The following article is taken from the book, Kept for the Master’s Use, by Frances Havergal.
Keep my moments and my days;
Let them flow in ceaseless praise.
We do not realize the importance of moments. Only let us consider those two sayings of God about them, ‘In a moment shall they die,’ and, ‘We shall all be changed in a moment,’ and we shall think less lightly of them. Eternal issues may hang upon any one of them, but it has come and gone before we can even think about it. Nothing seems less within the possibility of our own keeping, yet nothing is more inclusive of all other keeping. Therefore let us ask Him to keep them for us.
Are they not the tiny joints in the harness through which the darts of temptation pierce us? Only give us time, we think, and we should not be overcome. Only give us time, and we could pray and resist, and the devil would flee from us! But he comes all in a moment; and in a moment—an unguarded, unkept one—we utter the hasty or exaggerated word, or think the un-Christ-like thought, or feel the un-Christ-like impatience or resentment.
But even if we have gone so far as to say, ‘Take my moments,’ have we gone the step farther, and really let Him take them—really entrusted them to Him? It is no good saying ‘take,’ when we do not let go. How can another keep that which we are keeping hold of? So let us, with full trust in His power, first commit these slippery moments to Him,—put them right into His hand,—and then we may trustfully and happily say, ‘Lord, keep them for me! Keep every one of the quick series as it arises. I cannot keep them for Thee; do Thou keep them for Thyself!’
But the sanctified and Christ-loving heart cannot be satisfied with only negative keeping.
We do not want only to be kept from displeasing Him, but to be kept always pleasing Him. Every ‘kept from’ should have its corresponding and still more blessed ‘kept for.’ We do not want our moments to be simply kept from Satan’s use, but kept for His use; we want them to be not only kept from sin, but kept for His praise.
This view of moments seems to make it clearer that it is impossible to serve two masters, for it is evident that the service of a moment cannot be divided. If it is occupied in the service of self, or any other master, it is not at the Lord’s disposal; He cannot make use of what is already occupied.
Oh, how much we have missed by not placing them at his disposal!
What might He not have done with the moments freighted with self or loaded with emptiness, which we have carelessly let drift by!
Oh, what might have been if they had all been kept for Jesus!
How He might have filled them with His light and life, enriching our own lives that have been impoverished by the waste, and using them in far-spreading blessing and power!
While we have been undervaluing these fractions of eternity, what has our gracious God been doing in them? How strangely touching are the words, ‘What is man, that Thou shouldest set Thine heart upon him, and that Thou shouldest visit him every morning, and try him every moment?’ Terribly solemn and awful would be the thought that He has been trying us every moment, were it not for the yearning gentleness and love of the Father revealed in that wonderful expression of wonder, ‘What is man, that Thou shouldest set Thine heart upon him?’ Think of that ceaseless setting of His heart upon us, careless and forgetful children as we have been! And then think of those other words, none the less literally true because given under a figure: ‘I, the Lord, do keep it; I will water it every moment.’
We see something of God’s infinite greatness and wisdom when we try to fix our dazzled gaze on infinite space. But when we turn to the marvels of the microscope, we gain a clearer view and more definite grasp of these attributes by gazing on the perfection of His infinitesimal handiworks. Just so, while we cannot realize the infinite love which fills eternity, and the infinite vistas of the great future are ‘dark with excess of light’ even to the strongest telescopes of faith, we see that love magnified in the microscope of the moments, brought very close to us, and revealing its unspeakable perfection of detail to our wondering sight.
But we do not see this as long as the moments are kept in our own hands. We are like little children closing our fingers over diamonds. How can they receive and reflect the rays of light, analyzing them into all the splendour of their prismatic beauty, while they are kept shut up tight in the dirty little hands? Give them up; let our Father hold them for us, and throw His own great light upon them, and then we shall see them full of fair colours of His manifold loving-kindnesses; and let Him always keep them for us, and then we shall always see His light and His love reflected in them.
And then, surely, they shall be filled with praise. Not that we are to be always singing hymns, and using the expressions of other people’s praise, any more than the saints in glory are always literally singing a new song. But praise will be the tone, the colour, the atmosphere in which they flow; none of them away from it or out of it.
Is it a little too much for them all to ‘flow in ceaseless praise’? Well, where will you stop? What proportion of your moments do you think enough for Jesus? How many for the spirit of praise, and how many for the spirit of heaviness? Be explicit about it, and come to an understanding. If He is not to have all, then how much? Calculate, balance, and apportion. You will not be able to do this in heaven—you know it will be all praise there; but you are free to halve your service of praise here, or to make the proportion what you will.
Yet,—He made you for His glory.
Yet,—He chose you that you should be to the praise of His glory.
Yet,—He loves you every moment, waters you every moment, watches you unslumberingly, cares for you unceasingly.
Yet,—He died for you!
Dear friends, one can hardly write it without tears. Shall you or I remember all this love, and hesitate to give all our moments up to Him? Let us entrust Him with them, and ask Him to keep them all, every single one, for His own beloved self, and fill them all with His praise, and let them all be to His praise!