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The Gift Without the Giver is Bare

The Gift Without the Giver is Bare

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Published by glennpease
BY JAMES CRAIG BUCHANAN, M. A.




"They . . . first gave their own selves to the Lord."
II Corinthians VIII, 5.
BY JAMES CRAIG BUCHANAN, M. A.




"They . . . first gave their own selves to the Lord."
II Corinthians VIII, 5.

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Published by: glennpease on Aug 26, 2013
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THE GIFT WITHOUT THE GIVER IS BAREBY JAMES CRAIG BUCHAA, M. A."They . . . first gave their own selves to the Lord."II Corinthians VIII, 5.k I *HIS Epistle, from which our text is taken, was fromPaul to the Christians of Corinth — in SouthernGreece. And in this chapter and the chapter followinghe is dealing particularly with the duty of Christian Giv-ing; or rather, as he calls it, the "grace" of ChristianGiving. In doing so he cites to these Corinthians thepraiseworthy example of the Christians of some of thecities of Macedonia — in orthern Greece. These orth-erners, he says, had given liberally. Indeed, the mannerof their giving had been beyond his expectations: the ex-planation being that, back of all their giving, prior toall their contributing, there had been the giving of them-selves. Their charity was out of consecration; their ser-vice out of self-surrender; their Gospel activity out of Gospel affection. "And this they did, not as we hadhoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, andunto us by the will of God."Brethren, one of the best things the ew Testamentsays of our Lord Jesus Christ is that HE "gave Him-self" for us. And surely, also, one of the best thingsthat has ever been said of any group of people is that they"gave their own selves" to the King of Love and to thework of His Kingdom.200"The Gift Without the Giver is Bare" 201
 
I don't know how it is, but these phrases — and thethought at the heart of them — have been much in mymind for some time past. They have been, I may almostsay, haunting me. Partly, I suppose, because one findsso little of this Self-Giving in the Church of Christ. Andpartly also because one is bound to feel that, if men andwomen will 'give themselves' to the Saviour and His ser-vice, everything else will follow: a multitude of doubtsand difficulties will disappear, the questionable habits willgo, the whole area of life will take on a new lustre anda new sanctity, and Church attendance and Church sup-port and the carrying on of the world's benevolences willgo on apace — without there being any need of occasionalvolcanic efforts."They . . . first gave their own selves." otsimply, mark you, They gave their attention, gave theirtime, gave their toil, gave their money: but GAVETHEMSELVES.And there is no use talking, — in every realm of life itis those who 'give themselves' who do best, who are atonce most successful and most influential: those who'lose themselves' (to use one of our Lord's most fruitfulphrases) — those who 'lose themselves' in their appointedwork, or in their friendships, or in their love, or in theirstudies, or in their Church activities.One is bound to see that the great Benefactors of Hu-manity have been the men and women who have 'firstgiven their own selves.' That, as I have already hinted,was the supreme and the unique distinction of CHRIST.ot simply that He was the purest and kindest and wisest202 The Imperishable Heartsoul who has ever lived. or yet simply that He was
 
an incomparable Teacher and an astounding Wonder-worker. or yet simply that He came down from thepurity and dignity of God's nearer presence, and "madeHimself of no reputation." o, nor yet simply that Hepoured out His life-blood. But that He "poured out Hissoul unto death" — "gave HIMSELF" — His very heart — His whole being. Just compare, for a moment, Jesusof azareth and, say, apoleon. apoleon was, in manyrespects, a transcendently great man: able, masterful,large-brained, large-visioned, and — in great measure — asweeping conqueror. But in the end he was a failure!Why? Because, I have always felt, he never 'gave him-self even to his own ambitious projects, let alone anyreally good work. He gave everything else — brains andtime and energy 7 (doing with as little sleep as it is pos-sible for any human to do with) — he gave everything elseexcept himself. The consequence has been, that, not-withstanding the immense ability of that man, and hisuntiring industry, and his occasional outbursts of benevo-lence on a grand scale, he has not touched our hearts;and to the end of time the Christ will be immensely pre-ferred by Humanity to the Corsican.And of all the real "helpers and friends of mankind" itmay truly be said that they "first gave their own selves," — surrendered themselves, consecrated themselves, gave theirhearts to their "work of faith and labor of love." Onehas only to name one or two, to be convinced of that.St. Francis, for example; or William Tyndale, to whom — humanly speaking — we owe the English Bible ; or Wil-liam Carey; or David Livingstone; or John Bright; or"The Gift Without the Giver is Bare" 203Abraham Lincoln. And a whole host of men and womenof our own time: like David Lloyd George, of England;or John R. Mott, of this Country ; or Miss Grace Dodgewho died the other day, — chairman of the ational Board

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