September 21, 2017

One by One

By Carol Bates

We have all puzzled over the mathematical problem about giving someone a penny and doubling the amount each day for a month. Do you remember the amount at the end of the month? Figure it up, it is very impressive. Now, what if each person in the congregation where you worship would determine to teach just five people this year with the hope of baptizing just one of them? Each person baptized would then set out to teach five more, and so on. Growth is generally based on one at a time, or one by one. Notice that the Lord was willing to teach just one, as he taught the Samaritan woman in John 4:1-26. Again in the same book, the Lord taught a single individual, Nicodemus, the Jewish ruler who came to him at night (John 3: 115). We go to the book of conversions for another example-remember how Philip was called upon to teach the man from Ethiopia? We read the result of his teaching in Acts 8:26-40.

Philip taught the Ethiopian without benefit of any organized effort. He did not get together with others at the church building and go out from there. I am not saying that organizing a visitation program is not good, or effective, but it still does not beat just plain, simple unorganized individual effort. The church will grow when we take advantage of every opportunity that is afforded us to teach, and not wait for a certain time and place.

This year why not pick out five people that you want to teach the truth, and set about doing it. In this way you will have committed yourself to a goal; whether anyone else in the congregation does the same or not. Who should you start with? The Lord told his apostles in Acts 1: 8, "But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea' and Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." Let's make the geographical areas correspond to, people. My "Jerusalem" would be those of my own family; my own flesh and blood who are not members of the body of Christ. "Judea and Samaria"-these are my friends and neighbors, fellow-workers, those that I see each day. Many of these are not members of the church. And last, those of "the uttermost parts of the earth" would be anyone with whom I come in contact that I could teach the truth.

Beloved, do not wait to get organized; do not wait until next Tuesday night at seven o'clock; do not wait for some zone leader to hand you a card. "Jerusalem" is right in front of you. Jesus said, "Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest? Behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields, that they are white unto harvest" (John 4:35).

May 6, 1971