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XXVIII

THE MALADY OF NOT WANTING

“Woe unto you that are full.”—Luke vi. 25.

SOME of our Saviour’s severest words were spoken to just this sort of people. The people had no sense of want. They were fully contented. Their journey was ended, and they had arrived at their goal. There was nothing alluring them which was still beyond their reach. There was no urging hunger for the beyond. Desire was dead. They were full! When they looked upon the Master they had no vision of untraversed worlds. There was no beauty that they should desire Him. They saw nothing they wanted. Now, people of this kind were the gravest problems with which our Lord had to deal. He could light the smouldering lamp of a poor publican, who, in his dejection, would not so much as lift his eyes to heaven. And he could recover some poor 107woman who was a sinner, and who stood before him in aching silence. But who can pour wine into a full cup? Who can place treasure in a locked hand? Who can teach those who know everything? Who can save the righteous? “Woe unto you that are full!”

“The ill of all ills is the lack of desire.” So sings Faber, and we can test ourselves whether or not that greatest ill is lodged in our own life. All we have to do is to get into the Presence of Jesus Christ. Have we any sense of want when we stand before Him? Have we any sharp conviction of poverty? Is there anything in our souls which resembles the stricken feeling of utter crudeness which afflicts some amateur artist when he brings his own works among the finished works of a great master? Is there any height, or depth, or breadth which stagger us in their range? Is there any holiness glistening far above us like virgin snow on Alpine heights? Is there any love, stronger than sin, or death, or hell? Is there any grace, invincible as granite, and yet tender as the violet that nestles in a cleft of the granite? When we stand before our Saviour 108have we any sense of awful want? Have we any vision of unsearchable riches? Or are we full, and we want none of it? Do we say, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up! Take thine ease?” Then our satisfaction is the ominous sign of spiritual death. Woe unto you that are full.

“Blessed are ye that hunger now!” But suppose we do not hunger, and we know we do not? Well, we can take sides against ourselves. We can set our wills against our own desireless hearts. We can force ourselves upon our knees in the Presence of the Lord whose grace and beauty we do not crave. We can tell Him we have no fire in our grate, and we know it, and that the pity is we have scarcely any desire for it. And we can say to Him, “Thou seest how great is my need of Thee!” We can present our desireless hearts for His recreating grace. And what will happen? “In the wilderness shall waters break out and streams in the desert.” And some day, and perhaps very soon, the desire-less heart which is thus offered to the Lord shall break out in singing, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee, and there is none upon the earth that I desire beside Thee.”

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