Present Wealth and Future Glory

He would be a foolish man who spent his time looking into an empty purse full of holes and bemoaning his poverty when there was offered to him a bag of bank notes with the invitation to take all that he needed and more. But not less foolish is he who is continually looking into his own heart and life and grieving over his lack of goodness and his failures and inconsistencies when the fullness of Christ is held out to him for his enrichment and joy. To anyone who is guilty of such folly we would say, "Cast away the empty purse; turn away from self; do not let the failure of the past so fetter and embitter your spirit that you can do nothing but fail in the present; but awake to the fact that the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth, has been given to you, that He might take of the things of Christ and show them to you. Forget self and delight in Christ; talk no more of your poverty, but rejoice in His unsearchable riches, for they are yours, to enrich you, ennoble you and energize you, so that you may rejoice instead of mourn, and walk with steady step where once you hobbled on crutches, and be superior to your infirmities and a dispenser of blessing to others where once you were nothing but a burden and hindrance to their faith. God is not glorified by your false and self-centred humility, He is glorified when you rejoice in His beloved Son.

We must never forget how all the wealth of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ has been brought to us, or what the price was that He paid to make us rich. "For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich." Most certainly we shall only appreciate it as the love of our hearts goes out to Him in response to His great love to us, and it is only as we advance on this line that we rightly feel our own poverty and the need of His riches. We must learn also, that while all His riches are placed within our reach and we have but to stretch forth the hand of faith and take them, we cannot have them in living experience apart from the Giver of them. A bag of bank notes might be used away from and without a thought of the giver, but not so this spiritual wealth. "Come, buy of the gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich," He has said; and we might ask, "How can one who has nothing to show but his poverty, buy gold tried in the fire?" The answer is that the buying indicates a transaction with our Lord Himself, it means personal dealings with Him, and involves that soul-exercise that comes with the realization of our poverty and need, and the deep gratitude and attachment to the Lord that the experimental knowledge of His grace produces; and this personal dealing with Him must be kept up if we are really to appear as those who have been enriched and have resources that are more than equal to the demands that are made upon us. The Lord is the Source and Giver, and it is our privilege, and will be our joy if we know Him, to cleave to Him with purpose of heart; and the more simply and fully we are dependent upon Him the freer will be the flow of His wealth to us and our thanksgiving to Him, and in this happy condition we shall be those who have no confidence in the flesh but rejoice in Him.

In the last letter that I received from a valued friend, now with the Lord, he wrote, "A RUNNING HOUND NEVER LOOKS AT ITS TAIL." He was referring to Philippians 3:13-14, "This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." I shall never forget the trite saying, there is a volume of wisdom in it, as will be understood when it is seen that the reaching forth in the verse is the word that describes a hound at full stretch. But the Christian who is continually looking back, and brooding over the past and mourning over his failure, is like a hound that has ceased to run and is feeding on its own tail, if such a thing can be imagined. Nothing vitiates a man's spiritual energy like brooding on the past; nothing hinders him in the heavenly race like this, and it matters not whether it is his sins or his sorrows that he broods over, the brooding itself is fatal to all spiritual growth and strength. Both are dishonouring to God, for if a man broods over his sins he doubts the grace that abounds over them all; if he broods over his sorrows it is probably because he is at war with the will of God. Both sin and sorrow should humble us and make us walk in lowliness of heart before God, and not proudly or boastfully; but there is grace for the sin, and there is sympathy for the sorrow, so that while we feel them, and feel them deeply, we are not to be overwhelmed by them but find our God and His resources in Christ Jesus greater than both, and finding this press onward to the place from whence the grace and sympathy come.

We would not have a man think lightly of his sins, but we would urge upon him that if he has felt them deeply and confessed them truly, he should have the comfort of knowing that he has been forgiven fully, and cast off the hindrance of occupation with them, as Peter did when on the day of Pentecost he charged the Jews with denying the Holy and Just One. They might have said, "You did it yourself, Simon." "Yes," he might have replied, "I did, and He forgave me and blotted it all out for ever, and I am not denying Him now, anyhow." Nor would we think lightly of the sorrows and losses of others, nor speak harshly of them if they seem to be overwhelmed by them, but we would warn them that brooding over them may grow into self pity and rob them of the comfort from on high that would enrich them through the sorrow, and it will most surely hinder them in the race to the glory where every sorrow will have its answer; and where the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus awaits those who run.