By BIB Cavender
Each child of God is taught by the Holy Spirit to “be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,” and “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (1 Cor. 15:58; 2 Pet. 3:18). My observation is that the majority of God’s children are not really doing this. Our Lord’s work languishes in disinterest and indifference, greatly due to the lack of personal involvement in saving souls. Many Christians, often long-time members of the body of Christ, have never seriously attempted to save a soul or to really be a worker for Christ in His kingdom. “The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life; and he that winneth souls is wise” (Prov. 11:30), yet many of us are not wise and our fruit is oftentimes unto death and not unto life! “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever” (Dan. 12:3), but many of us never let our light shine, nor will it shine forever and ever, for we are not turning many, or even any, to righteousness (Matt. 5:13-16). To save a soul from sin and death is the greatest, most needful work, most soul-satisfying work which can be done in this lifetime (Gal. 6:1; Jas. 5:19-20; Matt. 16:24-27).
Often we hear someone say, “What can I do” And some of these will actually do a work or task given them by the elders or others. This kind of person requires direction, instruction and motivation. They will follow if someone will lead and show them the way and how to do it. When the guidance stops, they stop. Comparatively few Christians develop and cultivate that personal initiative so necessary to doing God’s will, to act on their own from the instructions in God’s word, and without the assistance and fellowship of others. One mark of real spiritual strength in a Christian is that he will be busy working for Jesus, whether anyone else helps, participates, or even knows about his efforts. To “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,” and to “save yourself from this untoward (crooked) generation ” (Phil. 2:12; Acts 2:40) is a big order for each of us, yet not impossible. If we walk by faith, we can obtain the promises of God and receive that abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (Heb. 11:39-40; 2 Pet. 1: 10- 11). God has never commanded or required the impossible of any man.
But what can I do? Much, in many ways! All Christians can do these basic, simply spiritual works and exercises which will make us strong in faith and save some souls along the journey we make through this present evil world (Heb. 11: 13; Rom. 4:20-22; Gal. 1:4; 1 Tim. 4:6-11). We can:
A. Read and study the Scriptures (Jn. 5:39; 1 Tim. 4:13; 2 Tim. 3:14-17). If one can’t read, he can buy recordings of the Scriptures and listen to them. Few individuals in our society do not have a tape recorder. We can listen to the word of God continually while we work, play, drive, etc. We can buy good reference books and commentaries and become serious students of the word of God if we will do so.
. B. Pray for everyone (1 Tim. 2:1-5; Rom. 12:12; 2 Thess. 2:13). Every true child of God prays consistently, often, habitually. There is no such thing as a faithful child of God who does not spend much time in prayer, talking to our Father in heaven.
C. Visit the lost, the weak, the unfaithful, the aged, the infirm, the sick, the broken-hearted, etc. If you are physically unable to visit people, you can phone them, write to them, send them tracts and literature, etc. The individual child of God who visits, to help and teach and encourage, will do so much good in this world of sin and sorrow. The child of God who visits to gossip, back-bite, stir strife and create problems and divisions, becomes an enemy of all righteousness. The Christian who visits will grow spiritually. The congregation which visits will grow spiritually and numerically. If a church does not visit, it will die!
D. Have Bible classes in your home. All of us have friends, family members, neighbors, and fellow-workers on our jobs who can only be reached with the truth of Jesus by those who are their acquaintances. Preachers cannot reach these people; elders cannot reach them; Bible class teachers cannot reach them. Only their personal friends, family members and acquaintances can make those opportunities for teaching. We will baptize more people through home Bible studies than by any other method of teaching, for it puts the gospel on the personal level, one soul caring for and teaching another (2 Tim. 2:2). If you feel incapable or unqualified to teach in your home, begin seriously preparing yourself, but in the meanwhile have a man or a woman in the church who is qualified to come to your home and teach.
E. Hand out tracts to people. Keep a supply of gospel tracts in your car, your pocket or purse. Brethren have written many excellent, scriptural tracts on every conceivable Bible subject. We can spread the gospel easily by use of tracts.
F. Send a good gospel paper into homes of good prospects for teaching. The regular, periodic receiving of good literature into the home through the mail is most beneficial. Yet here we may run into a problem and do more harm than good. Some papers have axes to grind, deal in needless and harmful controversies, are opinionated, and amount to scandal sheets. We will not convert sinners to the truth of God revealed in the New Testament by sending them literature which will , distort the plain truth of the gospel and the simplicity and loveliness of the truth as it is in Jesus.
G. Attend each and every service of worship and Bible study. If our hearts are open to listen and to learn, we can glean truth from every lesson and be blessed by every meeting of the saints. You can be an example of faithfulness to others. You can encourage all the brethren by your consistency in worship, work and interest.
H. Live a clean, pure, godly, upright, unquestioned life. We must live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world (Tit. 2:11-12), a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty (1 Tim. 2:1 -8). Our clothing must be in modesty, and our inner self clothed with humility and a meek and gentle spirit (1 Tim. 2:9-10; 1 Pet. 5:5-7; 3:1-7). Each of us can cultivate the “‘fruit of the Spirit which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance, “‘ against which there is never any condemnation of law, of God or man, and the sky is the limit on the cultivation of this fruit in our lives (Gal. 5:22-23).
I. Have a happy, thankful, optimistic attitude toward life, toward God, toward the brethren, and toward all of life’s joys or sorrows. All things (sufferings, sorrows, etc.) will work for our good if we are God’s called and faithful children (Rom. 8:28). A merry heart still does good like a medicine (Prov. 15:13-15; 17:22). We should ever rejoice in the Lord (Phil. 4:4), and be of thankful hearts (Col. 3:15; Psa. 100:4). A Christian anywhere at anytime, and especially a Christian in America, has nothing to be unthankful about or ungrateful for. Of all people who have ever lived in all the history of the world, the Christian in America at the present time is the most blessed. An upset, worrying, complaining, fault-finding Christian is altogether foreign to the teachings of God’s word. Life is worth living. God watches over us (I Pet. 3:1012). There is much good still left in the world. Each of us can do much good. Souls can kill be saved from sin and death. We can still work for the Lord.
We could be baptizing people daily, into Christ and for the remission of their sins, if every member of the church would be personally involved in the work of Christ, How is it with you, brother or sister?
Guardian of Truth XXIX: 11, pp. 321, 343
June 6, 1985