Know Your Bible

VOL. 15                                                                                               October 8, 2017                                                                                                              NO. 30



We are told that in order to be effective, preaching must "relate the ambiguities of the New Testament to the complexities of modern society."  We are pretty sure we know what that means, and it isn't "shelling the corn and showing the cob." But, in case you haven't noticed, it is now in vogue to be vague. We even know of two people who, after attending an entire series of gospel meetings, thought we were advocating interdenominational and not nondenominational Christianity. Although all the blame for this ought not to be put on the preacher, fifty years ago no one would have made such a mistake after attending one of our gospel meetings.

In truth, we are drifting and have no one to blame but ourselves. Wanting to have our ears tickled, we are accumulating to ourselves teachers in accordance with our own desires (2 Timothy 4:3). In Matthew 11:7, the Lord, speaking about John the Baptist, asked the people of His day, "What did you go out into the wilderness to see?" If asked that question today, many might answer, "We want to see a dandy dressed in three hundred dollar suits with matching shoes, along with gold chains, bracelets and diamond rings, using four hundred dollar words that impress but do not offend."

Josiah Holland, who lived in the century before this one, knew the remedy for our current situation. He said: "God give us men. A time like this demands strong minds, great hearts, true faith, and ready hands; men whom the lust of office cannot buy; men who will not lie; men who stand before a demagogue and damn his treacherous flatteries without winking; tall men, sun-crowned, who live above the fog; in public duty and private thinking."

Real men are hard to find, and always have been. It has been said that in order to emphasize the difficulty of finding a man of integrity in ancient Athens, the Greek philosopher Diogenes lighted a lamp in the daylight and went searching for one. Years before this alleged event, Jerusalem could have been saved if one man of integrity could have been found within the city (cf. Jeremiah 5:1). Even the apostle Paul recognized the difficulty in finding a real man when he said, "for all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's" (Philippians 2:21).

May God give us men who are willing to use "great plainness of speech" (2 Corinthians 3:12). At the same time, we pray there is enough spirituality left among churches of Christ that we don't slay all such plain speakers.

—Allan Turner

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The balance of trade is a complicated matter. I don't understand much about it. And I'm not too sure anybody else does from the way it looks. I noticed today that the Japanese are now saying American workers are not only illiterate, but lazy. Reckon that's so? Is such a criticism justified? Some are, that's for sure. We have so long lived in opulence that leisure time is more important than about anything else. And that's made some lazy. And that, in turn, has had an adverse effect on the quality of what we produce--not just automobiles, mind you, but everything we produce.

I am convinced that too much leisure time is bad for the cause of Christ, too. First, because lots of different kinds of sins come out of boredom. If there's nothing constructive to challenge the mind, it will turn to things which are not and be challenged by them. People who sit around most of the time tend to get involved in thinking that eventually takes them in the wrong direction. Busy people, on the other hand, just plain don't have time to get into too much trouble.  That's not to say they never do, but the likelihood is much less.

Laziness is condemned in the Bible. The sluggard of the Proverbs is an unsightly, slovenly sort of character. He is sometimes ludicrous, sometimes repulsive. The scriptures say he is hinged to his bed (Prov. 26:11) and that his excuses are bordered on the ridiculous (he won't work because “there's a lion outside” Prov. 26:13).

This sort of inaction and lethargy sort of creeps up on folks it seems to me. They don't set out to be lazy. They just don't stay active and first thing you know, they have become indolent, inactive. And once they get used to it, there's hardly a thing that can be said to get them active again.

It's the same way with folks that are spiritually lazy. They have the exact same mannerisms.

The Lazy Person Won’t Begin

Oh, he plans to, but not right now. ``When?'' you ask. That's too definite for him; he just doesn't want to be pinned down right now. ``Wait,'' he says, ``I'll get around to it one day.'' He doesn't commit himself to outright refusal, he just won't give any specific time about starting. Procrastination gradually erodes purpose and waiting until tomorrow will never make a burdensome task any easier.

The Lazy Person Won’t Finish

Even if he one day gets in the mood and starts a project, chances are he will never get around to finishing. Solomon says, ``The slothful man roasteth not that which he took in hunting....'' He brings in the bacon, but cook it he won't. He likes the hunt, but he won't do what he doesn't like. Does that sound like anyone you know? Lots of people participate in the things they enjoy, but when there is something demanded they don't particularly like, they won't finish. And how often the passion of the original plan burns low. To restore the fire of enthusiasm in one who has abandoned the plan is difficult indeed.

The Lazy Person Will not Face Up to Difficulties

The wise man says ``The sluggard will not plow by reason of the cold'' (Prov. 20:4). If it's hard, he won't do it. If it makes him uncomfortable, he just doesn't get involved. And if there is any chance at all that he could be made to look bad he will not participate. It's just certain that the person who tries will sometimes be uncomfortable, sometimes be embarrassed, sometimes fail. But all of that is part of pulling against the tendency to become shiftless and good-for-nothing. It's all a part of trying to better oneself as well as providing for the general welfare. We don't need one more lazy person.

Consider the Ant

Solomon says we should consider the work habits of the ant (Prov. 6:6-11). First of all, the ant works without oversight or guide. The real worker works ``not with eye service,'' but because it's right to do it. The ant takes due consideration of time. Rest is reserved for the worker. There is no lawful rest for the person who does not work; he is a leech on society, be that society physical or spiritual. He takes and gives nothing in return.

—Dee Bowman

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