The curse with its thorns and thistles, causing labor, weariness, and sweat of face, for the earning of daily bread, has tended to produce selfishness. In the endeavor to obtain the necessities and comforts of this life it seems almost a necessity that we shall endeavor to get as much as possible, in exchange for as little as possible, or in other words, to drive close bargains.
While selfishness is a weed always detestable, it is so common and so deep-seated in the fallen race, that it is to be found in every garden. Often it flourishes most in the heart of the rich and comfortably circumstanced, where its greedy fruit is not needed, whereas it could be measurably excused in the miserably poor.
It is not surprising then, that we find this one of the most difficult weeds to eradicate when we have become princeschildren of the King of kings. How great is the inclination even of these to still permit this weed and to eat of its fruit. Would that we all could realize more fully how unbecoming it is in the Royal family. Oh that each of us day by day may become more remarkable in this respect before the world.
The worst form of the evil, however, is that which manifests itself toward Godhis truthhis favors. Accustomed to getting as much as possible for the amount paid, or paying as little as possible for the thing secured in daily life, the same disposition often manifests itself in dealing with God for the "Crown of Life," for "Glory, Honor and Immortality."
God covenants with those justified by faith in the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, that if they consecrate and sacrifice themselves wholly to his service, He will give them at once, "exceeding great and precious promises," and in the future the realities.
Our little all is indeed a meagre pittance. How little remains of our threescore-years-and-ten! how little of mental vigor! how little of physical strength! how little of money and influence! and yet that little all, however great or insignificant it is to you, is all that God required in exchange for his great gift.
We confess that it is a great bargainsuch exceeding riches and glory for a price so mean as to be not worthy to be compared with it, and yet how many, like Ananias and Sapphira are found endeavoring to keep back part of the price.
According to our covenant we should do our best to use in Jehovah's service "all our mind, all our soul and all our strength," which of course includes the products of theseall our influence, all our money and all our time as well. Yet how apt are we in action to say to the Lord, "I know it is cheap, but can you not take a little less? I think you will. I know you love and think you would not deny me the prize, even though I keep back part of the price."
Thus many desire a crown of life and glory, if they can get it cheap. Some would like to know the truth, if they could know it without the expenditure of much time and trouble in searching for it as hid treasures. Such would hold it very tenaciously, if it brought with it earthly honor and respect, and cost no loss of friends, influence, etc. But for such bargains you seek in vain. If seeking truth, and through it the crown, you must come prepared to pay for them.
In view of all the circumstances, is not selfishness while detestable always, especially so in relation to our covenant relationship to God? Let us rather be very ambitious to increase our capacity that we may thereby increase our service and sacrifice, saying with the Apostle: I count all things but refuse, for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ,...that I might know him and [experience] the power of HIS RESURRECTION [to spiritual being], and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death: If by any means, I might attain unto THE [emphatic article in Greekthe special or chief] resurrection of the dead, [literalOut from among the dead.] (Phil. 3:8-11.) "They that are with Him are Called and Chosen and FAITHFUL." (Rev. 17:14.)