Vol. 4, No. 12
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You may have already heard the story about the time when a general needed to have five volunteers to engage in a dangerous mission. He lined up his men and asked that those who would be willing to volunteer to take one step forward. While they were doing so, the general turned his back. When he turned around the line of men was still intact, no one was standing forward of the others. Immediately, the general began to express his deep disappointment that not one single man in the entire company was brave enough to volunteer for the task. However, before he could finish the corporal interrupted him saying that all of the men had stepped forward. None were cowards; all were ready to bravely volunteer.
Just think what it would mean to the church of the Lord if this were indeed the attitude of all of the brethren. We all know that, in spite of all of the good that is being accomplished by congregations all over the brotherhood, most of that which is accomplished is accomplished by a small percentage of the total membership. Someone has suggested that perhaps this is why Jesus said, "Many are called but few are chosen." Far too many brethren are content, and indeed anxious, to be counted amongst those who are members of the church, but when it comes to the work of the congregation, they want to be "counted out!" Because of this attitude, and it is a prevalent one, someone else has to carry the load that they should be carrying.
There are only a small number, percentage-wise, who are really willing to work for the Lord within any given congregation of the Lord's people. Many others allow weeks to extend into years without them doing more than simply worshipping once or twice a week, that is unless something else that they deem to be more important interferes, which would stop them from assembling with the saints. These ones rarely, if ever say anything to advertise the Gospel meetings to their friends and neighbors or attend them, much less specifically inviting and bringing visitors. There are thousands who die each day without the Gospel of Christ, but it seems not to be any of their concern, at least as far as their actions go. Christianity has never really meant anything to them except as a sort of "insurance policy" that would allow them to escape the fires of hell, but yet they are not using it enough to do even that.
But let us for a moment imagine a different scene. Suppose all of the members of the church should step forward at once. Indeed, the story would be much different. It should be the hope and prayer of each one of us that someday all who claim to be members of the body of Christ will truly desire to be faithful and loyal workers for the Master and that they will labor diligently in his vineyard. By the way, have YOU ever stepped forward for the Lord?
I get the distinct feeling that many people want the blessings and privileges that come with faith, but they desire few of the responsibilities of discipleship. These folks want the Father close at hand, but never take time to talk to him in prayer. They want to be spiritually alive, but spend little time with the "bread of life" (the Bible). They want a faith that will sustain them in times of trouble, but have little thought of God when things go well. They want worship to be exciting, emotionally fulfilling and spine tingling, but are spectators -- not participants in the assembly. They talk about the importance of Christ in their lives, and then crowd him out of their lives. Paul described these folk as "having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof" (2 Timothy 3:5).
Faith in Jesus Christ is life changing, or at least it was meant to be. "Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new" (2 Corinthians 5:17). To follow Jesus requires that we rid our lives of all that is contrary to his will and nature, and that we imitate his life, his love, his devotion and his compassion. He gave us a perfect example to follow (1 Peter 2:21).
As Christians, our purpose is to do the will of him who died to save us. We are not people pleasers, but God pleasers (Galatians 1:10). What we believe and stand for are not determined by public opinion or popular vote. We believe the Bible to be the Word of God. We honor God by honoring his Word. It is our rule book of life. It tells us how to live, what kind of people we are to be, how we are to treat one another and what is required of us in order to live eternally. It is impossible to share in all the blessings of Christ while rejecting the responsibilities of discipleship. Thus, the light of every true Christian will shine brightly each day.