The Baptist Pillar © Brandon Bible Baptist Church 1992-Present www.baptistpillar.com
"...The church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth."
I Timothy 3:15
R. B. C. Howell
From The Baptist Pulpit of the United States, 1860
What do we mean when we say that what we hold is not our own but another's? We mean that we have no right to use it as our own. We must be governed in our use of it, simply by the direction of the owner. If we appropriate it to our own use, we are dishonest. We are guilty of robbery. Or, if he allows us to use it, or any part of it, for ourselves, we must be governed in all respects by his will. If a man commit his property into my hands for a term of time, I must surely do with it just what he prescribes.
And, again, we must give up what is not our own, whenever the owner calls for it. If we refuse, we are dishonest. We have no right to retain the whole, or any part of it. It is all the owner's, and he is the only rightful proprietor. If you lend a man a hundred dollars, and when you call upon him for it, he declines to surrender your property, or puts you off with a shilling, you would never trust him again. Now this is precisely what is meant, when, in our text, it is said, "Ye are not your own." Whatever we possess is not our own, but Christ's. A certain nobleman delivered to his servants talents, and said, "Occupy till I come."
You are called by the name of Christ. You profess to be his. You say you are not your own. But have you ever reflected on the meaning of this confession? You are a professional man; your learning, and talent, and influence are Christ's. What right have you to use them for the purpose of fostering your own ambition, or in any respect ministering to yourself? If you thus use them, you rob Christ.
You are a minister of the Gospel. You have been in a peculiar manner set apart to the service of the Saviour. You have, by your own will, laid yourself upon his altar. Have you then a right to live as other men live? Have you a right to shrink from hardship, and reproach, and inconvenience, and toil, and declare that you will serve Christ, but it must be in a comfortable settlement?
Have you a right to pursue what studies you please, to read what books you please, engage in what enterprises you please, for the sake of reputation, or honor, or power; or, in a word, to make your calling as an ambassador for Christ, an instrument for attaining to temporal ease, or honor, or emolument? Christ had infinitely greater facilities than you for doing this; did he use them thus? Paul was an abler and more learned man than you; he rejoiced in being made the offscouring of all things for Christ.
You are a merchant or mechanic. You are by industry and skill acquiring property and standing. But you say that these are not your own. By what right, then, do you use them as you do? In your arrangements at home and abroad, in your expenditures for pleasure or amusement, for yourselves or your children, in your principles of accumulation,
I do not see that you even profess to differ from honest worldly men around you, who never profess that they are not their own.