|Volume 19 Number 3 March 2017||
In a recent Bible study class, brother Floyd Denton made the comment that “we [Christians] are not to be weary in doing good but must strive to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” That’s what the apostle Paul told the brethren in Galatia when he said, “Let us not be weary in well doing for in due season we will reap if we don’t faint” (Galatians 6:9).
Do you sometimes get weary and disgruntled because you feel that you’re not accomplishing anything in your service to God? Christian, be assured that in truly living as Christians have been instructed to live, you are doing something for the Lord!
When you are living as God has instructed Christians to live, you are being observed by those who are not living godly lives. Jesus instructed His disciples that “I have given you an example that you should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15). In this particular context, Jesus was demonstrating humility by washing the disciples’ feet. However, in everything that He did, Jesus left us the best example that could possibly be.
The apostle Paul told the young preacher, Timothy, “Be an example of the believers in word, in manner of life, in love, in spirit, in faith and in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12). Paul instructed Timothy to be a Christian example by the words that came out of his mouth, by the way that he lived, by the way he showed love and care to others, by his fervor for the Lord, and by his dedication in believing and doing what God said and in remaining pure from sin. Others would be observing all these things that Timothy was doing, and it would have an effect on the outcome of others as they observed his Christian life. That is still true for us today. When we are living godly lives, others pay attention, and by the grace of God, some of them will eventually become Christians because they observed Christian conduct in someone around them.
When I think upon this subject, I often think of an old couple who worshipped at the Antioch congregation. They didn’t have a car and almost couldn’t get around. The church building was over four miles from their house, and the road was rocky and graveled. Yet, they were dedicated Christians and walked every Sunday to the church building to worship. When they were able, they went on Sunday night and Wednesday evening also. They went by a house where their continual passing by was observed by a couple who finally had to talk to them about where they were going and what they were doing. The four visited across the fence at that yard, and upon being invited to attend services with the older couple, the younger couple began taking them to services and attending with them, and then they were baptized. The older couple passed away, but the couple that they taught remained faithful until their deaths.
What an example to the unbelievers! The Gospel of Christ was taught! Others are observing you also. If you profess to be a Christian, you ought to be living it wherever you are because someone is watching. Don’t be weary in well doing, but be faithful and strong in your service to God, thereby setting an example for others. A great reward is waiting for the faithful. We sing a song that says, “When your burden is heavy and hard to bear, when your neighbors refuse all your load to share; when you’re feeling so blue, don’t know just what to do, Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in you.” May God bless your Christian service!
T. Pierce Brown
Almost forty years ago I knew a preacher whose brilliant mind, apparent soundness in the faith and insight into God’s Word was a joy and an inspiration to me. Then, for reasons unknown to me, he departed from the faith. My last memory of him was as he stood bearded and unkempt, looking about half drunk. I had wept and prayed about him as I tried to find a way to reach him. Then, I stopped after about ten years.
My problem may have been threefold. It is probable that I really did not care enough. In my arrogance or pride, I may have thought like Peter, “Though all may forsake thee, I never will” and looked upon my brother with contempt, thinking myself to be so far beyond his spiritual or intellectual problems that I could not bother with him.
Second, it may be that I had a theological problem. I knew the Bible said in Hebrews 6:4-6, “For as touching those who were once enlightened and tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come, and then fell away, it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.” I knew that 1 John 5:16 says, “There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” I may have misunderstood the meaning of these passages.
Third, a related problem may have been that even if I understood the meaning of the passages, I may have misapplied them. I may have assumed that he was in that category and was therefore hopelessly lost. Many of us may do that with various passages. We think we understand the passage, “And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth—or maketh a lie” (Revelation 21:27). I may hear a person say to one person, “I feel pretty good” and to another a few minutes later, “I do not feel very well.” I conclude that he has lied, and therefore that I have the right to consign him to hell.
The truth is, I am not in the consigning business, and I need to know that I may easily misapply a passage to a particular situation. There may be many other reasons I gave up praying for the man, but when he returned to the fold after 40 years, I had to humbly face the fact that I had not properly practiced what I preach.
I preach that one should never give up hope. I gave up hope. I preach that one should not assume that he has the facts straight and act on his assumptions rather than on the facts. I acted on my assumptions. I preach, “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1). Probably I judged in the sense that I assumed I knew far more about motive, purpose, attitude and ultimate condition than I actually did.
In any case, I stopped forty years too soon. It is possible that many others did not. God did not, at any rate. “Let us not grow weary in well doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not” (Galatians 6:9). Let us “Pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). Let us “Love one another from a pure heart fervently” (1 Peter 1:22). Let us obey Galatians 6:1, which reads, “Brethren, even if a man be overtaken in any trespass, ye who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; looking to thyself, lest thou also be tempted.”