"What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord. I will pay my vows unto the Lord, now, in the presence of all his people."—Psa. 116:12-14.—
GRATITUDE is the responsive chord to benevolence in every truly noble heart, and no harmony is sweeter or more inspiring to noble deeds and lofty purposes. God would have his children cultivate for their own sake, as well as for the sake of others, all the graces of true nobility and moral excellence. It is therefore fitting that we should keep in mind a careful record of all deeds of love and kindness toward us, and be careful to return the gratitude due. How often does love go unrequited because selfishness crowds out the nobler instincts of the soul.
While human kindnesses often draw largely upon us for the exercise of this grace, how much more does the constant and disinterested benevolence of our Heavenly Father. To him we are indebted for every good that we possess; and as his consecrated children we are also the special objects of his grace. Which of us cannot trace a long line of special providences on our behalf? Let us call to mind how he brought us up "out of the horrible pit" of condemnation to death, and "out of the miry clay" of personal sin, and "set our feet upon the rock" Christ Jesus; and then by his truth "established our goings." Yea, and he hath put a new song in our mouth, even praise unto our God."—Psa. 40:2,3.
How wonderfully God has helped his people: they are his constant care; no good thing doth he withhold from them; and all things are made to work together for their good. In the smallest and in the greatest affairs of life he is ever watching for our interests, and the evidences of his care are all about us.
What, then, shall we render unto the Lord for all his benefits? What, indeed, have we to render that we have not received of him? Nothing. But the inspired penman suggests what we may acceptably render as follows:—
(1) "I will take the cup of salvation." Just as a parent loves to see his child gratefully and appreciatively accept his favors, so God regards our acceptance of his great salvation,—the gift of his love purchased for us at great cost. Therefore we will obey his call and take the cup of salvation through faith in Christ the Redeemer.
(2) "And call upon the name of the Lord." He has invited our confidence and has proved his worthiness of it; therefore will we trust him and not be afraid. He who has redeemed us at a great price is both able and willing to perfect in and for us his great salvation. Yes, let us give him our fullest confidence.
(3) "I will pay my vows unto the Lord, now, in the presence of all his people." This also the Lord will regard as an expression of gratitude. To render our consecrated hearts and talents, in glad and cheerful service, is but a reasonable return for all his goodness. Let us, therefore, do it gladly and with zeal and energy. It will be but a small return at best, but the measure of love and zeal that goes with it will indicate the measure of our gratitude. And let us do it promptly—"now"—and to such an extent that it will be blessedly realized by the Lord's people specially—"in the presence of all his people."