By Larry R. DeVore
The apostle Paul wrote in Philippians 1:3,5,6, “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you . . . for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now; being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ” (KJV).
In this article I want to discuss the fellowship we can have with gospel preachers, both in domestic and foreign fields. In recent years, from what we read in the field reports of gospel preachers, we see a trend, that though it is not new, is nevertheless alarming.
In the Guardian of Truth (Feb. 19, 1987, p. 18), there is an excellent article by Reid Braswell on the work in Bogota, Columbia. After recounting some of the work accomplished, brother Braswell says this In the eighth paragraph: “My family and I are now back in the states due to a loss of support”(emphasis mine, LRD). Brethren, we have quit too soon! Churches should continue their support and keep good men in the field preaching the gospel “until the day of Jesus Christ.” The apostle Paul in Titus 3:8 wrote that we should “maintain good works.” Let’s not stop them, but keep on with the support of preaching the gospel.
In Searching the Scriptures (Feb. 1987), “Newsletter Reports,” (p. 18), we find a report from Paul Williams in South Africa. In it he says, “David Hurst is having a hard time raising support, in part because brethren have been turned off about South Africa because of the sensational TV saturation coverage of the past few months.” Churches should rally to meet the needs of brother Hurst. The brethren in Johannesburg want him and are going to help support him. The gospel needs to be preached in South Africa and Columbia and elsewhere around the world. Internal unrest in these countries is no reason to fail to support the preaching of the gospel of our Lord. If so, we should curtail preaching the gospel in any city in America that has ever had a race or labor problem. The New Testament writers never warned against preaching the gospel in any country occupied by the Roman Empire, or for any other reason. Paul said, “Preach the word. . .”(2 Tim. 4:1).
Many of the reports by other gospel preachers show that there are many places here in America where brethren need support. My son-in-law, Craig Meyer, of Manchester, TN and Whit Sasser are attempting to raise support to work together as a team in establishing a new work in Madison, Wisconsin. Brother Sasser has already moved there, and I do not know if he has all of his support. Brother Meyer has slightly over one-half of his support raised and plans to move there at the end of May. I feel confident that these brethren will be successful in their efforts to raise enough support to begin this work in the capitol city of Wisconsin.
But brethren, a six month or one year commitment to these kind of works is not enough! If brethren Hurst, Sasser, Meyer and others are willing to spend the best years of their lives devoted to the cause of Christ, then this dedication needs to be given the years of financial support necessary to its successful fruition. Don’t quit too soon!
I was a “full-time” gospel preacher from October 1966 to December 1980. For the most part I worked with small churches and had to raise outside support. I was generally successful in raising the necessary support, and then a year later, one church or another would write to me and say they were going to “pave the parking lot” or “build a new building” or whatever and would discontinue my support. Then I would have to try to replace this support or get a part-time job to help support my family. I recall one church I was working with as a “full-time” preacher, I was also selling real estate part-time, was a part-time truant officer for the high school, and a substitute school bus driver, all in order to support my family. I am not complaining. I was glad to do it. But all such activities reduce the time that can be given to gospel work. We need more faithful gospel preachers who are able to devote full-time to the Lord’s work, both here in America, and around the world. Indeed, in most foreign countries, it would be next to impossible for an American preacher to get a part-time job, and take away employment from a native citizen of that country. We need to adequately support our men who are preaching the gospel, wherever they may be. We need to “maintain good works” and we need to remember “that he (God) which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 8, p. 239
April 16, 1987