Text and art by I. Lilias Trotter
One has felt increasingly through this last decade that to get things to go on just as well without one is much to be desired; it is what nature aims at when the ripening time comes for seed or fruit. The latter must be ready for independent action and as long as the tree wants to keep tight hold on them, they cannot do their own work. Each generation must find its own way unhampered by the generation that went before.
This evening closes the year… I think it has been the happiest year of my life for it is wonderful… to watch the new horizons unfolding. Long ago, fifty years or more, it was a joy to think that God needed me; now it is a far deeper joy to know that he does not need me.
The return is to him as we see in the parable with the plants. They show us a love that seeks not her own; no one knows whence the seeds come when they reach their journey’s end; no glory can possibly gather round the plants that surrendered their lives to form and shed them. They just give and give, with no aim but to be bare stalks when all is done. Everything is loosed without a shade of calculation or self-interest.
‘Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name give glory’, they are all saying in spirit; they teach us absolute indifference as to whether our service is appreciated or even recognised so long as the work is done and the Lord is glorified, for God cannot get his whole glory as long as man gets any.
So no matter, if we never see the full up-springing on earth of the Spirit-seed scattered. It is all the more likely that God will trust us with a great multiplying if our faith does not need to witness it. He can grant us spiritual harvests out of sight of which only he gains the glory… for there is no limit to what God can do with a man, provided he will not touch the glory.