By Ron Halbrook
What do you do with bulletins, gospel papers, memeographed lessons, and other printed teaching materials after reading them? After one use, often such material is thrown out or laid aside. Why not put such materials to good use? We are on this earth to do all the good we can, by whatever means is at our disposal. After we benefit from using teaching materials that come into our hands, we should give thought to sharing that benefit with others. This is one way to plant the seed of truth along the way in life. Freely we have received good from the word in print, and freely we should extend that good to others.
Our family and friends could learn from these lessons in print. Brethren in foreign lands, such as in Africa and in the Philippines, are begging for such material. Eyewitness accounts have come of such printed teaching material being passed from hand to hand, village to village, and town to town until it literally falls to pieces! As a song says, why so thoughtless do we linger while the fleeting days go by? Too often we neglect the simple things we can do, and excuse ourselves by talking about things we cannot do.
Young preachers like myself can benefit from lessons taught in the past, if someone would be so thoughtful as to offer them to us. We do not “inherit” an understanding of past battles, losses, victories, failures, and successes-and older saints are sometimes heard lamenting our lack of perspective about such things. The printed page helps younger men to learn from the struggles of past yeas, but that printed page in the possession of older brethren is often buried in boxes, stored in trunks, or stashed up in attics where no one can use them. Ultimately, they will be thrown out or burned up in “spring cleaning,” perhaps by someone else who has no interest in such things.
For instance, the Bible Banner published in the 1940’s can give insights and perspectives to many of us who were only born in that decade, or since then. Older brethren who took and saved those papers may not think to offer them to younger men now, and in many cases have even forgotten having them stuck back somewhere. When I mentioned this to an older brother a couple of years ago, he said, “You know, now that you mention it, I think I have some of those out back in the chicken coop.” Sure enough, he did. And, he was glad for me to have them, droppings and all! I was glad to get them, droppings or no droppings! I am still searching for most of the Bible Banners and would be glad to hear from some reader. But this article is not intended to simply increase my files. If some older reader has a stack stuck under the bed or in the garage (where they are doing no one but the rats any good), why not offer them to some younger man who will be thrilled and benefitted from something only going to waste now.
Quite a few older readers have back issues of papers printed in the last 25 years, but most young men born within that time cannot obtain those issues. Good lessons can still be learned from old copies of the Gospel Guardian (I am still searching for volumes 4 and 5), Searching the Scriptures (anyone have volume V, numbers 2 and 3; VII, 6 through 12; VIII, 1 through 11; IX, 6 ?), and Truth Magazine (wish I could find volumes I, II, IV, V, VI, VII, IX, 8; XI, 12). Many brethren have these papers stacked or boxed up for years back, and do not know what to do with them. Upon asking, a number of times I have been taken by some brother to the dusty attic of an old garage to look through magazines that ultimately will end up in the trash. While you have the chance to put these into the hands of someone who will use them, why not do so? Mention what you have not only to younger preachers but also to any younger men who are active in the Lord’s work. Not everyone will be interested, but those who are will not be able to thank you enough!
While on the subject of sharing the printed page, many of you can also do someone good by sending Truth Magazine to them. By sending just one subscription, you will bless someone 50 times a year. Better yet, send 50 blessings a year to ten different homes for only $5.00 per month, or to 20 homes for $10.00 per month. People in foreign lands who do not have the money we have, often write in asking for Truth Magazine but having no way to pay for it. Why not pay for a foreign subscription? In the meantime, do not forget to look in the attic or garage, maybe even under the bed!
Truth Magazine XXII: 26, p. 422
June 29, 1978