Crossing the Dead Line

One of our fundamental problems in conference administration is dealing with the class of workers who are considered unproductive.

J.L. McElhany


One of our fundamental problems  in conference administration is dealing with the class of workers who are considered unproductive. It is dis­tressing to see so many of our work­ers crossing the dead line between effi­ciency and inefficiency, and I believe that in many instances the root of the trouble lies in mental apathy. These workers are not studious; they are not developing the mind as God intended they should. If men would keep men­tally alert, their years of usefulness in God's cause would be greatly ex­tended.

We sometimes hear the remark made that this is the age of young men. But when we make a careful survey of world leaders, we find that the majority of them are men of ma­ture years. It is not so much the num­ber of years, as it is the mental and physical habits of life which carry men over the summit of efficiency and quickly down the declining slopes of waning efficiency.

But this need not be. It is time that we, individually, face the situa­tion, and take ourselves in hand. The Lord does not intend that His minis­ters shall give up in discouragement and consider that their day of useful­ness is over, when they have perhaps just reached the stage when their ex­perience could be of the greatest value. The situation is clearly pointed out in the counsel which the Lord has given us, and the remedy is prescribed. I quote from "Testimonies," Volume IV, pages 269, 270, as follows:

"Our ministers who have reached the age of forty or fifty years should not feel that their labor is less efficient than formerly. Men of years and ex­perience are just the ones to put forth strong and well-directed efforts. They are specially needed at this time; the churches cannot afford to part with them. Such ones should not talk of physical and mental feebleness, nor feel that their day of usefulness is over. . . . This is not alone confined to those whose heads are white with the frost of time, but men young in years have fallen into the same state, and have become mentally feeble. They have a list of set discourses; but if they get beyond the boundaries of these, they lose their soundings. . . . Ministers of age and experience should feel it their duty, as God's hired servants, to go forward, progres­sing every day, continually becoming more efficient in their work, and con­stantly gathering fresh matter to set before the people. . . . The greater their age and experience, the nearer should they be able to approach the hearts of the people, having a more perfect knowledge of them."

If we are content to become hap­hazard in our reading and study, or to feel that a snatch at the daily news­paper is all that is sufficient to keep us in touch with world conditions, we are on the sure road toward defeat, and may already have crossed the dead line. Shall we not retrace our steps, and resolve to give more earnest heed to study and reading, in order to keep the mind keen and alert and receptive to the leadings of the Holy Spirit in our contact with souls, and in con­nection therewith give due attention to physical exercise which is in har­mony with the divine laws of our being?                       

J. L. McElhany. 

Washington, D. C.

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J.L. McElhany


February 1931

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