By William Y. Beasley
From time to time it becomes necessary for preachers to seek support to preach the gospel of God’s Son. Usually these support requests take the form of letters written to other congregations. Most congregations, rest assured, receive more support requests than can be filled. What is to be done with those request that must be denied?
The elders, or those who make the decisions in the absence of elders, ought to bear the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 7:12 in mind in deciding what to do. It is most discouraging to receive a response to one letter in seven or eight. This is what happened as I was preparing to go to India to proclaim the good news of Jesus. Some congregations responded in the negative. This I can understand and even appreciate. After this experience I, in fact, hold these congregations in high regard -they were kind enough to respond.
An elder or elders who choose not to respond to a support request should not be the least upset if they wrote to a preacher requesting him to move and work with the congregation but receiving no response but the pitching of their letter in file 13 (the waste basket). Nor should they be pushed out of shape if they requested a preacher to hold a meeting but received an empty mail box in response. In fact, by their actions, if they believe in obeying the Lord’s admonition in Matthew 7:12, they are saying that that is exactly how they want to be treated.
A negative response to a support request (or any other letter) might take every bit of five minutes and fifteen cents if a letter is typed in reply. It can be done even more quickly. One congregation, I am told, receiving so many requests that they printed a form to send to those whom they could not help. Some businesses respond to letters with a hand written note at the bottom of the original letter. A hand written, “Sorry, we cannot help at this time,” and addressing the return envelope might take a whole minute. Such is much preferred, by this preacher, to being completely ignored.
When I meet a brother in Christ and speak to him, I expect him to respond. Christianity and common courtesy (which, I fear is not so common) demand it. When I write to a brother in Christ I expect him to respond for the self same reasons.
Truth Magazine XXIII: 34, p. 557
August 31, 1979