It is difficult, apparently, for most professed Christians to remember that the followers of Christ "are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men." 1 Cor. 4:9. If we did not forget, doubtless every one of us would be more careful of every act of our lives. The word that is rendered "spectacle" in the quotation we have used means literally "theater." On earth's stage a tragedy is being enacted. Satan is the villain; Christ, the hero. The devil sought to justify his rebellion against God the Father and His Son by charging that God dealt unfairly with His creatures, and that Christ was the recipient of unjustified special favors.
In His dealings with mankind, through the freedom of their own choice, God seeks to aid His children in reaching the high standard of living that will prove conclusively to heavenly intelligences and all the races of mankind that the devil's allegations of discrimination, favoritism, and unfairness have no basis in fact. Incidents which show the effect of Christianity upon the life of the believer and its influence upon observers could be multiplied. Everybody knows of such cases. But it is doubtful whether any of us appreciate as we should the need for more manifestations.
Some time ago one of our brethren who is employed in the Government Printing Office found himself in difficulty over exemption from Sabbath duty, and asked me to assist him. Having a casual acquaintance with the Government Printer, I consented to try. I found the way to his office barred by a very efficient secretary who insisted that I tell her the purpose of my, interview. Eventually an appointment was given. When I mentioned the case that had brought me to him, the atmosphere became frigid. I sought to be as tactful as possible, an prayed that God would impress the man's heart in favor of our brother. After that it was gratifying to feel a little more cordiality. At last he said that he would give the matter careful consideration, and I assured him that I would be satisfied with the conclusion he reached. He suddenly completely changed his tone and said, "How is the sanitarium getting along?"
I was so astonished that I almost stuttered my reply, finally managing to say, "Fine. Have you been a patient there?"
To this he answered, "No, I have never been a house patient, but I have gone there for the baths that are given in the treatment rooms. I like them very much." He closed the interview by saying, "If your religion makes those boys in your bathrooms what they are, I rather believe in your religion."
To most folk it would not appear that the bathroom of a sanitarium offered any particular opportunity for the workers to be of great help to others besides their immediate patients. However, those nameless men who did their work conscientiously, as unto the Lord, made it possible for a brother whom they did not know not only to be given exemption from Sabbath work, but actually to receive easier employment with an increase of ten cents an hour in pay. Such was the final outcome in this case. Our brother, with tears in his eyes, reported how surprised he was to see the change that had come over his immediate superiors. He said he had only hoped to retain his old post, and was astounded at God's working in his behalf.
I recall a similar incident. Some time since, we had as neighbors in Takoma Park a young man, his Wife, and their three-year-old son. The grandmother came to visit, and in the course of some conversations it was learned that she had once owned a. copy of "Bible Readings," which had been destroyed in a fire that burned her home. She was interested in all points of the message, and soon began to observe the Sabbath. After she left, Bible readings were continued with her daughter for a time, but it finally seemed clear that she was uninterested, and reluctantly we stopped the studies.
Later, we were again asked to call. The woman, half by way of self-justification, chided us for stopping the readings, and asked why we had done it. We told her we thought she had not desired us to come any more. At once she said, "But I do now." When we inquired what had made the change, she told us that she had recently been a patient at the sanitarium, suffering from an attack of influenza. Owing to the crowded condition there, she was unable to get a private room, and was placed in a ward with three or four student nurses who were also sick. Referring to them, she said, "Those faithful nurses got out of their beds and knelt to pray every night. When I was their age I would not have prayed before a stranger for a thousand dollars."
The studies were resumed, and the woman and her son, then about ten years of age, were baptized. Both are loyal to the message to this day. The boy is now pursuing premedical studies in the hope that he may enter the College of Medical Evangelists in the fall of 1940. His aim and desire is to be a medical missionary. Of course it was a pleasure to baptize these people, but in my heart I have always felt that the loyalty to God manifested by the simple act of devotional prayer on the part of those student nurses did more than anything I ever said to bring them into the kingdom of Christ. I am sure that the searchlight from the throne of God shone down into that sanitarium ward and bathed with glory the faces of those Christian nurses.
In 1926, when the Lankford Sunday bill was being urged upon Congress, Brother Longacre and I had occasion to go to the Capitol one day. One of the guides met us as we were passing through the rotunda, and said, "I have been talking to many Congressmen against the Lankford bill, and sixty have promised me that they will vote in opposition to it."
Amazed, I rather bluntly asked, "Terry, what argument have you used against it? Why have you told them that it should not be passed?"
Imagine my surprise and my sense of satisfaction when he answered thus : "I have told them that that bill must not pass, because if it does, many good people will be persecuted, My mother is out at the Adventist sanitarium in Takoma Park. She is old, and those nurses treat her just like she was their mother."
Those who wanted to be critical would not find it difficult to overthrow his argument.