A New Year Message

C. H. Darch, Taunton, England

THROUGH the mercy of God we are now setting out on the New Year: when we shall be faced with new problems and new joys; when God will teach us new lessons, if we arc prepared to learn of Him ;   when He is willing to shower new blessings upon us, if we are prepared to receive them at His hands. When, too, we shall be sowing new seed, whether good seed or seed which has no value. In either case a harvest will certainly be reaped—a harvest of blessing or of sorrow— because, as every agriculturist knows, good seed brings forth a good harvest and the old proverb concerning bad seed is " One year's seed brings seven years' weed."
If the above is true in regard to our service, it is also true in regard to what will be sown in our hearts. Even if all the seed is good, much will depend upon the state of our hearts. We are reminded of Luke 8, where the seed sown fell on different soils, representing different states of heart. In the parable there are four kinds of soil, which may be described as " Hard-hearted " or the wayside, " Shallow-hearted " or stony ground, the " Half-hearted " or thorny ground, and " Honest-hearted " or good ground. Yet even the honest-hearted brought forth varying quan¬tities of fruit, some thirty, some sixty and some an hun¬dredfold.
A comparison of the three Gospels reveals that the shallow-hearted or stony-ground hearers, hear the Word and receive it with joy (Matt. 13. 20-22) and for a while believe (Luke 8. 13), enduring for a time (Mark 4. 17), yet bring forth no fruit; showing how near one can come to the Kingdom of Cod and yet not enter it for His glory.
In Gal. 5. 22, 23 we have the fruit of the Spirit, which should be brought forth in us : fruit against which there is no law ; fruit which, if brought forth in us, will make all the difference in our lives. Especially is it important for such to be found in the assembly of God's people, where love is of vital importance, because love binds together in unity.
Some want union, whilst others want uniformity, neither of which is of God, because God has not made His people like a rubber stamp ; but how good it is for brethren, in spite of their differences, to dwell together in unity (Psa. 133). In this Psalm the Holy Spirit gives illustra¬tions of the value of that unity which can be brought about only by love. First, " it is like the precious oint¬ment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirls of his garments " ; the whole man being covered with God's anointing oil, so that the savour of the myrrh, cinnamon, calamus, cassia and olive oil went with him into the service of God. Secondly, it is described as being as the dew of Hermon, a dew which fell so copiously, that in a dry season all was green where it fell, whilst elsewhere all was dry and withered. Finally, it was " there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." And when God commands the blessing, it comes ; it is not said " there He offered a blessing," but He commanded it. Unity in love is clearly the highway to blessing.
A Jewess, recently won for the Lord, said " The thing that strikes me most is, the way your people love each other and are totally unconscious of it " ; is it any wonder that she was born into the family ? Such unity is bound to bring forth joy and peace, whilst longsuffering, gentle¬ness and goodness will be manifest to our brethren and faithfulness to our God, and we shall lie meek and tem¬perate in all things.
Therefore how important it is that the right seed should be sown during the New Year, so that the right fruit be brought forth for the glory of God. May we be as those who " having heard the word keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience " (Luke 8. 15).
To do this we must let the Seed, which is the Word of God, dwell in us richly, remembering the words of the Lord, when He said, " Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them '* (not talks about (hem but puts them into practice), " I will liken him unto a wise man, who built his house upon a rock " (Matt. 7. 24).
May we, during the coming year, be able to choose the precious from the vile, for " What is the (-half to the wheat?" saith the Lord. Then the New Year will be one of rich blessing.