HH, Sir Godfrey Gregg D.Div
And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.–Matthew 14:20
Love Never Asks How Little Can I Do
One of the characteristics of our Lord was a certain glorious lavishness, an uncalculating generosity that was impatient of the less or more. This made Him very lovable. It was one of the features of His grace. He exhibited that royal largeness which always captivates the human heart. For the miser is universally condemned, and the stingy person forever unattractive, nor does the niggard, though scrupulously just, ever really draw the hearts of men. There is a lavishness which is pure thoughtlessness, and which sooner or later issues in remorse. It is far easier for shallow natures to squander than to save. But the lavishness of Jesus struck its roots into His deepest being and was the flower of uncalculating love. Love never asks how little can I do; love always asks how much. Love does not merely go the measured mile; love travels to the uttermost. Love never haggles, never bargains, with “nicely calculated less or more.” It gives up to the point of prodigality.
The Lavishness of Jesus in His Actions
We find the lavishness of Christ in every sphere, and first, let us note it in His actions. “Gather up the fragments that remain, and they gathered up twelve baskets full.” Men find a lesson in economy. Christ was careful that not a crumb be lost. And it is well we should be taught that lesson–we are so apt to be careless with life’s fragments. But surely a far deeper lesson, leading us to the inmost heart of Jesus, is that of His uncalculating lavishness. He took no nice and precise measurements of what that hungry multitude required. He did not think of the minimum of need; He thought of the maximum of love. He gave so lavishly that when every man was fed, and every little whimpering child was satisfied, there yet remained twelve baskets full. That was the manner in which Jesus gave, and in such a manner is He giving still. Men come for healing, and they get pardon also. They come for a shilling and they get a sovereign. I take it that is why so many people fail to see the answers to their prayers; they have asked for a dollar, and they get a fortune.
The Lavishness of Jesus in His Parabolic Teaching
The same uncalculating lavishness of love is witnessed in the teaching of His parables. I do not think there is a single parable in which that divine element is wanting. The sower does not nicely measure things; he sows on the beaten path and on the rock. The employer of labour, at the eleventh hour, gives a full day’s pay for an hour’s work. The servant who was faithful with ten pounds finds himself the ruler of ten cities, no doubt to his own intense astonishment. Men quarrel with the doctrine of rewards. They say we ought to do good for its own sake. Christ, knowing human nature never hesitates to introduce rewards. But then His rewards are so amazing, so utterly unproportioned to our merit, that they entirely lose the aspect of reward, and shine as gifts of undeserved grace. When the poor prodigal came home again, bare forgiveness would have contented him. But it evidently did not content the overflowing heart of Jesus. The best robe must be given to him; there must be a ring on his finger and shoes upon his feet; there must be music and dancing in the house.
Jesus Noticed the Much Found in the Little
Again, we might think a moment of the kind of thing that Jesus loved. If we are to follow Him and take His scale of values, it is imperative that we discover that. He did not love the narrowness of Pharisees, nor had He any tenderness for lengthy prayers. He felt no sympathy with the precise exactitude that tithes the mint and the anise and the cumin. But one day He saw a widow woman lavishing her little all for God, and that caught the tendrils of His heart. Again, another day there came a woman with an alabaster box of precious ointment. And she broke the box and poured that precious ointment on the dear feet of Him whom she loved. And men were indignant at this gross extravagance–to what purpose is this waste?–but to Jesus, it was incomparably fine. It was not the squandering of hysteria. To Him, it was the lavishness of love. It was love, despising calculation, and giving to the very uttermost. He caught in it a spark of that same flame that had lit up every moment of His life and was now to shine in glory on the cross.
Was Christ’s Death for All a Waste Since All Do Not Accept Him?
Jesus died on the cross for every man. He died for the sins of the whole world. There was a virtue in that atoning death for all the guilty sinners of mankind. Now look around and tell me, are all men being saved? Are none going down into the glen of weeping? Are none heading for the outer darkness? If so, to what purpose is this waste? Why this lavish squandering of sacrifice in the agony and dereliction of the cross? The only answer is that God is love, and love never asks how little, but how much. Love does not calculate nor nicely measure; it gives as the woman with the alabaster box did.
- In that lavishness, our Saviour lived.
- In that lavishness, He fed the multitude.
- In that lavishness, He died on Calvary.