Know Your Bible

VOL. 15                                                                                               August 20, 2017                                                                                                              NO. 23



Brother John had made a dozen calls, in a wide territory, trying to sell insurance. The day was hot, traffic was heavy, and he barely made it home in time to take a quick shower, grab a bite to eat, and get to the meeting. He had hoped to have time to check his boat, as he planned to leave the next morning for a vacation, and he was somewhat irked at having to lose that two hours of cool evening time.  But, he taught the adult men's class, and he just had to make one service of the meeting before leaving town.

Sister Jane works down-town, and had to ask the boss to let her off a bit early so she could get her hair fixed. She barely got home in time to heat a few T.V. dinners for the children. She took a cup of coffee to her room, and dressed while they were eating. She only saw them briefly – to argue with the boy about the credit card he wanted to use for his "date" that night, and to "have it out" with the girl about the weird-o costume she wanted to wear. (The girl got her way.) By now, Jane had a terrific headache, and only went to the meeting because John insisted he should not go alone.

The girl finally got her eyes "on" and kept her parents waiting in the car while she changed beads five or six times – trying to make up her mind. They had to race to the church building, and the girl pouted all the way about her brother getting the car and not having to go to church, and he was only two years older, etc.

They barely made it on time – were late by the clock, but the song-leader was late in starting. He had tarried in the parking lot trying to make a car deal with another member, and had to make his song selections under last-minute pressure. Oh well, he could think the car-deal over more fully after the preaching started.

The local preacher had been out all day selling mutual fund certificates, and was peeved that his wife had forgotten to tell him he was supposed to pick up old sister Jones. Such failures hurt his public image. But his wife taught school, and had a parent-teacher meeting that afternoon; and had barely gotten home in time to freshen up a bit and get to the meeting. She had misplaced the hurriedly taken note about sister Jones – and anyhow, "that was in his department, it was not her job."

So, they sang a few songs, and called on someone for prayer; then the local preacher welcomed a few visitors, made the usual apologies for the small percentage of members present -- "of course, we have had some sickness" – and the visiting evangelist took the floor and looked at his targets. A small crowd of tired, business-harried people, "up-tight" and preoccupied with scores of problems – all of them material. He must capture their attention, focus it upon unfamiliar subjects, lead them to reason and draw conclusions that, put into practice, would change their whole lives.

These are not BAD people – they do show some interest by their presence, and a few will listen, meditate, and study – and God will dwell in them. BUT MOST OF US ARE TOO BUSY FOR GOD!!

—Robert Turner

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“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” That’s wise advice from the voice of experience. But men are inclined to alter things that are currently working pretty well, with the notion that they can make it better. Unfortunately the opposite often happens. The machine that was running smoothly now won’t function at all; the business enterprise that was successful and prospering now is losing money; the structure that once stood strong and tall is now in danger of collapsing.

Change, you see, is not always a good thing. Unfortunately there are some folks that are never content with ‘things as they are’.  They are always seeking to do it in some new, different way. They frequently end up ‘breaking’ what wasn’t ‘broke’ in the first place.

Nowhere is this urge to ‘change’ more potentially dangerous than in the Lord’s church. But, for some reason, we have brethren who constantly push for changing things. To these people we would offer these observations:

1) If the way things are happen to be that way because God ordained it to be so, then we have absolutely no authority to be changing it.  Period. Through the centuries misguided men have brought in a host of innovations to God’s simple plan for the worship, work, and organization of the church. ALL of them are wrong. Let us never be so presumptuous as to imagine we can change or improve on His design.

2) In matters of general authority - where our judgments in areas of expediency are allowed - it is typically the case that we’ve reached sound decisions based upon what ‘works’. If you want to see it done in a different way, you need to be prepared to show why your way is better – not just different. We’re not interested in ‘fixing what ain’t broke.’

3) Realize that ‘change for change’s sake’ is usually not helpful.  What are you seeking anyway? Do you hope for a subjective, emotional ‘high’ if we change the order of worship? Dim the lights? Sing more or different songs? Do you think you can artificially stimulate folks to deeper study if we alter the Bible class arrangement? Do you suppose that members will become more involved simply because some new scheme for personal work is proposed? Maybe. Perhaps these things might work temporarily. But, of course, the underlying problems of the heart have not been addressed at all by these superficial ‘changes’.

4) There is legitimate value to stability. We benefit from knowing how things are and how they will be. This is true in our homes, at school, on our jobs, AND in the church. Men should think long and hard before ‘troubling God’s flock’ with unnecessary and unhelpful suggestions aimed at ‘fixin’ what ain’t broke’. 

—Greg Gwin

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