Duty!—A bounden responsibility rests upon every American conference and every worker in the home base, as concerns the spiritual welfare of our youth selected by the draft. That responsibility reaches first back to the home church, where the pastor or district leader should seek to fortify all such in advance for the inevitable tests and challenges td his faith and loyalty. And, next, he should keeP in touch with these lads, during their absence, by letter, literature, and other means. Then the responsibility rests next with inescapable weight upon the conferences in which„ the camps are located, and upon the churches or companies near the camps. These boys must be pastored and counseled, No amount of evangelism for those outside the household of faith can take the place of holding our own boys. We must win their confidence, help them, hold them, and bear them ever before the throne of grace. Pray for our boys, in public and private devotions.
Promptness!—The principle of fairness and common courtesy to others is involved in the practice of habitual lateness to appointments. For example, a committee of busy men is called, and one or two chronic procrastinators presume upon the time and patience of the other members, holding up the proceedings until their arrival. This is not fair. It asks of others what they are themselves unwilling to do for others, thus violating the golden rule. If the one who is late to appointments would multiply the number of minutes he is tardy by the number of people kept waiting, he would soon realize the extent of his error, as it is just that many minutes wasted for others. Such laxness is selfish. It demands that all others wait on a few—implying that their own time, their own work, is more important than that of their fellows, which is open to question. The tardy habit is not honest; for it is taking the precious time of others against their wishes and without compensation, and so is a form of refined robbery. It is often passed off as a joke, but it is no joke. It is an imposition. It is usually accompanied by a lame excuse or a threadbare apology. But it really needs to be rebuked and exposed in its true light. This has no reference to emergencies, or to some unavoidable situation, but only to habitual procrastinators, whose mental attitude needs to be reformed. Promptness is a primary ministerial virtue.
Teamwork!—Evangelists, for abiding results, for your own sake and future, as well as for the sake of the souls at stake, team up with the local pastor. Tie him into your effort with an integral place in the evangelistic effort. Keep him prominently, before the public. Let him handle the "pictured truth" hour or the personal follow-up. Then, when you move on and drop out of the picture, your converts are tied to the church, and not merely to the memory of you. Team up with the local pastor. This is a basic principle of sound evangelism.
AMBITION! Is it right to be ambitious, to aspire, to determine to advance in efficiency and service? Yes—if it be for God, for greater efficacy in soul winning, for greater advance of the cause we love, for greater service in the message. No—if it be for personal fame, as preacher, executive, or writer, for position or personal advancement. There is wholesome, godly, altruistic ambition, and there is improper, unholy, selfish ambition. We should cherish the one and suppress the other. No man has a right to be content with stagnation, to drift along with the tide of circumstances, controlled by the pressure of daily routine or following the path of ease. He should so programize his work and budget his time that there is an allotted portion for systematic reading and progressive study. He should always be in advance of the immediate demands, be prepared for greater things and for emergency situations, be ready to capitalize upon the unforeseen opportunity or expectation that cannot be met by the lethargic. Holy ambition is needed by all.
Prayers!—We often admonish one another about inordinately long sermons that wear out the saints. But who will cry out concerning inordinately long public prayers ? We are admonished to pray. We are to offer praise, to seek forgiveness, blessing, and guidance. We are to ask help for specific needs, or fields, or circumstances. We are to appeal for the Holy Spirit. But we are not heard for our much speaking. Nor are our prayers to inform or instruct God. In our private prayer or group seasons, we should tarry before the throne of grace. But we should not pray for ten or twelve minutes in public prayer, keeping the people standing, or on their knees, and thus encroaching upon the sermon time allotted to a brother minister.
L. E. F.