What can mortal man give to his God?
(Archibald Brown, "What shall I give Him?" 1870)
"What shall I render to the Lord, for all His benefits towards me?"
"What shall I render to the Lord?" Here is a question far easier asked, than answered. I confess that in studying this subject, when I asked my soul this question, and then tried faithfully to answer it, I found myself completely bewildered. I found I had all the desire in the world to render something. But what?
Think for a moment of the possessions of God. What can mortal man give to his God? How can the treasury of the Creator — be enriched by the gifts of the creature? The thought of our God's infinite wealth, makes the question of our text appear next door to an impertinence. Listen but to His own words, "I have no need of a bull from your stall or of goats from your pens, for every animal of the forest is Mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills. I know every bird in the mountains, and the creatures of the field are Mine! If I were hungry I would not tell you, for the world is Mine, and all that is in it!" Psalm 50:9-12
The golden veins of the everlasting hills are His, and the hidden treasures of the vast deep belong to Him. Lift up your eyes on high some starry night, and behold the bespangled skies — every glittering speck you see is a rolling world, and every world is the result of His handiwork. The heavens are but His jewel-case!
Now say believer, what you will lay at the feet of Him who can place His hand upon Heaven, Earth, and Hell, and say, "All is Mine!"
But apart from the possessions of our God, there is another insuperable difficulty to answering the question, and that is our own poverty. It is total poverty talking making a gift to infinite wealth. Ransack your memory, run over your accounts, find out what you possess. What is the sum total? Nothing! Nothing!! Nothing!!! We are miserable bankrupts, not worth a jot. The very bread we eat is the bread of divine charity — and the breath we draw is lent to us. It is utter emptiness, talking of giving to the perfection of fullness. It is the beggar rendering to the benefactor!
If we were able to give Him anything — it would be but rendering to Him what is already His own. What do we have, that we have not first received from God? "Everything comes from You, and we have given You only what comes from Your hand!" 1 Chronicles 29:14
The heart's gratitude is all the saint can give in return for divine mercies that are fresh with every hour, and as numerous as the seconds in the day.
But if thanksgiving is good, remember thanks-living is better; therefore let your whole life join in the harmony! Live for Him who died for you! The highest praise that mortal saint can give, is the praise that vents itself in the exclamation, "For me, to live is Christ!"
Give Him your love. Nothing testifies to gratitude so much. Indeed, where love is lacking, no true praise can exist. Do not be afraid of loving Him too much. Do not fear being thought a fanatic, or considered an enthusiast. If you could love Him to a flaming passion — you would not love Him half enough. Give Him your love — He asks for it, and will pardon its weakness.