For if the eagerness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what he does not have.
I. THE GENERAL PRINCIPLE HERE PROPOUNDED. It is that the requirements of God correspond to the possessions of man.
1. What men have, they have received from the undeserved bounty of their Creator. This holds good with regard to property and to talents and opportunities.
2. An account is expected from every man by him who is the Judge and sovereign Lord of all. We are to some extent and in some matters accountable to our fellow men, but foreverything to him in whom "we live, and move, and have our being."
3. The rule according to which the supreme Governor will judge mankind is one of absolute rectitude - "according to that a man hath." The feeble man will not be expected to have done the work of the strong; the dull man the work of the genius; the peasant the work of the prince; nor the beggar to have given with the generosity of the millionaire. But each must answer for that which has been entrusted to himself. In all things the disposition, the spirit, the endeavour, will be taken into account; "if there be first the ready mind" - "if the forward zeal be at hand." Such is the universal condition of Divine acceptance and approval.
II. THE SPECIAL APPLICATION OF THE PRINCIPLE HERE DEDUCED.
1. In the matter of gifts there is scope for moral culture and watchfulness. Unless liberality be shown upon definite principle, it will most likely not be shown at all. There is need of watching against selfishness and avarice.
2. It is well for every Christian to anticipate and apply beforehand the Divine principle - to judge himself, that he may not be judged by God; to put to himself the question, "How much owest thou unto thy Lord?"
3. Especially should the inspired rule of liberality be observed by those who are prospering in the world. As means increase, let gifts be enlarged. The Judge cannot accept from the wealthy the gifts which were approved when offered by the poor. - T.
If there be first a willing mind, it is accepted according to that a man hath.
(H. W. Sulivan, M. A.)I. WANT OF POWER TO DO MORE SHALL NOT MAR THE ACCEPTANCE OF WHAT IS DONE FROM A WILLING MIND ACCORDING TO POWER. In that case God will accept of His people's will for the deed.
1. In what particular cases God accepts His people's will for the deed.(1) Where there is a sincere will to serve Him in a piece of work requiring some external abilities which are wanting (Acts 3:6).(2) When doing the best we can through grace, our work after all is attended with many blemishes.(3) Going as far as we have access in a work, but meeting with a providential stop (Hebrews 11:17). There is a great difference betwixt the stops men make and those which God makes; the former argues an unwilling mind, but the latter not so.(4) Services that one really desires, and fain would perform for God, but have not opportunity (2 Chronicles 6:8; Philippians 4:10).(5) Services performed with a real desire of success for God's honour and men's good; the Lord accepts the good will to the success denied, as if it had succeeded according to their wish (Isaiah 49:4; 2 Corinthians 2:15).
2. Why does God accept such will for the deed?(1) The sincere will to a work is present, which God mainly regards.(2) We have a merciful High Priest to present that will for acceptance, notwithstanding all the weaknesses, blemishes, providential hindrances, want of opportunity, and failure of success, that it may be attended with (Hebrews 4:15, 16).
3. We have a merciful Father to deal with (Psalm 103:13, 14).
(T. Boston, D. D.)
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