1 Corinthians 4:7
For who makes you to differ from another? and what have you that you did not receive? now if you did receive it, why do you glory…
I. REFLECT UPON THE FACT. Are apt to forget it altogether. So anomaly is often presented of our quarrelling over "possessions" which do not belong to us, and boasting of that to which we have no title. The air we breathe, the world we dwell upon, our food, clothing, and shelter, our "prosperity" as we fondly call it, - these things are lent to us by God. So also our powers - yea, our very existence is not of ourselves, but of God. If we were to have taken away from ourselves all that we have received through the free benevolence of God, what would be left? Our salvation, our spiritual joys, our glad prospects, are also of him.
II. DUE REMEMBRANCE OF OUR INDEBTEDNESS WILL HELP TO CHECK PRIDE. We are apt to regard things as though we had not received them - as though they were our own in some other sense than as received from God. Thus we become proud of our attain merits and belongings, and glory in ourselves as possessors, if not originators, and not in God. For the luxury of boasting we easily delude ourselves. A gracious recollection of the actual state of the case should do something in the way of shaking the throne of conceit and vain glory. Pride is great folly as well as great sin, and when we indulge in it we have to smother our common sense. And of all pride, "spiritual pride" is the most reprehensible and the most absurd.
III. DUE REMEMBRANCE OF OUR INDEBTEDNESS MAY INCLINE US TO USE ARIGHT WHAT WE HAVE RECEIVED. Instead of pride, we should feel responsibility. Instead of boasting, we should desire to employ wisely and well the Divine benefaction. The things which we handle, see, and have, are not ours, but God's. We are stewards, and presently shall have to give an account of our stewardship. We should ask, For what are these things given? What does God wish us to do with them?
IV. DUE REMEMBRANCE OF OUR INDEBTEDNESS WILL TEND TO INSPIRE GRATITUDE AND LOVE. He distinguishes us by his bounty. All we receive is of pure benevolence; we have done no work for it, we have not merited it. If only a little had been withheld, we should have lived in misery. Our joy and usefulness are dependent upon Divine gift. We thus get glimpses of the love of God, and, as he has first loved us, we should also love him.
V. DUE REMEMBRANCE OF OUR INDEBTEDNESS WILL TEND TO QUICKEN FAITH. How much God has done for us! We have not to trust for that! It has come to pass. And will not the Unchangeable continue to help us and to supply all our need? We have the promises, and the past tells us of no broken promise. Past experience should speak death to present doubt and fear. - H.
Parallel VersesKJV: For who maketh thee to differ from another? and what hast thou that thou didst not receive? now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory, as if thou hadst not received it?