With the filling of barns and silos and the putting away of our vacation gear, the time is again upon us to apply ourselves to the mental and heartfelt pursuit of the study of God’s Word in a far more systematic way than we have done in the past summer months. School bells (buzzers) call eager youth to class and they come clutching colors and tablets. Young people pursue their chosen course in high school and college. And a goodly number of young men trim candle and lamp for the late hours that seminary study demands.
The subject is love. Although we us the term love very loosely sometimes, saying we love this food or we love those clothes, although the word of God differentiates between a natural, horizontal love and a spiritual, vertical love, we ought to be reminded that for the child of God there is really only one kind of love; there is love. By way of introduction to this tremendously important and fascinating subject, consider these examples. There was a young man who was courting a maiden.
These lines are not written because there is a lack of Christian giving in our churches. To my knowledge there is not. The head of a family who gives twelve to twenty dollars a week to the church and pays from a thousand to thirty-five hundred dollars a year in school tuition does not have to be exhorted to give. But there are reasons why we should be confronted by this topic nevertheless.
Thoughts on Christian giving offered last month in this column lead one naturally to the subject of tithing and the place of tithing in the service of the New Dispensation saint. There are denominations in which this practice is enforced assiduously, and there are individuals in many other denominations (ours?) who carefully lay aside precisely a tenth on the Lord’s Day. To this question the answer must be given, not simply that tithing is unnecessary, but that tithing is wrong.
Today the emphasis is on witnessing. The search is on for exotic ways by which the Christian can reveal his Christianity. The normal methods for doing this are completely overlooked so that the danger is run that the testimony of the regular life stands in conflict with the special things a person sets out to do. It is well to stress that rather than demanding of us extraordinary efforts and methods of witnessing, the Bible lays upon us the demand to be faithful witnesses of God as we do the things we are given to do.
It has happened once again in most of our churches. A certain portion of the consistory has retired after two or three years of service; among them the deacons. Deacons have been elected, served, and retired and the disturbing thing is that many of them have not performed one minute of true deacon’s work. They have collected offerings during the worship service, they have kept records faithfully, and have accounted for these things before the elders; yet in all this something has been disturbingly lacking. And this lack, for the most part, is not even the fault of the deacons.
In the last article on the above subject, a brief history of Synodical decisions (1946-1953) was presented. It was discovered that although one Synod decided it was Biblically correct to have two missionaries laboring together in the same field, a later Synod determined that this was not a principle and did not set forth an inflexible rule for mission work throughout the present dispensation. In this article several passages from the Book of the Acts will be examined and some practical remarks will be offered.
A father who seems to be locked into a low-paying, dead end job that holds little attraction for him and promises few financial rewards. . . . A mother who rises early and retires late, crowding every waking hour with cooking, cleaning, washing, and changing of diapers, often without proper appreciation. . . . A pastor whose church does not grow and whose sermons seem to fall on deaf ears. . . . A young person who cannot seem to find the right young lady, or is never asked by the right young man. . . .
When a bit if research us conducted in the past forty-nine volumes of the Standard Bearer for material commemorating the contributions this rubric has made to our magazine, one is reminded of the advertising slogan that you can’t eat just one potato chip. Even as a person continues to eat these salty slices until the available supply is gone, so the person who pages through these old volumes finds himself devouring article after article that has nothing to do with his purpose. And how the time flies!