By Wayne S. Walker
Those of us who preach in a full-time capacity often face situations and circumstances which cause sorrow, heartache, and grief that others may not experience, at least in exactly the same way. I need not give examples. However, there is an old saying that no matter how bad things might seem, you can always look around and find someone else who is worse off than you are. The intent of this adage is to make us realize that things are usually not quite as bad as they might appear to us.
Not long ago, a veteran soldier of the cross, who for many years had fought the good fight of faith, stood firmly for the truth, and proclaimed God’s word boldly, passed from this life after some time of declining health. We trust he is in a better place. He surely made his mistakes, as we all do, and should not be venerated above that which is written. But his life served as a good example to others. He is now gone. On the other hand, while none of us has any guarantee of future life, I am young and by God’s grace expect to have several years of fruitful labor ahead.
Recently, a well-known gospel preacher lost his beloved companion of nearly thirty-five years to the dreaded disease of cancer. She was a lovely lady, a good preacher’s wife, a fine mother, an excellent Bible teacher, and a faithful Christian. Only those who have gone through such a traumatic shock as the death of a mate can fully appreciate the sense of bereavement. All of us sympathize. However, I am thankful that I have a wonderful wife and, Lord willing, we can look forward to a long and happy relationship together.
Reports have lately brought news of two older but able evangelists who have suffered major heart attacks. Also, last year, a relatively young preacher received a heart transplant because of a serious heart disease. Such health problems can present severe hindrances to one’s work in heralding the good tidings. Each one of us may have to face this possibility at some time in our lives. But right now, as far as I know, I am in good health, and with Christ as my helper, plan to use my strength and energy as long as I possibly can in His service.
Within the past couple of years, two fine young men who have dedicated their lives to teaching God’s will underwent extreme financial difficulties. The first case was due to having two surgeries, one for the wife and the other for the son, then learning that $3,600 worth of insurance premiums went to a firm that became bankrupt and did not pay a $14,000 bill. The second resulted from the heart defect, seven-week hospitalization, and ultimate death of an infant child totaling $56,000, of which insurance only covered $42,000. Both individuals needed help from brethren to meet their debts. I may not make as much as I would like, or even as much as others do, and I will probably never get rich preaching. Yet, I earn an adequate living and have wherewith to provide for the needs of my family.
Brethren, whenever we are tempted to focus all our attention on our own problems, we need to look around and remember that there are others who have problems too and may even be less fortunate than we are. The purpose of this is not to take joy in their misfortunate but to “weep with them that weep” (Rom. 12:15) and to recognize that we “have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin” (Heb. 12:4). The apostles were arrested for doing God’s work. Early Christians were sorely persecuted. Even Jesus was crucified. Come on – things are not that bad!
Guardian of Truth XXX: 6, p. 161
March 20, 1986