SALARIES, wage scale, fringe benefits, and related items have a sneaky way of commanding our time and attention. I visited one field where a heated discussion took place over bicycle depreciation. The president told me in another area of the country that where an animal mode of transportation was prevalent the same fiscal enthusiasm was evident when an agenda item titled "Donkey Depreciation" was considered. Auto depreciation recipients may be amused, but whether it is a donkey or a Dodge, a dime or a dollar, the principle of remuneration is a consuming concern that can absorb the mind. Today's committees are spending not hours but days on wage-scale problems—problems blown out of proportion all too often by hirelings, not shepherds. A mixed multitude following has no right to divert the attention of our leaders from our goal of souls to monetary matters.
What can we do about it? First, match your desires with your income. Have a marriage ceremony between your absolute necessities and your pay check. Never let them be unequally yoked together! Operate on a strict budget. Remember—"no budget, no balance." The financially disorganized are a discredit to God's cause.
Second, teach your people the inherent spiritual value of sacrificial living. Let your members see you as a walking reality of the truth "and having food and raiment let us be therewith content" (I Tim. 6:8).
J. R. S.
ACCORDING to Paul Harvey, "we have more preachers in the United States, but we are paying less attention to them than any time in our nation's history. The devil's disciples are obviously better salesmen. Our clergy is not being persecuted, it is being ignored."
The golden age of the church was in its first-century ministry. The disciples of Christ went everywhere, preaching the gospel. They had little to boast about, either personally or collectively. They had few of the awesome facilities at their disposal to augment the preaching of the gospel that we claim today. They could boast no giant hospitals, educational institutions, nor financial assets, all of which are important adjuncts to gospel witnessing, but they were not ignored, nor could they be. Rulers trembled on their thrones because of these Spirit-filled men. They became the chief objects of discussion in the legislative halls of the nations. Mammoth sports spectaculars held in the giant arenas of Christ's day did little to rival the power of the disciples in catching and holding the attention of people. They had little time for excuses. They were too busy preaching and baptizing and adding to the church such as should be saved.
Persecution that accompanies spiritual power kept them humble, prayerful men. Exaltation of brother was unknown among them. The next heart to be warned and the next soul to be saved dominated their thinking rather than the next possible "promotion." They were less concerned with the image than they were with the destruction of man-made images. They sought not personal glory but the triumph of grace. No hill was too steep for them to climb, no road too rough to travel, and no land too far away to reach. Whether it be by land or sea, if God said Go, the disciples were on their way. They feared neither fagot, lion's den, nor the rack. Their zeal burned in them like a living fire. They were in motion when they might have rested, preaching when but few would hear. Such men are persecuted but never ignored.
Thus may men avoid the supreme ignominy, which is to live and die unknown, unmourned, and without regret.
E. E. C.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH IT?
"WELL, what's wrong with it anyway?" This is a popular question among many in the church today, and it covers a variety of interests from amusements to diet and dress and many other things. I could give dozens of reasons why the movies, the dance, and other lower forms of amusement are wrong, but instead of emphasizing these, why not try to discover "What's right with it?" What is there about it that would encourage a fuller involvement with the Lord Jesus Christ, and more speedy preparation for His coming? After all, this is what we are supposed to be preparing for, isn't it? As ministers, are we not trying to help people to live the kind of lives that will be permitted to enter the kingdom of heaven? Anything that will be excluded from heaven at last must be excluded from our lives here and now! Lowered standards—no! Preparation for heaven—yes!
N. R. D.