Devotion of the Day

THE CONSTRAINT OF CHRIST

We love him, because he first loved us.
I John 4:19

For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich. II Corinthians 8:9.

Christ is the true motivation of Christian conduct. We do not love Him because we ought but because love begets love. He loved us and our hearts respond. We love others because His love constrains us, because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost.

Likewise, we give, not because we ought and not because of the need primarily, but because He gave. “Jesus paid it all, all to Him I owe.” Freely we have received, freely we give. Not grudgingly or of necessity, but cheerfully. Witness a drive for church funds, a pitiful plea on Sunday to wangle a few dollars of “church dues” and you will perceive how far we have left the New Testament way. The stunts, picnics, bazaars, the moth-eaten jokes, the high-pressure – “Who’ll give ten dollars?” God forgive us! God will never accept such money wrung from church misers. It is the gift without the giver, a vain oblation.

Devotion of the Day

PERSONALIZING THE PROGRAM

Ye shall be witnesses unto me.
Acts 1:8

What we say is a witness, too, but people are moved by the living witness as well as by the spoken testimony. It is slow business getting a congregation warmed up to a missionary program. But let a real live Spirit-filled missionary embody that program and see the difference! We have degenerated into money-raisers for a project or a budget, and what a weariness it is! “Next Sunday we must raise an offering for the orphanage, the church paper, the college.” The causes of Christ do not strike fire until we incarnate them. Dutifully soliciting funds for a church enterprise is hard going. One orphan can be more eloquent than an hour’s speech about the orphanage.

Christianity suffers today because it has become merely a big business in the minds of some and now we must raise the funds to keep the business going. It goes best when it is embodied in flaming witnesses. Christ is a Person, and He reaches other persons through persons, not merely through plans and propaganda. We are propagandizing the faith instead of propagating it.