By Donald P. Ames
A recent quip in Grit stated, “Size is not everything. The elephant is endangered, but the ant is doing fine.” As I pondered that statement, I could not help but think of my liberal brethren who are always seeking to have the “biggest and mostest.” Some are wanting to create the largest TV program possible to impress the people with the existence and power of the church. Others are striving for the largest Sunday School among churches of Christ. Others prize themselves on the size of their physical structures, and particularly how it compares with other denominations in the same town. And others, so it seems, are busy seeking to conduct the largest “begging” campaign. Still others are seeking to report the largest bus ministry, and others the largest circulation.
The sad part of each account, however, is that with size usually also comes a falling away from the truth and emphasis on things the Lord knew nothing about. “Reward motivation” begins to replace the gospel as the power of God unto salvation (Rom. 1:16). “Extended grace” begins to replace obedience to the truth (Tit. 2:11-14). “Holy Spirit emotionalism” begins to replace indoctrination (Matt. 28:19-20), and apostasy and compromise begin replacing a desire to “contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints” (Jude 3; Jas. 3:17).
While we should be interested in the salvation of souls, let us not become “size” conscious, but rather “soul conscious.” New Testament Christians did not boast of their size and budget, but rather their dedication to the Lord (2 Cor. 8:1-5). They were not interested in being the largest around, but in “participation in the gospel” (Phil. 1:5). Even the Lord had to cull out the chaff when the followers began to grow, that the true believers might become stronger (John 6). And, while it serves as no excuse for doing nothing, let us also remember that the “majority” will be those who are lost (Matt. 7:13). (This follows because the majority had rather serve Satan than sacrifice for the cause of Christ.) Instead of striving for the “biggest and mostest,” let us rather strive to educate and indoctrinate a world lost in sin with the gospel of salvation (Eph.1:13) – following the wisdom of God, and not the schemes and rewards of men. The results will then be men with a respect for truth above all else – and a desire to save others!
Truth Magazine XXI: 33, p. 517
August 25, 1977