There was a concept that went on in Africa some years ago, which held that if you fail all your exams, and cannot do anything else, you go to a Bible School and become a preacher of the gospel. To me, this is the worst crime. In the first place, the gospel is the most difficult thing on earth. This is because to live the gospel is not a joke. And, to live under the light of God is a most serious affair. Then, to say that somebody who cannot do anything else should go and preach the gospel is disaster. God can use all kinds of people, but the best people should be those preaching the gospel. It is the most qualified who should be involved in preaching the gospel. If God does not deserve the best, who then deserves it? If God does not deserve the best men and the best women in this nation, who then deserves them?
If He does not deserve the best talents in the nation, who deserves them? If I were looking for preachers of the gospel, I would look for first class men and women. I would demand for consecrated hearts with the biggest brains and gifts. I would look for people for whom it would cost the maximum. That which costs you nothing has no use in the kingdom of God. It is useless to God. Recently, as we were praying for the work God has given us, I wrote a prayer in my Bible. I said, “Lord, remove from the ministry, all who would not put in their all, because they will cause it to fail.” When you put in your all, then you ensure that things go the right way. You make sure that you practically contribute by prayer and all that is possible.
Putting In Your All
An American millionaire wanted to start a new company. He called four other millionaires and told them, “I want you to invest in this new company. We shall share the profits equally.” They said it was a good idea. But he said that would be on one condition – that they closed all their other businesses and put all that they had into this new business. He was going to do same with his other businesses and put all into this business. Now, that was serious.
It was easy to buy the idea of this company, but when you had to put in your all, and cancel all the other possibilities, one man said, “No. It is too risky.” Three of the people accepted. That meant that four people in all got into the business. They sold the other companies and all else that they had and put their money into that new company. All of them are multi billionaires today. That man caught the secret. Since they put in their all, they also put in everything to ensure that it succeeded. If it failed, they were finished.
I want to ask about the assembly where you are a member. If that assembly fails, are you finished? If it got scattered? If there was terrible sin all over, and they had to close the assembly, would you be hard-broken? Or would you simply look for the next place in town and go there quietly, singing Hallelujah?
The assembly cannot succeed, if it is made of people who will look for the next place in town and go there, singing Hallelujah. Such people cannot invest their all. The person on whom the assembly is built, carries it at heart twenty-four hours a day. He carries the people in prayer. He watches over the people in prayer, investing time and everything else. Such a person will not just give a tithe. He will give sacrificially. He will put in all that he can.
Look at marriages. Someone has said that these days people marry for the better, and not for the worse. If there is the slightest difficulty, they agree to end it all. They married without putting in their all. Some even sign “Biens Séparés.” I heard it for the first time in French, and it means “separated property.” I think this is done in preparation for divorce. I asked somebody why he was doing such a thing. He answered that he did it so that when divorce comes, there will be no confusion in matters of property.
At the back of the minds of many, there is the day the marriage will end. How then can it work? The thoughts of their hearts will mature. Of course, that is not a Christian marriage. In a Christian marriage, you come putting in your all. You do not come into it anticipating divorce.
When I went to America, I was shocked. Even among believers, they marry and divorce, and many times over. I went to an assembly where there was a woman singing. She had married, divorced twice and was preparing for a third marriage. She did all this as a believer. I desired for a plane to take me back to Africa quickly. That is not the Christian faith. It is not Christianity.
In what are you paying the price? What is it costing you? We have seen in Mary Magdalene, a knowledge of the Lord Jesus, at cost. Let it be known that there will never be deep knowledge of the Lord, except at great cost. Look at every life that made impact for God and you will find that there was a great price paid.
David’s Route To Greatness
Let us take a look at David. He did not get to the throne easily. You know the price he paid. Before he got to the throne, he had learnt a new use for beards. He knew how to catch lions by the beard and kill them. He knew how to take bears by the beard and kill them. He said,
“Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear…” (1 Samuel 17:36).
Before he came to be prominent, he had sacrificed his life, more or less. When you face a lion or a bear with your empty hands, you either kill it or you are killed. He had known sacrifice, total sacrifice in private.
I can just imagine how he learnt to play the guitar. Maybe by sitting on a dead lion and learning how to play; or seating on a dead bear, and then striking the strings. What was the audience? Not beautiful girls, to clap. It was sheep. That is where the man learnt, day by day, to become the famous man that he was.
People forget the price that he paid before he was appointed for anointing. Before his private anointing by Samuel, he had anointed himself in the school of sacrifice. I can imagine a lioness saying, “All was well, till my husband went to attack David’s sheep. He has never come back.” She might have told the son, “You may go to all the sheep pens. But do not pass near the son of Jesse’s flock. I have already had enough heart-break.” The bears might have been crying out the same. He made a name for himself.
Those who became his mighty men were criminals, worthless men. These gathered around him. They were four hundred in number. Through patience and training, he made them into the mighty men of David. They did not grow in courts. They were trained. They were trained in the caves, on the run with David, running away from King Saul. There was a price paid.
Parents know that some of the children pay the price and the others do not. This price may be in obedience, hard work and being helpful. Parents also know that the children who pay the price are closer to their hearts. How then can one think that he will get to the heights without paying the price?