By Irvin Himmel
IT IS ENCOURAGING that there are Christians who study the Bible carefully and regularly. They delight in the law of the Lord. They take advantage of Bible classes; no one has to beg them to attend. In this group one will find some splendid teachers. To them the Bible is more than a book “traditionally” esteemed and often quoted; it is food for the soul.
IT IS ENCOURAGING that many of God’s people give generously of their money to support the Lord’s good work. They realize that inflation means rising costs in areas that pertain to the church and its functioning. When they are given an increase in salary, they remember to increase their contributions. They are cheerful givers — the kind God loves.
IT IS ENCOURAGING that a sizeable number of members of Christ’s body can be depended upon to attend all the meetings of the church in the locality where they reside. Nothing keeps them from the assemblies of the saints unless it is the sort of hindrance that would keep them home from work. They do not whimper, whine, and make flimsy excuses. To them it is a joy to meet with others of like faith.
IT IS ENCOURAGING that a lot of people in the church expect a preacher to do the work of an evangelist as outlined in the New Testament. Unlike a few who want him to be a sort of “pastor” like the denominations have, they know that he has more important things to do than coaching a ball team, sponsoring a scout troop, running errands for people, ringing the doorbells of church members to feel their pulse, or hold their hand, or humor them, and more important work than to be a kind of public relations man for civic projects in the community.
IT IS ENCOURAGING that so many Christians genuinely appreciate good elders and deacons. They look at the good which these men do in harmony with God’s plan. They want to work with them, not against them. They have warm praise rather than constant criticism. They realize that such men are only human and God does not expect elders and deacons to be super-human.
IT IS ENCOURAGING that many brethren have a solid grasp of the difference between New Testament Christianity and denominationalism. It makes no difference to them what the denominations are doing; they know that Christ’s church is not a sectarian setup, and they have no ambition to ape their neighbors who are tied to sectarian concepts. They want the church of Christ to be what Christ wants it to be, nothing more and nothing less.
IT IS ENCOURAGING that many in the kingdom of God appreciate sound preaching and teaching. They do not mind if a sermon really hits home. They want to know the truth and the whole truth, and they do not mind a lesson that points up some of their shortcomings. And there are some outside of the kingdom who respond favorably when the gospel is presented to them.. I rejoice that there are still people on earth who want to know God’s will.
IT IS ENCOURAGING that a lot of Christians take religion seriously. They want to go to heaven. They love God more than athletic events. They believe the Bible means what it says and that its message is relevant to every generation. They are not ashamed to let their convictions be made known. They demonstrate that one can be a Christian and not be a hypocrite.
IT IS ENCOURAGING that there are so many things to cheer us up and give us added zeal!
Truth Magazine XXI: 39, pp. 621-622
October 6, 1977