By Paul K. Williams
In response to my article in Guardian of Truth in which I lamented the fact that in most churches evangelism in other places has a low priority, brother Leslie Diestelkamp wrote me an admonishing letter. He was concerned that my tone was too sharp.
And the elders of a church which is helping brother David Hurst in his plans to come to South Africa (I have heard that he is still hoping to come. Write him at Rt. 4, Olney, IL 62450) wrote to show that they are concerned about preaching the gospel in other places.
Therefore I want to give grateful thanks to all those faithful brethren who truly love the Lord and the work of preaching the gospel. Brother Diestelkamp put it rightly: “Under proper circumstances there are still many brethren who would at least figuratively give you their right arm and who would literally dig deeper to find ways to help worthy appeals.” I believe that and am very grateful for it. It is brethren like that who make it possible for me to remain in South Africa preaching the gospel.
These are usually the ones who take to heart such appeals as I made. It is a sad fact that when a preacher preaches on giving, the ones who listen with open hearts and search to find ways to please God more in that area are the ones who already are generous givers. The stingy ones appear not to hear a word of the sermon.
So I suppose that my article will be felt the most by those who already have tender hearts. The great numbers who have long justified themselves for their selfish attention to their own comfort before thinking about the lost souls of the world will pass such an article by with some excuse which will be enough for their consciences. Pity, but that is the way people are.
I am thankful, though, that attitudes can change for the better. A church with which I was closely connected in my early years had the attitude “We will only support preachers in places close enough for us to see the work.” For many years now they have been generous in their support to preachers in foreign fields. Perhaps articles such as I wrote and continual preaching on the subject by local preachers will help many to look at their attitudes and change for the better.
Because another thing which brother Diestelkamp wrote is true. In giving advice on how to raise support for preaching abroad he wrote: “Send, principally, to churches already involved in such work.” In other words, the churches which are not supporting preachers in other places are hard to interest in such work. The evangelist will waste his efforts in presenting his appeal to those churches.
How sad. These are the brethren who need to be awakened, but how hard to do it. And they are so many that the evangelists had better get a list of the churches already interested in foreign evangelism, or his efforts could result in failure to get enough support to go!
These are the brethren I was writing for, and I am afraid that they make up a large portion of churches in America – perhaps a majority. Keeping house for the Lord in comfort is not going to please God, my beloved. Jesus gave himself to save souls, and that is what we must be busy doing.
I sincerely believe that we who preach need to be earnestly searching for ways to reach the hearts of our brethren with the message that the whole world needs the gospel, and that God is depending upon us to preach it.
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 11, p. 340
June 4, 1987