By Connie W. Adams
All too many have become masters at beginning projects which they never finish. I have been brought face to face with some old fashioned virtues this week, while in a meeting with the small congregation at Wilkesville, Ohio in the southern part of the state, about 25 miles north of Gallipolis. I am staying with some wonderful folks who live on a farm a few miles from Ewington. Yesterday, brother Sydney Harless decided to repair a flat tire on a manure spreader. The piece of equipment is old and the wheel was rusty. Even the tire was rusted to the rim, which was one continuous circle. His son, Jim came to help and it took them the better part (2/3) of the day of get that wheel off and repair the tire. They sweated and strained (Jim has a had back), got dirty, endured set-backs and frustrations, but they prevailed. The job is finished. Being the practical man that I am, I asked why they did not get someone to do it for them. Brother Harless replied, “Why that would have cost S20.”
How many worthwhile projects languish because we lack the determination to see them through. We have become dabblers and talkers,” jacks of all trades and masters of none.” Folks, I have to tell you.’ am much encouraged. Old fashioned virtue yet lives! “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might” (Eccl. 9:10).
Talking About It
The last item made me think of the story I heard about a city boy who came to spend some time with his grandparents who lived on a farm. He was anxious to get into the spirit of farm life and insisted on taking his turn at feeding the livestock. Being somewhat apprehensive about it, they questioned him when he returned to the house. “Did you feed the horses?” “Yes,” he said.” Well, what did you feed them?” “Hay,” he said. “Did you feed the pigs?” “Yes” came the answer. “What did you feed them?” “Hay,” he said. “Well, did they eat it?” “I don’t know, but they were standing around talking about it when I left,” he said. And that is how many of us are about the Lord’s work. We do a lot of “standing around” and “talking” about it.'”
Would that we had the spirit of Nehemiah. Several decades had passed since the first group of captives returned to Jerusalem. Still, there no walls around the city. When Nehemiah was granted a leave of absence from the Persian court to go and see to the task, he got it done in 52 days (Neh. 6:15). He had a plan, laid it out and put the people to work on it. We could use some Nehemiahs among elders in the church and among the host of members.
Has Beens, Gonna Be’s and Is’ers
A tourist was visiting one of the famous horse farms in the bluegrass country of Kentucky. The guide proudly showed him an old horse who had won many races including the Kentucky Derby. Then he showed him a frolicking colt in the pasture and told what outstanding blood lines this animal had and what great things were expected of him. The tourist said, “Well now, that’s interesting enough all right. You have shown me a has been’ and a ‘gonna be.’ What I want to see is a real ‘is-er.'”
We have congregations and preachers who live in the glories of the past. They can tell you what has been. There are some who have grandiose schemes for the future which never seem to get off the drawing board. But, brethren, what we need are “is-ers” folks who day by day are quietly going about the task of serving the Lord. There are many congregations which are minding their own business and doing their own work without much fanfare and little notice from the brotherhood. There are many gospel preachers who are quietly and competently preaching publicly and from house to house (Acts 5:42). They don’t write for any of the papers and some don’t subscribe to many, if any, of them, but they are doing the work of an evangelist, converting the lost, strengthening the souls of the disciples, refuting error, just simply preaching the word in season and out (2 Tim. 4:2-3). They are “is-ers.” May the Lord bless their labors.
Guardian of Truth XXXIX: 2 p. 3-4
January 19, 1995