DONT LOSE PERSONAL TOUCH!
None would want to minimize the power, stature, and value of public preaching in the drawing of men and women to Christ and eternal life. Nevertheless, the Master Soul Winner used the personal touch in most of His dealings with humanity.
During a recent election in England many of the candidates for office came down the street where I lived, knocking on doors, home by home, shaking hands, visiting, and winning friends for their cause. They had access to radio and television, and they used this media extensively, but evidently they felt the personal touch was vital in order to win the confidence and the support of the people. A number of years ago some of the wholesale distributors of various merchandising products thought they would eliminate the personal contacts of salesmen, or drummers, as they called them. Within six months business fell off so badly that the contact men were put back on the road to personally shake hands with their customers and talk to them about their product.
I have had individuals slip out of the church right under my evangelistic and pastoral ministry (and I was preaching as conscientiously and sincerely as I was able to do), but one or two personal visits in the home brought the wounded ones back into the fold. I could have stayed in my church office and expected those in need to come to me with their problems. But it is not man's nature to act in this way. Therefore, when I made an effort and got out of my comfortable chair, and went to these individuals with friendship and obvious interest, they could not but sense that I cared for them, loved them, and that their soul's salvation was important to me as a pastor, and should be very important to them also.
The shepherd in Christ's story could have waited at the sheepfold and shouted toward the hills and waited for the lamb to come back. But that is not what he did. With an anxious heart the shepherd went to seek and rescue the lost sheep. How easy it is to forget this dramatic lesson. But this is evangelism of the highest kind. We read: "Be thou diligent and know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds" (Prov. 27:23).
"To my ministering brethren 1 would say, By personal labor reach the people where they are. Become acquainted with them. This work cannot be done by proxy. . . Sermons from the pulpit cannot do it. Teaching the Scriptures in families, —this is the work of an evangelist, and this work is to be united with preaching. If it is omitted, the preaching will be, to a great extent, a failure."—Gospel Workers, p. 188.
A. C. F.
JACK IN THE BOX
No man can be conscience for another. This revelation is far less popular than one might imagine. God is the Supreme Judge of all the earth. And yet, pint-sized human judges are in abundance and still multiplying. For instance, in some quarters if a minister has a television set, he is immediately "suspect." the assumption being that it is inconceivable that one could have this instrument and resist viewing all that it has to offer. Which is about as ridiculous as saying that having a telephone means that one must be a gossiper; or a radio, then one must listen to jazz; or, moreover, having a car, he must break the speed limit. The sad fact is that too many people are guilty of all of these—and indeed may have to choose between having these things in the home or having Christ in the heart. It is no longer debatable that a man may become addicted to all of the above-named inventions—and to some more easily than others.
Nor can we argue the fact that "television addicts" outnumber the rest in multiplicity and fervor. There is, in fact, urgent need for someone to organize a "Televisions Anonymous" to assist those interested in "withdrawal." Many a Christian home is strife ridden today because the little square box controls the home. The man of God can lose his power, sitting transfixed before the box. In fact, the box can rob him of his interest in the Book.
But there are men with all of these appliances to whom none of this has happened. And to state "self-righteously" as one did, "I don't have one," in fact reveals little. Hitler was a vegetarian. So am I. I do hope, however, to escape being called guilty by association. For if one who has none unconsciously considers himself superior to the one who does, he has to that extent become a judge. Or if he considers the possession of the communicative appliances as evidence of guilt, he has become a judge. If, however, he feels that because of his own intimate knowledge of himself that possession might lead to his own enslavement, then his motive is pure. For there is little choice between a sweet-tempered television addict and an abstemious Pharisee.
There is a perilous "jack" in the box, but it can be avoided with or without the box.
E. E. C.