From the Preacher’s Pen…
This past week I received several advertisements of programs for churches to purchase that (according to the ads) are new, modern, not old fashioned like the New Testament and guaranteed to make a church grow! They offered to help your church “come out of the first century thinking about the Bible and the church.” Just think about that for a moment! For a sum of money, we can learn all the things missing from God’s way for the New Testament church. What a deal!
Do we remember exactly what made the first churches grow? It was the simple fact that those Christians loved the Lord and each other. Luke reminds us of their unity, their togetherness in Christ (Acts 2:43-47).
Even when persecutions grew and they were forced to flee for their lives they continued to preach the word! (Acts 8:4) The difference was never a program or even an individual person but the fact that each Christian lived and acted like Christ.
When we see solutions in a person rather than Christ in us, a plan other than God’s, we miss the secret of success. Consider the thoughts of this little article:
YOU Make the Difference
Once there was a congregation in which every member in it was just exactly like you.
Every member in that congregation worked just as hard as you do in this congregation. Each of them came together to worship with the rest of the Christians in that congregation just as often as you do here. When something needed to be done, they pitched in and helped just like you.
When someone was baptized or moved into town, they welcomed them into the fellowship of believers just as warmly as you do. Whenever a fellow member asked for forgiveness or prayers before the congregation, they comforted and encouraged that member the way you comfort and encourage people.
The leadership was the same way. They prayed for the souls of other Christians as often as you do. They tried to help those who were hurting or struggling about as often as you do. Whenever they saw a new face in the crowd each Sunday worship, they got to know them just like you do.
And when it came to making sure all the goals for the year could be met and all the growth that had been hoped for could happen, each member of that congregation gave the same percentage of their income as you give now. They gave about the same amount of time to working with church activities as you do. They donated their talents to the growth of the church the same way you do.
In everyday living, they put God first just as often as you do. At work, they talked with their co-workers the way you do. When put between a rock and a hard place, they didn’t care how much it cost them; they just did what they thought Jesus would do… just like you.
What do you suppose happened to that congregation?
Bragging about or even advertising what “I did” is never the New Testament picture. The focus is on each one doing and working the work of God.
As we examine ourselves and the work of this congregation we need to ask ourselves some serious questions: How am I doing in serving the Lord and His church here? What can I do to further the Lord’s work? Isn’t it time for each of us to get busy together in our Lord’s work?
— Lester P. Bagley