Adapting the Contact
By Reathel Jenkins
The Bible worker comes in contact with all classes of society, which requires constant study of human nature, an understanding of social ethics, and the full flexibility of adaptation to all situations and occasions.
In contact with people of wealth and prestige, the Bible worker may labor under the impression that it is essential to employ the most profound philosophy and the most eloquent logic, in order to make the right impression upon such people, and that the outward appearance should be as nearly in harmony with the standard of the higher classes as Christian ethics will admit. It has been my experience, however, that the wealthy, and the cultured and refined, appreciate the simplicity of the gospel as expressed in speech, in apparel, and in conduct by the Bible teacher. The fascination of the prophetic studies, and the beauty and security of the plan of salvation, attract and transform the heart of high and low, rich and poor.
I shall never forget the appreciation manifested by Miss Grace Adele Pierce, the renowned poet, as she listened to a series of lectures in the tent, and later as we studied the Bible together in her home. She is now sleeping, but in her love for the message of truth she dedicated the proceeds from the sale of her religious poems for the advancement of God's work.
Quite recently I have been called to give studies to two aristocratic ladies holding public positions. When I first called on them and observed their standing, I trembled for fear I would not be equal to the situation. But with a prayer and an earnest longing to see these highly cultured, capable women enlisted in the service of the Master, I endeavored to meet the opportunity. Giving the most careful attention to neatness of appearance, promptness in meeting appointments, thoroughness in preparation, and providing for appropriate literature and study outline to be used in connection with the Bible study, I proceeded.
Between appointments, I took occasion to call on these ladies occasionally, for the purpose of inviting them to attend special services. On two occasions I made an appointment for the evangelist and his wife to call on them, and also sought to make the right contact with some of our church members who occupied places of responsibility in public affairs, and who I knew would prove tactful and interesting. All things worked together, under God, to bring these two influential women to decide in favor of the truth. One came first, then finally the other, and the days of their baptism will long be remembered.
Then there are the people of distinctive nationalities with whom the Bible worker comes in contact, requiring an adaptation of an entirely different nature. The unspoken language of the heart is of primary importance here. One little Spanish lady said, as I was leaving her home at the close of my first call, " Come back. You can't come too often." I responded to this quite unusual invitation by calling more frequently than my schedule ordinarily permitted.
The woman's mother lived with her, and she could not speak or understand English. In the Bible studies they made use of their Spanish Bible, and I would find the text for them, and the daughter would read it in Spanish. As I explained the scripture in English, the daughter would repeat it in Spanish, and we had a very interesting time. Although I cannot speak Spanish, I could find the texts for them, and God blessed the reading of His word, and they 'understood the message clearly.
The mother and three of her daughters were baptized, and with great joy they tell of the change which has come into their home since the truth was brought to them. I cannot speak Spanish, French, German, or Swedish, yet I can find any book in the Bible in any of the four languages, and when I point to the text and it is read in the native language, they are ready for the explanation and grasp the meaning, even though I speak in English and there is no one to interpret into their own language.
The Bible worker's contact with those residing in homes of poverty requires still further adaptation of methods and of attitude. Such homes need not be the result of indolence, shiftlessness, and uncleanness, but as a general thing this is the case, and primarily principles of cleanliness, which is " next to godliness," must receive tactful presentation. The Bible worker must appear oblivious to untidiness, or to the poor, broken, and well-worn furnishings, and impart to the embarrassed or discouraged poverty-stricken soul a gleam of hope for the attainment of better things. The instruction must be simplified to the needs of the ignorant, the careworn, the aged, and the little children.
Let love be manifest in its widest range. Call at the home between studies, if possible, taking gifts of fruit or other tokens of constant remembrance. Teach them how to improve present living conditions. Usually the effect of the Bible worker's contact is seen in greater cleanliness and more correct habits of life, thus bringing out the best that is in the people, and inspiring them to hope and trust in the Master.
In all our contact with men and women of whatever class distinction, the guiding principle is clearly conveyed by Paul: " To the weak I became as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some. And this I do for the gospel's sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you." 1 Cor. 9: 22, 23.
The Small Prophetic Chart.—Grownups take to picture object lessons as well as children, and I find the small prophetic chart (20 x 28 in.) a great help. It is very appealing to the eye as well as the ear, and enables the teacher to secure attention and hold the interest. In fact, I should be completely lost in giving the prophecies without this chart. I display only one prophetic illustration at a time, folding the chart so that all else is concealed, and thus prevent the attention from being diverted by curiosity.
I consider this small chart preferable to the large prophetic chart, for several reasons, but mainly because of its convenience in handling. In most homes it is difficult to display the large chart, as it has to be hung on the wall, and involves marring the wall by the use of pins or tacks. The small chart can be placed on the table, folded to the desired size, or held up by hand when -needed, and thus obviates confusion in trying to find a place for it.
Mrs. M. Lucas
How I Solved the Chart Problem.—Charts are valuable as a means to an end, and it is an art to know just how to produce them at the proper time and to lay them aside when they have served their purpose. Some years ago I solved the chart problem for myself, by using small charts and showing only one line of prophecy at a time. I bought a prophetic chart (36 x 48 in.), cut it up, and mounted each illustration on muslin. I have Daniel 2 on one chart. The beasts of Daniel 7 are mounted separately, and each symbol is presented in connection with the Scripture reference, and at the close of the reading all the symbols appear placed side by side, giving a complete review of the study.
For the sanctuary illustrations, I have some good prints taken from the Signs of several years ago. The cuts exactly fit my notebook, which is 6 x 8 inches in size. One large picture shows the sanctuary and the camp of Israel around it. Another shows the interior of the sanctuary. Then there are the separate pieces of furniture. There are two views, of the ark, one showing the priest, and one the shekinah. There are also pictures of the altar of incense, table, candlesticks, and the furniture of the court.
Folding Prophetic Chart.— A unique set of charts has been prepared by one of our ministers, which is very compact, and convenient for use by the Bible worker when dealing with one or two persons in the home. This set is known as the " Folding Prophetic Chart." Furnished in stiff board covers, bound in dark green cloth, the set has the appearance of a narrow book, 9% inches in length by 4 inches in width.
Securely fastened within this cover are seven stiff cardboard panels, slightly smaller in size, giving fourteen charts, one on each side of panel. The first is the image of Daniel 2, portrayed in designating colors. On the opposite panel are four main statements of Scripture explanation, standing out in large type, serving for emphasis in interpretation. For Daniel 7 there is a threefold panel, important Scripture statements in large type appearing on the first two, and on the third panel, which unfolds opposite the two, the four beasts are strikingly displayed. This third panel is cut into four sections, which turn over one by one, revealing the change in the fourth beast at the proper time to show the " little horn " in its usurped position. Other panels show the law of God as given by Jehovah, and the law as changed by the Papacy, while still others give the symbols of Daniel 8 and the 2300 days.
The seal of God chart has a panel showing on one side the seal of the Creator, and on the other the official seal of Queen Victoria. The chart portraying the meaning of " 666 " has an extra panel showing the triple crown, The last chart gives the prophetic symbols of Revelation, with three loose panel attachments for the first, second, and third angels' messages.
If further information is desired regarding the folding prophetic chart, inquiries should be sent to the office of the Ministerial Association.
Rose E. Boose Loma Linda, Calif.