By J. Wiley Adams
There is a well-known hymn called Send the Light. It was one of my wife’s favorites as well as mine. The song urges the sending forth of the gospel light into all the world as long as time shall last. There is a sense of urgency in the song as well as a sense of joy as the good news of salvation is carried to all men everywhere. The song always stirs me to greater effort. It was sung at Wilma’s funeral and it aroused in me a firm resolve to double my efforts to preach the gospel to the lost of every nation. The gospel is indeed the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16).
There are many who have the ability to preach the gospel but they can’t seem to get the motivation to do it. They know it and are well able to declare it but, in Air Force terms, they are unable to get it off the runway. Some of these are good at telling others how to do it and are critical of the efforts of some who are trying to do their best at preaching. We say to them, “Physician, heal thyself.” Or, in the words of Paul, “Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?” (Rom. 2:21a)
Some of the harshest criticism I have ever received since we began preaching the gospel has come from some who have never tried to preach a sermon in their life. Others are always getting ready to commence to start to begin preaching but that is all they seem to be able to do. They are always getting ready to start.
It is high time that all who possess the ability to preach the gospel begin to do so. Time is running out. For some it has already run out. There is no more important work in this world than the preaching of the gospel of Christ.
Some are hindered by companions who do not love the Lord sufficiently to assist their husbands. Over my bed there is a plaque which is done in beautiful cross-stitch. My wife left her family and obeyed the gospel of Christ. The message on the plaque is taken from Ruth 1: 16,17. It says, “Whither thou goest I will go, and where thou lodgest I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God.” It was not just an idle statement to her; she practiced it from the time she obeyed the gospel. Would to God there were more like her!
Some hindrances to gospel preaching come from Christians themselves as they seek to “protect their children.” It is not uncommon to hear parents say they do not want their sons to preach or to have their daughters marry a preacher. They do not want their children to move around the country or get very far away from home. Yet, many in this transient society are constantly being transferred to foreign countries as well as in the States. People in the military service of their country have little or no say as to where their tour of duty will be. But when it comes to preaching the gospel and moving around from time to time, that seems to be different. Brother Homer Hailey was heard to remark to one of his students one time who raised the question, “But what if one should die in a foreign country while preaching?” To which he replied, “It is no farther to Heaven from a foreign land than it is from the United States.” Ouch!
I even heard a prea6er say one time that he had stopped encouraging young men to go into full-time preaching because it was such a hard life. With friends like that in the kingdom who needs enemies?
It boils down to dedication and conviction that we ought to be carrying out the Great Commission. We need to memorize Matthew 6:33 which urges, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” As time moves on, those of us who preach have become older men and have moved up to the front echelon in the church. But when we are gone who will pick up the torch? If present trends continue there will be few who are willing to assume this tremendous responsibility. It is my purpose in writing this article to “provoke” you or stir up some evangelistic zeal that was prevalent in days gone by but now seems to be in short supply. Let me leave this thought with you who read this who are Christians. “Preach the word” (2 Tim. 4:2). “Send the light, the blessed gospel light.”
Guardian of Truth XXXV: 7, p. 197
April 4, 1991