A New Year’s card was not a necessity of life!” So he wrote to Mr. Gosset thanking him for the books, at the same time giving him the reason for not sending a card. After the letter had been posted, an attack came from the accuser of the brethren, “Now you have insulted your friend! You are suggesting that he is misusing his money.” However, the young steward was able to trust his Master that He would not let the enemy convey a false impression, which was not intended.
Two weeks later, they were praying for £2 and had to get it on a certain day. That very morning a letter came from London. It was from Mr. Gosset, and when Mr. Howells opened it, the first thing he found was £2 enclosed. The letter ran: “Received your letter, and the blessing I got through it was of more value to me than all the Christmas and New Year cards put together. Every Sunday I visit the Westminster hospital, so last Sunday your letter was my sermon to the patients: A position gained through grace. Whenever you need money for your work, if you will only let me know, it will be my joy to share in it.” That, of course, Mr. Howells would never do; his needs were to be made known only by way of the Throne. “But,” he added, “I found it quite easy to reach this gentleman in that way! He became a great friend, and was often used by the Lord to answer our prayers.”
In commenting later on this radical dealing of the Spirit with him, Mr. Howells said: “I finished with ownership once for all. I became as dead to money as to the stones on the road. It was a great joy in those days to think that the Saviour had made me a branch, just a channel through which His own resurrection life could flow to the needy world. There is no closer relationship than between a branch and the Vine. But one thing the Husbandman cannot do is to graft the old life into the Vine. Self can never abide in the Saviour, not one atom of it. Before you can be grafted into the Vine, you must be cut off from the old life. That had been going on and there were many stages in my life before this came. Without His new life, all our activity and work is, in the sight of God, as nothing. Yet the Vine can’t do anything without the branch. All the sap of the Tree is running through the branch. And when this new life flows through us, every bit of us tingles with it, even our very body itself. If the Vine has joy, the branch has the same joy, and the needy get the fruit.”
In future years Rees Howells was to handle the Lord’s money by the thousands, and, as he later said, “He has never questioned me on anything I spent.” For such a stewardship, with never again a claim to ownership, the experience of that night and the eighteen months’ obedience which followed formed the essential preparation.
Although this is one man’s experience with the Holy Spirit, and God has His unique ways of dealing with each individual, I believe the standards will not be any lower with us today. God’s requirement of those who walk with Him in the pathway of abiding is the same whether one is called to be a minister or a housewife.