By F. SUTER
May we talk about the word NOTHING in various connections in which we find it in the precious book that God has given us? Let us turn first to Gal. 6 : 3 where we read: If a man think himself to be something when he is NOTHING, he deceiveth himself. Such self-deception in a servant of Christ is fatal. For by it he renders himself unusable in the hands of his Lord. Let us beware of an exaggerated idea of ourselves, our importance, our ability, our gifts. Be not wise in your own conceits says Paul (Rom. 12: 16). Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him (Prov. 26: 12). Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight (Isaiah 5: 21). Even the Apostle Paul was in danger of being exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations given unto him. Therefore the Lord Jesus saw that it was needful to give to him a thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to buffet him. When the purpose of it was revealed to him he ceased to ask for deliverance; but rejoiced in the sufficient grace of Christ. Following that it is most interesting to observe the Apostle Pauls estimate of himself: (1) He says that he is the chief of sinners (1 Tim. 1: 15). (2) Least, of the Apostles, and not meet to be called an Apostle (1 Cor. 15: 9). (3) Less than the least of all saints. It seems as if he could not find A low enough place and so puts himself below the least. (4) Finally he says: though I be NOTHING (2 Cor. 12: 11). So then neither is he that planteth ANYTHING, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase" (1 Cor. 3: 7).
Now let.us turn to 1 Cor. 9: 16, where we find the word NOTHING in another connection. Here the Apostle Paul says: Though I preach the gospel, I have NOTHING to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me. He goes a step further and adds: Yea, woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel. The word translated necessity implies a compelling urge, constraint, hence an obligation to do; no alternative but to do, therefore he must preach the gospel. The word is used in this sense in Luke 23: 17. The late C. H. Spurgeon used to say to the students in Pastors College: Dont preach if you can help it. He had learned the truth of this verse. The true servant of Christ preaches the gospel because he cant help it, he feels the urge of the necessity laid upon him. Therefore he has NOTHING to boast of. Praise God for every servant of Christ who is conscious of that urge, that constraint, and who apprehends the woe of not preaching the gospel, for it alone is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believeth.
Now let us turn to 2 Cor. 6: 10. As poor yet making many rich; as having NOTHING, yet possessing all things. I wonder if we have ever considered this aspect of the service of Christ. Having NOTHING ourselves yet having the distinguished honour of being the dispensers of the unsearchable riches of Christ. As poor yet making many rich. Blessed, says Jesus, are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Christ, though He was rich, yet for our sakes He became poor, that we, through His poverty, might be rich (2 Cor. 8: 9), Hath not God chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom which God hath promised to them that love Him (James 2: 5). For all things are yours; whether Paul or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours: and ye are Christ's; and Christ is Gods: (1 Cor. 3: 21-23). Then the Apostle goes on to say (1 Cor. 4: 1): Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. What a position! What an honour! He gives us also this assurance: God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son Jesus Christ our Lord: (1 Cor. 1: 9). Let us consider with humility and gratitude this exalted position, and rejoice in the distinguished honour and privilege of being made, though we are NOTHING in ourselves, and have NOTHING, dispensers of the unsearchable riches of Christ, Gods riches in glory by Christ Jesus, as poor yet making many rich. Hallelujah! Freely ye have received, freely give (Matt. 10: 8) When I sent you, said Jesus to his disciples, without purse and bag and shoes, lacked ye anything? And they said, NOTHING (Luke 22: 35). In such circumstances as these is there any room for anxiety? Be careful for NOTHING, says the Apostle Paul in writing to the Philippian believers, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus (Phil. 4: 6-7). Let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting NOTHING (James 1: 4).
There is another interesting connection in which we find this word. 1 Cor. 8: 2: If any man think that he knoweth anything, he knoweth NOTHING yet as he ought to know. Let us beware of being proud of our knowledge. It is wiser to be ashamed of our ignorance than to be proud of our little knowledge. For our encouragement let us consider that it is of the NOTHINGS that God makes use. Now turn to 1 Cor. 1: 27: God hath chosen the foolish thing of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which ate not, to bring to nought things that are. My strength, said Jesus to the Apostle Paul, is made perfect in weakiiess (2 Cor. 12: 9). God hath spoken once, says David, twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God (Psalm 62: 11). All power, said Jesus to his disciples, is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye THEREFORE (Matt. 28: 18-19).
The great hindrance with most of us is, that we are too strong in ourselves for God to use us, and He has to use means in His wisdom to reduce our strength that He may be able to demonstrate that the power is His and not ours. It is only when I am weak in myself that Christ can be strong in me. When I am weak, says the Apostle Paul, then am I strong. Without me, says the Master, ye can do NOTHING.
Gideons case presents us
with a precious lesson. Gideon had put
God to the test three times, and God put Gideons faith to the test three
times. Gideon had gathered a great army
with which to fight against the Midianites; but God saw where Gideon saw not. The people are too
many for ME to give the Midianites
in to their hand, lest
- The Peruvian Inland