RANDOM THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS
Gooch, the newly hired traveling salesman, wrote his first sales report to the home office. It stunned the brass in the sales department because it was obvious that the new salesman was ignorant!
Here’s what he wrote: “I seen this outfit which they ain’t never bot a dime’s worth of nothing from us and I sole them some goods. I am now going to Chawgo.”
Before he could be given the heave-ho by the sales manager, along came Gooch’s letter from Chicago:
“I cum hear and sole them half a millyon.”
Afraid to fire the ignorant salesman yet fearful if he didn’t, the sales manager dumped the problem in the lap of the company president. The following morning, the ivory towered sales department members were amazed to see posted on the bulletin board above the two letters from Gooch this memo from the president:
“We’ve been spending two much time trying to spel instead of trying to sell. Let’s watch those sails. I want everybody should read these too letters from Gooch who is on the rode doing a grate job for us and you should go out and do like he done.”
Congregations of the Lord might take a lesson from Gooch. While ignorance is no virtue, I am afraid that we oftentimes lose sight of our real mission, the winning of souls to Christ. We spend an inordinate amount of time ministering to ourselves and precious little time in sharing the gospel with others. Let’s all be more like Gooch and “go out and do like he done”!
I sincerely want all of our Christian primary and secondary schools, colleges, universities, and Schools of Preaching to grow and have a strong impact for Christ and the cause of undenominational, New Testament Christianity. However, I do not want them to grow at the expense of apostolic doctrine and practice and the principles on which they were originally founded. The fact is, however, that the history of Christian schools and institutions of higher learning is not on the side of continued fidelity to New Testament Christianity and the principles of their founders. When secular academic standards trump the New Testament standard and when the # 1 responsibility of the president of a Christian institution of learning is to RAISE MONEY and INCREASE THE ENROLLMENT and not to keep the school faithful to the Lord and the principles on which it was founded, the seeds of compromise have already been sown and the handwriting of apostasy is already on the wall! Bigger is not always better! More academic programs are not always better! Successful athletic programs are not always better! Courting the approval of the world and adopting worldly ways spell the doom of once faithful schools. Some schools among us have already succumbed to these enticements. Others are on the “slippery slope.” Boards of Trustees, Presidents, Administrators, Heads of the Bible Departments, and Lectureship Directors all need to sit up and take note of the road they are traveling.
“But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Corinthians 11:3).
All Christians, and especially preachers, I think, sometimes have a problem with envy and pride. The jealousy and envy that exists among preachers is sometimes whispered, if not openly discussed. Another preacher’s success, his invitations to speak in meetings, on lectureships, and other venues, his popularity as a writer, etc. can contribute to another preacher’s latent (and perhaps even unrecognized) envy. This, in turn, can lead the less popular preacher to take “potshots” at the more successful preacher, to write and to say things in generic terms that are intended to “put down” the more successful preacher. Without mentioning names, he may (without being conscious of it) have an agenda toward a fellow preacher in the things that he says.
Envy and jealousy are works of the flesh, in the same category with adultery, fornication, murder, idolatry, and a number of other evils (Galatians 5:19-21). It is easy to be self-deceived, to not recognize the presence of envy and jealousy in one’s life. We may preach and write about Christlikeness and walking in His steps, but if we harbor envy, jealousy, and pride, we nullify all of our pious proclamations (orally and/or in writing) about the necessity of having a Christ-like spirit. The wise man was absolutely right when he said, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18). Over many years I have seen that truth demonstrated many times, including in the lives of not a few preachers, particularly among those who had come to see themselves somewhat as “original thinkers,” possessing insights into texts that they felt others did not possess.
“Examine yourselves (with emphasis on “yourselves”), whether you are in the faith. Prove yourselves” (II Corinthians 13:5). All Christians need to diligently do this, especially we preachers. (Posted on my Facebook page, 3/24/21).
April 20, 2021