And some pass, gaily singing,
to and fro,
And cast a careless gift before His face,
Amongst the treasures of the holy place,
But kneel to crave no blessing ere they go.
And some are travel-worn,
their eyes are dim,
They touch His shining vesture as they pass,
But see not—even darkly through a glass—
How sweet might be their trembling gifts to Him.
And still the hours roll on;
serene and fair
The Master keeps his watch, but who can tell
The thoughts that in His tender spirit swell,
As one by one we pass him unaware?
For this is He who, on one
Cast down for us a price so vast and dread,
That He was left for our sakes bare and dead,
Having given Himself our mighty debt to pay!
Oh, shall unworthy gifts once
more be thrown
Into His treasury—by whose death we live?
Or shall we now embrace His cross, and give
Ourselves, and all we have, to him alone?”
Is not that the meaning of Paul’s “Owe no man anything, save to love one another." We owe a debt of love to all men on Jesus’ account. We can be paying on it continually, and yet never get a receipt in full that discharges the debt. But then we get other things in full—peace, and joy, and a life overflowing in fulness.
With an honorable business man a debt is a first obligation. His personal expenditures and his home schedule are shaped by his debt. The extras that he would feel quite free in allowing himself and his home are not allowed until the debt is cleared. The debt controls his spendings until it is paid off in full. That’s reckoned a matter of honor.
James, the first bishop of Jerusalem, had caught the Lord’s very language as well as His thought. He says, “Your gold and silver are rusted, and their rust shall be for a testimony against you." It would seem as though there were quite a bit of rusty money entered in Christian names and controlled by Christian people. It is lying in vaults, and lands, and savings-societies, and old stockings, gathering rust.
It is in sore need. It needs friction, the friction of use. Without that its real, rare value will be completely lost. It is furnishing food for moths when it was meant to be furnishing food for men, bread of wheat and bread of life. There’ll be many a striking scene when some men come up into the Master’s presence with loaded purses, “caught with the goods,” while millions of their brothers are living such pitiable lives because of their ignorance of Jesus.
But there are men who do understand. And their number is increasing. There are those who understand the Master’s basis for conducting their business matters. That basis is shrewd, faithful management of the business itself as good stewards of God; full, proper provision for home and loved ones—simple, but ample and intelligent; and then all the rest out in active service for men in Jesus’ name. If that basis were more largely understood and accepted, what wondrous changes would come; changes out in the world, and changes in the home, and changes in the home church.