THE WIDOW’S MITE
“As I sat beside a small bright fire, enjoying my tea with my boy, after his hard day’s work,” said the widowed mother, “I was quite overcome to think of the goodness of God to me: how He had inclined the hearts of people to show me kindness, and provided me with so many comforts during the bitter weather. I could tell of grace in all the providences given me, for I was quite sure I never deserved one of them. When my boy left me to run an errand for a neighbour, my thoughts went out toward the poor friendless creatures who had neither food nor fire, and I thought of one poor thing who I was sure wanted both; so I wrapped up in an old handkerchief a knob of coal, and I started off with it to Mrs. Jones. Poor soul! my heart ached for her. There she sat over a few ashes; not a bit of food, and not able to walk across the room, with a great tumour in her side. I made up a fire for her, cleaned up her place, saw her into bed, and left her for the night. As I walked home, I thought of the difference God had put between us: I returning to my tidy, comfortable home, hearty and well; she dirty, sick, infirm, and, worse still, not a blink of light in her soul, and yet full of false confidence. When I thought of my own dark days, my pride and enmity to the truth, my hatred to God’s people, my confidence in my own righteousness, though I had none, and yet the grace that met with me, and made us to differ, I was melted under a sense of gratitude and thankfulness.
“Next morning, I had to go early to my brother’s, and, as I was walking up the hill, what should I see lying in the road but a knob of coal twice as big as the one I had given to Mrs. Jones the evening before. There was no sound of a cart; there was no one about; it seemed there for me. I walked slowly over to the spot where it lay, tied it up in my handkerchief, and carried it home, wondering in myself at this liberal payment for my small knob of coal.”
Reader, if you give with the thought that you will get by it, God in mercy will disappoint you. But, if you give in the generosity of love, and feel impelled by the principle of grace “to give, hoping for nothing again”, the Lord will own this gospel spirit, and you will surely find “there is that scattereth, and yet increaseth”, and “the bountiful eye shall be blessed”.
Grace in operation leads the soul to eye Christ in what is done; and, at the last, the condemnation of the ungodly consists in this, “Ye did it not to me”. The apostolic injunction is, “Whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as to the Lord, and not unto men”. This is the touchstone that proves regeneration, and shows where the unrenewed sinner stands. They may go a long way in fleshly piety, natural amiability, earnest self-denial, deep religiousness;
but to eye Christ in what they do, they cannot, for they are “children in whom is no faith”; therefore they have no eye to see Christ;
and “whatever is not of faith is sin”. It is not what we do that God eyes, but the spirit and motive in which it is done. This is the mainspring which makes the watch go, and grace in the heart is the true principle which produces what is right; testifies to that which is wrong; leads to the blood of sprinkling; and makes us hate alike our sins and our righteousness, and seek refuge in the arms of a compassionate and forgiving Saviour.