Rendering unto God

The psalmist's query, "What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?" speaks for an alert sense both of possession and of obligation; and his answer, "I will take the cup of salvation . . . I will pay my vows unto the Lord now in the presence of all his people," is no less interesting for its breadth of practical meaning than for its charm of poetic expression. To be touched and inspired by the divine beneficence, and to fulfil toward all men the instinctive pledges of good doing thus awakened, is to register a great spiritual achievement and prove one's self a Christian.

In his endeavor to this end one is called to think of a good many specific things not named in the psalmist's words though legitimately embraced in his statement. And first we can but recognize the fact that there are no things which can be considered as suitable offerings to God. We can be something for Him, but our salvation is too entirely a matter of grace to warrant any thought of an exchange of values with Him—that we can make any return for His goodness save in our loving obedience and grateful praise. He already possesses all good, while apart from Him we have simply nothing at all.

Christ Jesus distinctly taught, however, that the virtue and merit of an unlimited giving to God may be gained by ministering to the needy as did the good Samaritan, and by being altogether just and unselfish in our daily dealings with others. Those wondrous words, "Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me," are instantly recalled. In an important sense they posit a commoner, our neighbor, as a representative of God, so that by being honest and true with those about us, we are actually rendering "unto the Lord." This tremendously interesting fact is featured in the dramatic picture drawn for us in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, and when the truth there taught is apprehended, human relations, the affairs of trade, of the counter, and of the bench, of employer and employee, can never again be thought of as trivial or as unrelated to the chiefest end of life. They are not to be dominated by custom or world precedent, but by our thought of opportunity to do for God.

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November 11, 1916

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