STILL A HANDFUL
Here is another hymn:
- Anxious one, why hold that handful?
Let the prophet first be filled.
Your finances, if God handles,
How can your supply run dry?
Fresh necessities come daily,
Daily there are fresh supplies.
Since you are His own creation,
Will He not for you design?
Still you’re loving, and still giving,
Still there is a handful left.
For all love and all your giving,
Many-fold He’ll give you more.
- O believe! He’ll not delay you,
Ne’er too quick is He, nor slow.
O believe! The cruse, ne’er empty,
Nor will it be dry, nor filled.
Though the lilies lack their clothing,
Though the birds may not have food,
Yet the widow’s little barrel,
Always has a handful still.
- Why need worry for tomorrow,
When there’s now enough to share?
Why need borrow next day’s trouble,
When we have our handful still?
Love is living; giving’s saving;
Those who sow much reap much more.
When you think that all is emptied,
Look, there is a handful still.
This hymn is based on the story in 1 Kings 17. In our concept we do not care for the prophets. We think that taking care of the prophet is God’s problem, God’s business. But here the prophet is put into the hymn, which means that the prophet is also the business of God’s people.
Those who have not handed over themselves will worry what to do next. But once you have handed over yourselves, you will see that God is responsible for the rest. We give the first half to the prophet, and God gives the second half to us. This hymn is God’s answer for the second half. Actually, though the widow supplied the prophet first, she herself did not suffer hunger. All she did was to pour the oil a few more times, and to empty the meal a few more times. God said that the first handful should be set aside for His use, and the second handful set aside for her own use. The third handful is again for God’s use, and the fourth handful for her own use. The first, third, fifth, seventh, and so forth, are for God, and the second, fourth, sixth, eighth, and so forth, take care of us. If the widow did not have faith, she might say, "Here is a person who has been starving for three and a half years. What if he helps himself to it and eats up all my portion?" However, if we would give the first portion to God, God will give the second portion to us. The same principle applies to our daily living today. God will not allow our cruse to be lacking in oil, or our barrel to be lacking in meal. But neither will He allow us to have an excess. Hence, we see that there is no need to save up anything.
The second stanza is quite high. It starts out with the word "believe." You should believe. What should we believe in? We should believe that at no time will we be empty, and at no time will we be filled. There is always a handful left. If we have much, we may still worry that we do not have enough. But God gives to us in abundance. Yet He does not give everything to us all at once. Instead He gives to us handful by handful.
The third stanza tells us that we should look to God concerning what He wants to do tomorrow. For all those who give, the result will actually be saving. When we spend, we think that what is spent is gone. Actually, nothing will be exhausted. No one will find himself giving to God to such an extent that he has nothing left. If the widow had not committed herself to God, she would not have lived through that three and a half years.
Today, man’s eyes are always set on the money in his hands. In 1 Timothy 6, the warning Paul gave was a despairing warning. He exhorted the believers not to set their hope on the uncertainty of riches. The best exhortation tells people to set their hope in God. But when the best exhortation no longer works, we have the next best kind of exhortation, which tells people not to set their hope on the uncertainty of riches. But no matter how much a man sets his hope on the uncertainty of riches, in the end he still has to turn around to set his hope on God. Since that is the case, why not set one’s hope in God in the first place?
(Messages Given During the Resumption of Watchman Nee's Ministry (2 volume set), Chapter 74, by Watchman Nee/Witness Lee)