What Are You Worth?
Edward Bok, American editor, author, and philanthropist, well known in America during the 1920’s left on record the declaration that the greatest word in the American language is SERVICE. “Not service that serves self,” he specifies, “but the service that labours for the interest of others. This kind of service enables us to give the greatest, highest, and most directly profitable service to ourselves and to our God.” Seen from this viewpoint, service is not a stern duty at all; it is a high privilege.
Do not seek to excuse yourself by saying that you have no talent, no money -- nothing that amounts to anything -- to give in service to others. For you have! “What is that in thine hand?” Take a good look at it. Perhaps it is nothing more than “a new jawbone of an ass,” but you can do things with it -- if you will. Samson did.
And there was Moses. God appeared to him in Mount Horeb, and asked, “Moses, what is that in thine hand?”
“Nothing but a staff, O God,” he answered.
“Take it,” Jehovah directed, “and use it for Me.”
He did; and with it he wrought more wonderful things than Egypt and her proud Pharaoh had seen before.
“Mary, what is that that thou hast in thine hand?” The little home in Bethany was very humble, and this sister of Lazarus and Martha had little to call her own. But as the question came to her, she saw in a new light the one bit of treasure which was hers.
“Nothing but a pot of sweet-smelling ointment, O God,” was her answer. “But I purpose to use it to anoint Thine only Son, called Jesus.”
And so she did. Not only did the perfume of the broken alabaster box fill all the house of Simon, the Pharisee, who was giving a feast on honour of Jesus, but it has come down through the centuries to this present day. And the Bible-reading world is still fragrant with the memory of this devoted act of love, for it is spoken of “for a memorial of her.”
A poor widow walked toward the offering box in the great temple at Jerusalem. She had, oh, so little! “What is that in thine hand?” The query came to her with startling suddenness. “Only two mites, Lord; A mere pittance, but it is my all, and I would deposit it in Thy treasury.”
So she did; and the story of her generous gift has been told again and again and yet again -- more times than we can count. Only heaven knows the influence of her example in prompting others to give their all -- not only in money but in very life itself -- for the hastening of Christ’s coming kingdom.
“What is that in thine hand?” The patient widow stopped a motion in mid-air as she answered: “Just a needle, Lord.” “Take it, and use it for Me,” came the admonition of the Spirit’s voice.
And so she did, even though it was her very living. God blessed her unselfishness and her sacrifice. Not only were the poor of Joppa clothed, but today in practically every church a Dorcas Society meets to sew for those in need.
Not one of these men and women had much to invest in service, as the world counts values; but how mighty has been their influence for good; how far reaching the service they have done for their fellows and for their God.
So bring your ‘nothings’ to the Lord, and let Him make them into ‘somethings!’ The Bible is full of incidents proving that He will do just exactly that, if we are willing to be shaped and moulded and sharpened into tools that He can use.
There was Abraham. He had nothing when the call of God came to him to leave Ur of the Chaldees, the only home he had ever known, and go “unto a land that I will shew thee.” “A wild goose chase,” the sensible people of Ur must have said, as this family pulled up stakes and set out for an unknown somewhere. But because Abraham was willing to co-operate with God, his nothing became a mighty faith which has blessed the world richly as centuries have come and gone.
And there was Gideon. He had nothing when God called him from his secret threshing in the wine press, where he was preparing his grain crops for storage, hoping the Midianite oppressors of Israel would not find them. But he put that nothing in heaven’s hand, and it was wondrously blessed. With an army of three hundred men, armed only with trumpets and pitchers and lamps, he overcame a mighty host and freed his country from grievous bondage.
Remember the lad David? He had nothing but his youth and five smooth stones and a sling with which to meet the Philistine giant. But he gave his nothing to God for service, and what service he gave! Who else in the Good Book is set apart by Jehovah as “a man after Mine own heart?” He not only led his people in their fight for freedom, but as a wise and just king he led them in the formation of one of the mightiest kingdoms in the then-known world. The many lessons of his bitter-sweet experience enter into our lives today in a very concrete way, and their examples of correction, reproof, and “instruction in righteousness” have wielded a measureless influence.
And there was the little boy who came to hear Jesus preach, bringing nothing but his lunch of five loaves and two small fishes. But he gladly gave them to Jesus, and lo, his nothing multiplied until it fed five thousand men, besides the women and children! How excited that lad must have been as he saw the twelve basketfuls of left-overs that were gathered! Little did he dream when he gave his comparative nothing that he was contributing to one of Christ’s most outstanding miracles. And little did he dream that the story of his unselfish surrender for service would be told over and over again for two thousand odd years to bless and inspire men the world over.
Furthermore, do not overlook the fact that when God needs men and women for His special service He calls those who are busy with the task in hand. Moses was busy tending his flocks; Gideon was busy threshing wheat; Saul was busy searching for his father’s lost asses; David was busy caring for the family sheep; Nehemiah was busy bearing the king’s wine cup; Amos was busy among the herdsmen of Tekoa; Peter and Andrew were busy casting a net into the sea; James and John were busy mending their nets; and Matthew was busy collecting customs. So we might go on and on, for God is still calling those who are busy just where they are, doing the present task with all their might even in this our day.
What is that in thine hand, young man, young woman? Nothing of any worth? Just give it to God, who not only has promised to make nothing something but has demonstrated that He can and will.