cause for care. If you trust Himwith your souls, He will not give you a bare salvation, but a rich robe of righteousness to cover all your nakedness! WhenHe does any work, He does it after a better fashion than the wisest of men could do it and, Nature herself, working as shedoes for the lilies, is only God working in another way! But when God, Himself, without the intervention of the laws of Nature,works in the Kingdom of His Grace, He does it perfectly-He does it gloriously!
28. If, then, God so clothes the grass, which is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more willHe clothe you, O you of little faith? Your life is not like that of the grass, or the flower of the field that fades on asummer's day. God will take care of you and the everlasting things shall have from Him a care greater than He gives to thetemporal. Yet how much God really does for flowers-flowers that only open their cups in the morning and shut them in deathat night! How much of skill and wisdom there is, even, about them! Shall there not be greater skill and wisdom employed uponyou who, when you have once begun to bloom in the Light of God, shall go on blooming, flowering and shedding your perfumethroughout the endless ages?
29. 30. And seek not you what you shall eat, or what you shall drink, neither be you of doubtful mind. For all these thingsin the nations of the world seek after and your Father knows that you have need of these things. For you, the immortal, thetwice-born, the very bodyguard of Christ-to live for such things as the men of the world live for is to degrade the peerageof Heaven-to bring those who are of the blood royal of the skies down to a gross pursuit! No, let your whole thought, heartand life be spent for something higher and better than these things-and leave the lower cares with your Father!
31, 32. But rather seek you the Kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you. Fear not little flock; for itis your Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom. When Abraham had many sons, he gave to each one of them a portionand sent them away. But Isaac had the family heritage. It is the same with you! The Lord may give to others more than He bestowsupon you in this life, but for you He reserves the Kingdom! Are you not content with that, whatever else your Father givesyou or withholds from you?
33. Sell what you have and give alms. That is to say, do not merely give a little which you can readily spare, but sometimeseven pinch yourselves to relieve the poor!
33, 34. Provide yourselves bags which wax not old, a treasure in the heavens that fails not, where no thief approaches, neithermoth corrupts. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be, also. You are sure to live for that which is the choicestobject of your love. Whatever you think to be first, will be first-and what you love in your heart, you will be sure to followin your life.
35, 36. Let your loins be girded about and your lights burning; and you yourselves like unto men that wait for their master,when he will return from the wedding; that when he comes and knocks, they may open unto him immediately. Many people are thinkingjust now of Christ's First Advent-but this passage bids us watch for His glorious Second Coming.
37. Blessed are those servants whom the master, when he comes, shall find watching: verily I say unto you, that he shall girdhimself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. I never read this verse without wonderingat the marvelous condescension of our Lord! Even in the day of His appearing in Glory, His thoughts will be more about Hispeople than about Himself-"He shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them."
38. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants. Wecannot tell when He will come, but, "Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord, when He comes, shall find watching."
39-44. And this know, that if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, andnot have suffered his house to be broke into. Be you, therefore, ready also: for the Son of Man comes at an hour when youthink not. Then Peter said unto Him, Lord, speak You this parable unto us, or even to all? And the Lord said, Who, then, isthat faithful and wise steward, whom his master shall make ruler over his household, to give them their portion of meat indue season? Blessed is that servant, whom his master, when he comes, shall find so doing. Of a truth I say onto you, thathe will make him ruler over all that he has. Wonderful words! We cannot at present tell all that they mean, but, by God'sGrace, may they be fulfilled to us when our Lord comes to take us to Himself!