Capitalize Present Interests

Jesus deals with man's interests where they are, not where they ought to be.

By Frynn F. Rahm

Jesus deals with man's interests where they are, not where they ought to be. Simon Peter's and his partners' present concern on one occasion was fish that they had not caught. Jesus immediately became interested in fish. Christ, the Creator, regarded the fishermen's temporal needs, and guided them to fish, because He loved them and wanted to win them. After a demonstration of interest in their present interest, He said, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men." The climax of that incident was, "They forsook their nets, and followed Him." In another instance, bread was the present interest of the hungry multitude. Jesus met them at this point, and sought to lead their desires skillfully on to the bread of life.

A Bible worker who asked to study the Bible with a lady was told: "No, thank you; if I have any questions, I can ask my daughter." The daughter is a Seventh-day Adventist; but at that time the mother seemed uninter­ested, and avoided the subject even with her daughter. Further conver­sation revealed the fact that she was intensely interested in relief from rheumatism. The worker recognized the opportunity, and outlined a simple diet which, with the Lord's blessing, wrought wonders in relieving the con­dition. Then the lady listened, and with the fifth Bible reading, she began to keep the Sabbath. Recently, she has been baptized.

The woman at the well of Samaria was probably not thought by her friends to be religiously inclined. On the occasion when Jesus met her, she was interested in water. From the subject of water, Jesus tactfully led her on step by step, although in order to do so, He patiently permitted her to lead the conversation whither she would. But He watched for opportunities to bring the truth home to her heart, and he won her soul.

One of our sisters tried in vain to dominate the conversation with a neighbor. Repeatedly, she attempted to present truths in which she herself was vitally interested. But the friend would monopolize the conversation with ideas of her own, and often an argument resulted. A Bible worker visited the friend, and found her to be as talkative as represented. To be a patient listener is an art, and this Bible worker had cultivated it. Pa­tiently and attentively she listened. At last the woman apologetically invited a response from her polite listener. A short but well-chosen Bible study held her interest, and prepared her for fu­ture studies, which have been surpris­ingly satisfactory.

When the honest Pharisee, Nico­demus, came to the Master, with a de­sire in his heart to know about the kingdom of God, Jesus instantly re­sponded to his wish, and talked to him about the kingdom and the means nec­essary for admittance to it. He also spoke of the surpassing love of God for His human children, in the words that have blessed countless lives, "God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

A Catholic woman called on one of our members, and said: "What do Sev­enth-day Adventists believe? I am a Catholic, but I long for something I do not have." The answer drove straight to the heart of the gospel, for that was what the stranger was inter­ested in. The lady went home, and began to study her Bible, even in the face of ridicule.

The impotent man's first interest was neither fish, nor bread, nor water, nor the kingdom, but his own physical need. Jesus gave that need His first attention; then the man was ready to listen to the solution of his spiritual difficulties. How often a simple hydro­therapy treatment, under the blessing of God, opens the way for a spiritual revival!

Jesus met people at the point of their present interest, and tactfully led them to matters vital to salvation. Thus, too, He trained His disciples. "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give."

Eureka, Calif.

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By Frynn F. Rahm

September 1932

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