“Careless Soul, Why will you Linger?”

By A. C. Grider

We are living in a time when people could “care less” for spiritual matters. Hence the title which stands at the head of this article. In this regard, times have been better in the past. But we seem to have reached a new low in getting response to our efforts. I wonder if times will ever by any better along this line.

The work of the preacher grows more difficult and frustrations become greater as time goes on. Go out and talk to a man whose soul we would like to see saved and invite him to services. He shakes it off with, “I ain’t a making you no promises.” He seems to think he owes the preacher a promise. When (and if) he finally does come, it likely will be a “one time only” thing, and even then he smirkingly acts like he has done us a big favor by coming. Or try to talk to him on the spot about the salvation of his soul and he is much too busy to listen. Or else he will shrug it off as if something else was far more important.

We go to members of the church who seldom attend services and plead with them to be more faithful. They will shake it off with, “I know I am not coming as I should. I know I should come.” These so-called Christians seem to think they owe the preacher this much of a concession. When (and if) they do come as result of the exhortation, it will likely be a “one time only” thing and again they go back to being unfaithful. So it is necessary to try, try again.

What can we do; what can we say to get sinners, both in the church and out, to see that it is not for our sake nor even for Jesus’ sake that we want them to obey the gospel? Why can’t they see it is for their own good and for the sake of their own soul that we plead with them? I am reminded of a story the late N.B. Hardeman used to tell. He had engaged in a very heated discussion with a cantankerous old sinner, but to no avail. The argument waxed hot and Hardeman became impatient. Hardeman later said, “I thought once I would tell him to go to hell. But, on second thought, I knew he would go anyway so I didn’t tell him.” That is a kind of humorous thing and in a way seems to be a little harsh. But in all seriousness, it might open some eyes if some people were bluntly told to go to torment. At any rate, alien sinners and erring Christians many times are “careless souls” and they continue to “linger.” I don’t know anything to do or anything the Lord wants us to do but keep trying to get them to do what they must do to be saved.

Truth Magazine, XX:2, p. 12-13
January 8, 1976