Ten Shekels and a Shirt (Part 5)
By the same token: Why aren’t you pressed through to know the fullness of the Holy Spirit? Why aren’t you pressed through to know the fullness of Christ? I’ll tell you why! Because the only possible way that Jesus Christ will get glory out of a life that He’s redeemed with His precious Blood is when He can fill that life with His presence and live through it His own life.
The genius of our faith wasn’t that we were going to go through the motions like a Levite—that we’re hired to serve God. No, no. The genius of our faith was that we’d come to a place where we knew we could do nothing, and all we could do would be to present the vessel and say, “Lord Jesus, You’ll have to fill it. And everything that’s done will have to be done by You and for You.” But, oh, I know so many people that are trying to know the fullness of God so that they can use God.
A young preacher came to me down in Huntington, West Virginia. He said, “Brother Reidhead, I’ve got a great church. I’ve got a wonderful Sunday School program, got a radio ministry, it’s growing. But I feel a personal need and a personal lack. I need to be baptized with the Holy Ghost. I need to be filled with the Spirit. And someone told me God had done something for you, and I wonder if you could help me?”
I looked at the fellow, and you know what he looked like? ME. Just looked like me. I just saw in him everything that was in me. You thought I was going to say me before. No, listen, dear heart, if you’ve ever seen yourself, you’ll know that you’re never going to be anything else than you were. “For in me and my flesh there’s no good thing” (Rom 7:18). He looked like me. He was like a fellow driving up in a big Cadillac to someone standing at the filling station, saying, “Fill ‘er up, Bub, with the highest octane you got!”
Well, that’s the way it looked. He wanted power for his program. But God is not going to be a means to anyone’s end. I said, “I’m awfully sorry, I don’t think that I can help you.” He said, “Why?” I said, “I don’t think you’re ready. I suppose you consider yourself coming up with a Cadillac. You’ve talked about your program, you’ve talked about your radio, you’ve talked about your Sunday School and church. It’s very good. You’ve done wonderfully well without the power of the Holy Spirit.” That’s what the Chinese Christian said, you know, when he got back to China. “What impressed you most about America?” He said, “The great things Americans can accomplish without God.” And he’d accomplished a great deal, admittedly without God. Now he wanted something of power to accomplish his ends even further.
I said, “No, no, you’re sitting behind the wheel, and you’re saying to God, ‘Give me power so I can go.’ You won’t work, you’ve got to slide over.” But I knew that rascal, because I knew me. I said, “No, it will never do, you’ve got to get in the back seat.” And I could see him leaning over and grabbing the wheel. “No,” I said, “it will never do in the back seat.” I said, “Before God will do anything for you, you know what you’ve go to do?” He said, “What?” I said, “You’ve got to get out of the car, take the keys around, open up the trunk lid, hand the keys to the Lord Jesus, get inside the trunk, slam the lid down, and whisper through the keyhole, ‘Lord look, fill ‘er up with anything You want, and You drive. It’s up to You from now on.’”
That’s why so many people you know do not enter into the fullness of Christ: because they want to become a Levite with ten shekels and a shirt. They’ve been serving Micah, but they think if they had the power of the Holy Ghost they could serve the tribe of Dan. It will never work. Never work. There’s only one reason for God “needing” you, and that’s to bring you to the place where, in repentance, you’ve been pardoned for His glory. And in victory you’ve been brought to the place of death that He might reign. And in His fullness, Jesus Christ is able to live and walk in you, and your attitude must be the attitude of the Lord Himself, who said, “I can do nothing of Myself” (John 8:28). I can’t speak of myself. I don’t make plans for myself. My only reason for being is the glory of God in Jesus Christ.
If I were to say to you, “Come to be saved so you can go to heaven, come to the cross so that you can have joy and victory, come for the fullness of the Spirit so that you can be satisfied,” I’d be falling into the trap of humanism. I’m going to say to you, dear friend, if you’re out here without Christ, you come to Jesus Christ and serve Him as long as you live, whether you go to hell at the end of the way, BECAUSE HE IS WORTHY!
I say to you, Christian friend, you come to the cross and join Him in union and death and enter into all the meaning of death to self, in order that He can have glory. I say to you, dear Christian, if you do not know the fullness of the Holy Ghost, come and present your body a living sacrifice, and let Him fill you so that He can have the purpose for His coming fulfilled in you and get glory through your life. IT’S NOT WHAT YOU’RE GOING TO GET OUT OF GOD, IT’S WHAT HE IS GOING TO GET OUT OF YOU.
Let’s be done, once and for all, with utilitarian Christianity that makes God a means, instead of the glorious END that He is. Let’s resign. Let’s tell Micah we’re through. We’re no longer going to be his priests serving for ten shekels and a shirt. Let’s tell the tribe of Dan we’re through. And let’s come and cast ourselves at the feet of the nail-pierced Son of God and tell Him that we’re going to obey Him, and love Him, and serve Him as long as we live, BECAUSE HE IS WORTHY!
Two young Moravians heard of an island in the West Indies where an atheist British owner had 2000 to 3000 slaves. The owner had said, “No preacher, no clergyman, will ever stay on this island. If he’s shipwrecked, we’ll keep him in a separate house until he has to leave, but he’s never going to talk to any of us about God. I’m through with all that nonsense.” Three thousand slaves from the jungles of Africa brought to an island in the Atlantic, there to live and die without hearing of Christ.
Two young Moravians heard about it. They sold themselves to the British planter and used the money they received from the sale—for he paid no more than he would for any slave—to pay their passage out to his island, for he wouldn’t even transport them. And as the ship left its pier in the river at Hamburg and was going out into the North Sea carried with the tide, the Moravians had come from Herrnhut to see these two lads off in their early twenties, never to return again. For this wasn’t a four year term; they’d sold themselves into lifetime slavery, simply that as slaves they could be as Christians for these others.
The families were there weeping, for they knew they’d never see them again. They wondered why they were going and questioned the wisdom of it. As the gap widened and the housings had been cast off and were being curled up there on the pier, and the young boys saw the widening gap, one lad, with his arm linked through the arm of his fellow, raised his hand and shouted across the gap the last words that were heard from them. They were these: “May the Lamb that was slain receive the reward of His suffering!”
This became the call of Moravian missions. And this is the only reason for being...that the Lamb that was slain may receive the reward of His suffering!
Ten Shekels and a Shirt is the transcript of a spoken teaching by Paris Reidhead, delivered spontaneously from the heart during the mid-1960’s. Used by permission. You may reproduce this writing if you wish, so long as you copy it in its entirety (including this notice) and distribute it free of charge.