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Refusal of the Small

By Hugh Black

      "By faith Moses...refused..." (Heb. 11:24).

      Faith is the refusal of the small, for the sake of the large. Faith will make no decision, take no step, merely from worldly motives; for it sees past the immediate good to a richer, grander good. Worldly-wisdom is not wisdom; it is folly, the blind grasping at what is within reach. It is folly, for any present good, to cut yourself off from your true life. A good conscience, peace of heart, faith, the vision of God, the hope of glory--it is a fool's bargain (let pot-house moralists prate as they may) to barter these for any mess of pottage. To rake in the dust-heap for scraps of treasure heedless of the golden crown to be had for the looking and the taking--that was Lot's choice, and that is the choice of every soul who seeks first the world. Demas thought he was doing a wise thing in leaving Paul when earthly success seemed lost, but this present world, seductive though it was to him, however much it brought him, was a poor, a contemptible exchange for the days and nights with Paul, and the life lived by the Son of God. And his name is an infamy. Lot thought he was doing a wise thing in making the choice he did, but a share in the wealth of Sodom was a pitiful substitute for a place in Abram's company, and a share in Abram's thoughts and faith. And the end was a ruined home, a desolate life, and a broken heart.

      Which is the wiser choice? Paul and a Roman prison and Jesus Christ--or Demas and the present world and an apostate's mind? Abram and the barren hillside and God--or Lot and the cities of the plain and Sodom's shame?

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