CHRISTIANITY!—Christianity is more than merely a profession of faith; it is pre-eminently the living of a life governed by high Christian principle. It is intensely practical, and embraces our everyday relationships one to another. It enters into our common dealings, as worker to worker. It likewise applies to our official relationship to the denominational organizations, conference and institutional. It involves the relationship of each of us to our conference president and committee, and vice versa. It similarly comprehends the teacher's relationship to the faculty and board of a school, and likewise the reverse. When genuine and operative, Christianity automatically guarantees fairness, considerateness, thoughtfulness, in all dealings. It will never needlessly wound. It precludes anything dictatorial or arbitrary. It will lead to candid consultation, so no misunderstandings or feelings will arise. It will have us do unto others as we would they would do unto us.
FITNESS!—Common courtesy is violated and the propriety of religious assembly is trampled upon when a fellow minister persists in reading a newspaper, page after page—funnies, sports, and all—during a devotional study—hymn, special music, and on into the meeting. Committee meetings and councils may be boresome. But if one must seek relief or edification by reading the daily paper, for the sake of the feelings of others and to maintain the eternal fitness of things, why not sit in the back or outside, until this seemingly important function is over ? The common amenities of Christian assembly are well known. We catalog ourselves as either thoughtless or rude when we violate them with impunity. One good test is this—What if everyone did as I do ?
CALIBER!—People usually find their level in harmony with their caliber. The person filling a responsible position is usually understanding in attitude, liberal, interested, and approachable. It is the underling who is frequently dictatorial, snobbish, condescending, apathetic, or penurious. The one having authority does not wish to display it; the one in a petty position usually likes to exert his petty powers of which he is hyperconscious. The large soul employs a large and liberal policy, because he knows it will bring him large returns and build friendship. The small soul thinks it foolish to make a liberal investment because it brings but a modest return, and so he loses money and friends through his policy of stinginess. One comes away from the man of affairs admiring his real greatness, and instinctively sensing why he is where he is. You leave the pompous little man who is ever seeking to impress you, and to rule rigidly in his little world, wondering how he can be tolerated, and not returning to him if you can help it.
OFFICE!—Thereverence, if not adulation, of some toward office or official position would be amusing were it not so disquieting. A man is elected or appointed to some post. He was never particularly consulted before. His judgment had not customarily been sought or considered of special value prior thereto. But immediately upon his assumption of office a marked change occurs. He is often appealed to as to an oracle, and is appointed to important committees and what not. He is now qualified to counsel and to make important decisions on various and sundry matters. On the contrary, a man of recognized experience and abilities is superseded. Suddenly his wide and successful background and leadership are no longer sought. This presents an anomalous situation. Let us watch lest we merely worship office and fail to recognize genuine wisdom, experience, and stiecessful achievement.
FOREIGNERS!—Our speech and thoughts and attitudes toward one another should differ from the world about us. They should be in sharp contrast to the seething national and racial consciousness and agitation that is rampant all about. Never should we look upon our fellow workers and believers from other lands as "foreigners." In the parlance of the world, each of us is dubbed a "foreigner" in all other countries. But God's children should not be foreigners to one another anywhere. We are members of a world brotherhood,that transcends all national and racial boundaries. Never should Seventh-day Adventists refer depreciatingly to workers of other lands as foreigners. Never should we allow the term to slip from our lips as an epithet, or as an implication of assumed superiority, or in the sense of separateness or derision. We must make the believers of all nations welcome and conscious of our oneness, wherever they are. Let us pray for hearts big enough to take all men in. We shall find them all there, near to the heart of God.
L. E. F.