Vol. 6, No. 10
~ Page 2 ~
Following the Preachers and Elders Meeting on the second Monday in November, Bonnie and I did a little shopping at Dollar Tree. A woman with two small children checked out ahead of us at the cashier. Upon completing our purchases, we also exited the store, whereupon we noticed the mother and her two children standing on the sidewalk in front. One of the little, blond-headed youngsters had attempted to follow the Pepsi Cola truck driver to the cab of the truck and leave with him. We arrived in time to hear the mother call the child back and say, "You can't go with him." The boy spontaneously responded, "But he looks like he would be a good daddy!" Our hearts melted, and (though there are other possible scenarios) we were painfully reminded of the moral cesspool enveloping American society (and the world). The collateral damage of widespread immorality in our nation is the horrific toll exacted upon innocent children. Unfortunately, such children typically grow to maturity and perpetuate the cycle of ungodliness and immorality.
That little boy knew (perhaps instinctively) that there was something missing in his family life. Doubtless he loved his mother as all small children do, but he sensed that he needed a man in his life "Daddy!" God instituted the human family with a husband and a wife who became a father and a mother (Genesis 2:18, 22; 4:1-2). Irrespective of whether they realize it, fathers have a God-appointed, important role in the rearing of children (Ephesians 6:4). At best, a family without a father (or a mother) is handicapped in so many ways.
It is no secret that the morality of America resembles the morality of first century Corinth. However, like in first century Corinth, the Gospel of Christ has the power (Romans 1:16) by which it can take some of the worst dregs of society and reshape them into "saints" (1 Corinthians 1:2). "Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 emphasis added).
The Church of Christ must not confine itself to preaching to itself, though that is needful, too (Romans 1:15). For the expansion of the borders of the Lord's kingdom and for the betterment of the society in which we live (one soul at a time), the Lord's church must wade into sin-ravaged neighborhoods to wrench sin-laden souls from the very fires of hell into which they are sinking (Jude 22-23). The Great Commission (Matthew 28:19-20; Mark 16:15-16) remains unfulfilled as long as churches of Christ content themselves with maintaining brick and mortar, half-heartedly and ritualistically assembling weekly (when it is convenient), and banking money.
In our day, the legacy of many congregations may well be the perfectly preserved meetinghouses they leave behind when there is no longer a membership to assemble in them. I am personally aware of such empty buildings and others that soon will join their ranks. On a recent Gospel meeting to Wisconsin, Bonnie and I observed a chilling sight -- a perfectly preserved and neatly painted church edifice emblazoned with the sign across its front "Museum." The current and increasing disregard for religion in America may in the future relegate Christianity in our nation to a relic in a museum. How many churches of Christ will contribute to that development?
Do not let that happen where you worship! Use every biblically permissible avenue by which the Gospel can be taken to your community on personal levels where the people live. Consider a one-day-a-week morning Bible school for preschoolers, by which the church will open doors it cannot otherwise open. Offer Bible correspondence courses and Bible studies or invite residents to Gospel meetings at their doors where they live. Periodically circulate literature in the homes of the community through the mail or as inserts in newspapers (including advertisers, coupon clippers, etc. distributed to the community). Use or cooperatively support radio and television evangelism in your area.
In other words, put the congregation to work about the Lord's business, and refuse to be dissuaded by brethren who only want to keep house and bank money. More little boys will have daddies tomorrow if the churches of Christ do their duty today, and there will be fewer empty meetinghouses in our future if we labor for the Lord while it is yet day (John 9:4). "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest" (Ecclesiastes 9:10). We are supposed to be "a peculiar people, zealous of good works" (Titus 2:14).