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18

III

HOW THE BEST THINGS BECOME OURS

“He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for My sake shall find it.”—Matt. x. 39.

THIS is one of the great laws of the spiritual life, and it covers all the highest things of the Spirit. If we selfishly hoard some spiritual bounty we shall certainly lose it. If we graciously give it away, eagerly letting it out of our hands, we shall have it in increasing abundance and in ever firmer possession. Spiritual treasure is like the widow’s cruse of oil, it is ours as long as it is shared.

Nothing is really our own until we communicate it to others. We never see these great things until they are on the way to our neighbour. There are birds which never reveal the beauty of their plumage until they lift their wings to fly. And God’s wonderful gifts to our spirit, gifts of truth and consolation, nestling in the depths of the soul, 19never unfold their hidden glory until we disturb them and send them away to other lives. Just when we are giving them away they become ours in unsuspected strength and beauty. I suppose that the Apostle Paul found new insight into the sacred mysteries of the Lord’s Supper every time he unveiled its privileges to other people, and led them to the wonderful feast. “I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you.” That is the appointed order in all vital possession. We receive of the Lord; we deliver unto you. And it is only in delivering unto others that the wealth of the reception is revealed. Every time Paul brought a new guest to share the sacramental meal his own spiritual inheritance broadened from glory to glory.

How is it with a truth? We never really own a truth until we begin to share it. The very effort to impart it gives us a stronger hold upon it. Every teacher has this experience. To share some truth with a child opens it out in new splendour. It becomes clearer and more beautiful as it is going away. We gain it while we lose it. How is it with a joy? Unshared joy soon burns itself 20out, but joy that is shared burns with extraordinary glow. It is oxygenated by fellowship. “That My joy may be in you.” That is the law of growth in the matter of joy. My joy in you! It is then that joy blazes with wonderful light and heat.

And how is it with a conviction? My conviction more than doubles its strength when I impart it to somebody else. When I establish another man’s life on some great faith or fidelity which forms one of the foundations in my life my sense of stability is immensely enriched. I am led into the experience to which the Apostle Paul refers when he says, “That I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me.” We are drinking of the rock which follows us, and that rock is Christ. And, finally, how is it with peace? Who knows the real deep inwardness of peace until he becomes a peacemaker? Peace is not something we can keep, and nurse, and enjoy in the locked-up seclusion of our own souls. Peace becomes weak, and sickly, and restless in such imprisonment. We only know God’s peace in its vital strength as we become peacemakers, enlisting in the ministry of 21reconciliation, seeking it by sacrifice, yea, making peace with our own blood. It was He who came to shed His blood in the work of reconciliation, “so making peace,” who was able to speak very quietly, and confidently, and profoundly of “My peace.” And it is along that road, it may be a long way off, but still on that road and following Him, that we too shall come to know the riches of the peace which is ours in Christ Jesus our Lord. And we shall find it as we lose it.

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