A First Book of Daily Readings
by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (selected by Frank Cumbers)
Thou didst not spare Thine only Son,
But gav'st Him for a world undone,
And freely with that blessed One,
Thou givest all
A farmer one day went happily and with great joy in his heart to report to his wife and family that their best cow had given birth to twin calves, one red and one white. And he said, "You know I have suddenly had a feeling and impulse that we must dedicate one of these calves to the Lord. We will bring them up together, and when the time comes we will sell one and keep the proceeds, and we will sell the other and give the proceeds to the Lord's work." His wife asked him which he was going to dedicate to the Lord. "There is no need to bother about that now," he replied, "we will treat them both in the same way, and when the time comes we will do as I say." ... In a few months the man entered his kitchen looking very miserable and unhappy. When his wife asked him what was troubling him, he answered, "I have bad news to give you. The Lord's calf is dead." "But," she said, "you had not decided which was to be the Lord's calf." "Oh yes," he said; "I had always decided it was to be the white one, and it is the white one that has died. The Lord's calf is dead."
We may laugh at that story, but God forbid that we should be laughing at ourselves. It is always the Lord's calf that dies. When money becomes difficult, the first thing we economize on is our contribution to God's work. It is always the first to go. Perhaps we must not say "always," for that would be unfair; but with so many it is the first thing, and the things we really like are the last to go These things tend to come between us and God, and our attitude to them ultimately determines our relationship to God. The mere fact that we believe in God, and call Him Lord, Lord, and likewise with Christ, is not proof in and of itself that we are serving Him, that we recognize His totalitarian demand.
Studies in the Sermon on the Mount, ii, pp. 95-6