‘Keep my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.’
‘THE silver and the gold is Mine, saith the Lord of hosts.’ Yes, every coin we have is literally our ‘Lord’s money.’ Simple belief of this fact is the stepping-stone to full consecration of what He has given us, whether much or little.
‘Then you mean to say we are never to spend anything on ourselves?’ Not so. Another fact must be considered,–the fact that our Lord has given us our bodies as a special personal charge, and that we are responsible for keeping these bodies, according to the means given and the work required, in working order for Him. This is part of our ‘own work.’ A master entrusts a workman with a delicate machine, with which his apppointed work is to be done. He also provides him with a sum of money with which he is to procure all that may be necessary for keeping the machine in thorough repair. Is it not obvious that it is the man’s distinct duty to see to this faithfully? Would he not be failing in duty if he chose to spend it all on something for somebody else’s work, or on a present for his master, fancying that would please him better, while the machine is creaking and wearing for want of a little oil, or working badly for want of a new band or screw? Just so, we are to spend what is really needful on ourselves, because we are not our own, but our Master’s. He who knoweth our frame, knows its needs of rest and medicine, food and clothing; and the procuring of these for our own entrusted bodies should be done just as much ‘for Jesus’ as the greater pleasure of procuring them for some one else. Therefore there need be no quibbling over the assertion that consecration is not real and complete while we are looking upon a single shilling as our own to do what we like with. Also the principle is exactly the same, whether we are spending pence or pounds; it is our Lord’s money, and must not be spent without reference to Him.
When we have asked Him to take, and continually trust Him to keep our money, ‘shopping’ becomes a different thing. We look up to our Lord for guidance to lay out His money prudently and rightly, and as He would have us lay it out. The gift or garment is selected consciously under His eye, and with conscious reference to Him as our own dear Master, for whose sake we shall give it, or in whose service we shall wear it, and whose own silver or gold we shall pay for it, and then it is all right.
But have you found out that it is one of the secrets of the Lord, that when any of His dear children turn aside a little bit after having once entered the blessed path of true and conscious consecration, He is sure to send them some little punishment? He will not let us go back without a sharp, even if quite secret, reminder. Go and spend ever such a little without reference to Him after you have once pledged the silver and gold entirely to Him, and see if you are not in some way rebuked for it! Very often by being permitted to find that you have made a mistake in your purchase, or that in some way it does not prosper. If you ‘observe these things,’ you will find that the more closely we are walking with our Lord, the more immediate and unmistakenable will be His gracious rebukes when we swerve in any detail of the full consecration to which He has called us. And if you have already experienced and recognised this part of His personal dealing with us, you will know also how we love and bless Him for it.
–Frances Ridley Havergal from KEPT FOR THE MASTER’S USE