The Garnering of the Least Grain
‘I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth.’— Amos ix. 9.
THERE is double comfort here, as to others and as to ourselves.
As to others,—have not some of us had a scarcely detected notion, as if to some extent the salvation of others depended upon our efforts ? Of course, we never put it in so many words \ but has there not been something of a feeling that if we tried very hard to win a soul we should succeed, and if we did not try quite enough it would get lost? And this has made our service anxious and burdensome.
But what says Christ ? *A11 that the Father giv-eth Me shall come to Me.’^ They shall come, for the Father will draw them, and Jesus will attract them, and the Holy Spirit will lead them. And the purpose precedes the promise, even as the promise precedes the call, and the call precedes the coming. Thus God first planned and proposed the ark for the salvation of Noah from the flood. Then He said, *Thou shalt come into the ark.’^
1 John vi. 37. 2 Gen. vi- 13, 16; ib. ver. 18.
Long after that, when all things were ready, He said, * Come thou and all thy house into the ark.’^ And then Noah went in; and then * the Lord shut him in.’^
Now let us, in our work, practically trust our Lord as to His purposes, promises, and calls; quite satisfied that He * will work, and who shall let it ? ‘^ that He will not accidentally miss anybody, or lose anything of all that the Father hath given Him, for this is the Father’s own will.*
It may seem a great trial of trust very often, but who is it that we have to trust thus unquestioningly and quietly ? Jesus Christ! Cannot we trust Hirn whom the Father trusted with the tremendous work of redemption ? Shall He not do right ? Cannot we trust the Good Shepherd about His own sheep ? Why should it actually seem harder to trust Him about His own affairs than about our own ? ^ Trust in Him at all times,’^ includes the time when we almost fancy the salvation of a dear one depends on our little bits of prayers and efforts. Not that this trust will tend to easy-going idleness. It never does this when it is real. The deepest trust leads to the most powerful action. It is the silencing oil that makes the machine obey the motive power with greatest readiness and result.
Then the comfort for ourselves. Satan has desired to have us, that he may sift us as wheat f but the Lord Himself keeps the sieve in His own hand, and pledges His word that not the least grain shall fall on the earth.”
1 Gen. vii. i. 2 Gen. vii. 7, 16. 8 Isa. xliii. 13.
4 John vi. 39. 6 Ps. Ixii. 8. « Luke xxii. 31.
7 Amos ix. 9.
We are so glad of that word, ‘not the least;^ not even me, though less than the least of all s<aints,^ though feeling as if my only claim upon Christ Jesus is that I am the chief of sinners.’^
‘ Not the least grain; * for He says, * Ye shall be gathered one by one.’ Think of His hand gathering you separately and individually out of His million-sheaved harvest; gathering you, one by one always, into His garner, even in that tremendous day of sifting, when He shall thoroughly purge His floor.^ You may feel a little overlooked sometimes now; only one among so very many, and perhaps not first nor even second in anybody’s love, or care, or interest, but He is watching His * least grains* all the time. A flock of sheep look most uninterestingly alike and hopelessly undistinguishable to us, but a good shepherd knows every one quite well. Yes, the Good Shepherd calleth His own sheep by name here,* and * in Zion every one of them ap-peareth before God.’^
For as He said at first, ‘AH that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me ; ‘^ so He says they ‘ shall come from the east and west*^ to receive the eternal welcome to the great feast of His kingdom ; His ‘ sons shall come from far,’^ ‘ they shall co77ie up with acceptance ;’ till every one (and that means you and I) has heard His own ‘ Come, ye blessed of My Father,’^ and has come into the fulness of all that He has prepared for us.
1 Eph. iii. 8. 2 i Tim. i. 13. 3 Matt. iii. 12.
4 John X. 3. 6 Ps. Ixxxiv. 7. * John vi. 37.
» Matt. viii. ii. 8 isa. Ix. 4, 7. « Matt. xxv. 34,
Our Saviour and our King,
Enthroned and crowned above, Shall with exceeding gladness bring
The children of His love.
All that the Father gave
His glory shall behold; Not one whom Jesus came to save
Is missing from His fold.