Jack P. Lewis on fads in the church
DON’T GET TIRED OF DOING GOOD
By David R. Kenney
from the Wadworth OH church bulletin
Jack P. Lewis has a Ph.D. from both Hebrew Union and Harvard University. He is Professor of Bible Emeritus of Harding Graduate School of Religion. He was written over 20 books and many articles. His scholarship is widely respected. He serves as an elder in the church at White Station in Memphis, and he has appeared on the Freed-Hardeman University Lectureship for several years beginning in 1954.
Brother Lewis had previously suffered a fall including a broken shoulder. Some would possibly have cancelled their speaking appointment before a large audience, but not Jack Lewis. He completed his lecture on “Paul’s Visit” in reference to the church at Thessalonica which he presented from the chair on the stage of Lloyd Auditorium at the 2014 Freed-Hardeman University Bible Lectureship. Brother Lewis offered some additional words that I would like to share here. Jack P. Lewis was nearly 95 years of age when he delivered these words:
“Meanwhile, while we are waiting for that to take place [the second coming of Christ], it is very important that we are busy in what we are doing. I find verse 13, of the second letter, third chapter, a very interesting thing to think of. It says ‘Don’t get tired doing good.’ Well, you know, if you think about the work of the church we just sort of move from one fad to the next fad. And what is the next fad going to be? Well, I do not know that any way at all. But, I am thinking about some years back behind where we are now. There came up somebody with a good idea of how to do mission work, and there may be a few of you who remember ‘The Million for the Billion’ proposition that was set forth. You see, that is, how to raise a million dollars to evangelize a billion people that are within the world. Well, it was not too bad a plan as set forth. Every preacher was called upon to give what he would get for one meeting for mission work of that season and tell the congregation that was what he was going to do. So, that is where you got ‘The Million’ that was being spoken of. How long did that program carry out? One year! See, when that was gone, that one year was gone, I doubt that there is even a handful of people here that remember ‘The Million for the Billion’ type of program carried out. Not too bad an idea, but you see you’ve got to carry out things a longer time than that in order for there to be any real effect that comes from it. Well, I thin k if you think about church history, the next one would be, would it not, that period of time we had all these great cooperative evangelistic programs. I know back in Memphis where I live, we rented the city auditorium and we had just unlimited amount of people who came for the program. When the invitation was given, why people marched down, people were baptized. Look what happened. How many of those meetings do you see taking place yet at the present? All gone. Nothing whatever is going on… I think of one other illustration more recently we have seen was the Bus Program. Oh, just a few years back, any self-respecting congregation had a bus program by which they brought children in to be taught and carried out in that type of way. Where are the buses? Are there no children anymore that need to be taught? People go t tired of visiting, recruiting children to come to the bus program. People got tired of driving the buses. People got tired of teaching the children that had been brought out to the class in that sort of way. People got tired of maintaining order on the buses. And you see t he whole thing is gone! ‘Don’t get tired doing good’ is a theme in verse 13 of the third chapter that you need to think about. The children are still around, but who recruits them on Saturday? Who drives the buses that they ride on? Who teaches them if you get them to class? That sort of thing. It is really a very challenging verse!”
Paul reminded the church that our responsibility is to scatter seed, water as we have opportunity and that God will give the increase (1 Corinthians 3:5-7). Let us keep our focus on doing good by scattering the seed, watering as we have opportunity, and pray to God for the increase! The increase may not come, but we will still be held accountable for our scattering and watering! Soldiers of Christ, Arise!