By George Welsh Tyler
While walking along the beach during a storm, a Coast Guardsman heard above the roar of the waves and the crash of thunder a cry for help. He called the rescue crew and the life boat was launched. Several of the crew felt that this was a case of pure imagination for surely no voice could be hear above the roar of the turbulent onrush and confusion. Fifty minutes later, two boys who had drifted out too far in a fishing boat, lay in the emergency room in the hospital, not too far away, recovering from shock exposure. They would have perished except for the fellow whose trained ears caught this important sound.
Jesus Christ, who was concerned about the “lost sheep” is also concerned that you and I may search for lost men and bring them into the church for which he died. He said, “The Son of man came to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10). In the closing book of the Bible we find these words, “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And he that heareth, let him say, Come” (Rev. 22:17). The promise of reward is given in these words, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches, To him that overcometh, to him will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the Paradise of God” (Rev. 2:7). Have your ears been trained to hear the cry of lost souls seeking salvation? What did your congregation do last year? How much seeking in the highways and the by-ways did you as members of it do? The members, individuals, make up the congregation as a total. The work of the church must be done by its members. We are not born. in groups, we do not die in groups and neither are we saved in groups. Each soul stands as an individual before God. Salvation of souls depends on you-the individual. Remember this also, James wrote, “My brethren, if any among you err from the truth, and one convert him; let him know, that he who converteth a sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall cover a multitude of sins” (Jas. 5:19, 20). The greatest work you will ever do is to lead lost souls to Christ.
Paul says, “Ye are not your own: for ye were bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19, 20). Peter wrote, “Ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, with silver or gold, from your vain manner of life handed down from your fathers; but with the precious blood, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, even the blood of Christ” (1 Pet. 1:18, 19). These scriptures clearly state that Christians belong to God and are under obligation to serve Him to the best of their ability. They are stewards as the parable of the talents teaches. Many people think of “stewardship” mainly in terms of dollars. In Matt. 25:14-30, Jesus compares the kingdom with the dealings of a lord with his bond servants. They were his possession, hence he had a right to command them and to expect them to use their time for his profit while he was gone to the far country. He gave commitments to each one according to the abilities he possessed. He knew them, and made his assignments according to their capabilities. Our capabilities are known to both Jehovah and His Son, Christ Jesus, and we will not be held responsible for not doing things we are not qualified to do. The point is that we must use the talent or talents we have and not do like the one-talent steward.
The New Testament Christians lost no time in going to work for the Master. Jesus said, “Come unto me” (Matt. 11:28) and in Matt. 28:19, He said, “Go.” We learn in Acts 8:1: “There arose on that day a great persecution against the church which was in Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.” Who went? “They therefore that were scattered abroad went about preaching the word” (Acts 8:4). The apostles were not among the “scattered abroad.” They that “went preaching the word” were those whom the apostles had converted in and about Jerusalem. “The word of the Lord abideth for ever” (1 Pet. 1:25). God is not willing “that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9). Shout it from the rooftops, let it float on the breeze, and sent it into the homes that are without hope-to men who have gone pleasure mad-to souls that have “gone back” and are lost in the confusion of waywardness and neglect. Can you face God, knowing you have not done your part in saving souls for Eternity? This is personal evangelism. Acts 8:1 to 9 is your example. We pray that a mighty ground-swell of zealous enthusiasm of both personal and public evangelism will sweep across our country and around the world.
Truth Magazine, XX:14, p. 4-5
April 1, 1976