Pulling Together

AN UNWRITTEN law of human nature is that people need to be associated in a common cause. Only when they are working together for something that is bigger than individual ambition can men achieve their best. . .

AN UNWRITTEN law of human nature is that people need to be associated in a common cause. Only when they are working together for something that is bigger than individual ambition can men achieve their best. In ancient times Moses suggested this principle to Hobab, his father-in-law, when he promised, "If you go with us, whatever good the Lord will do to us, the same will we do to you" (Num. 10:32, R.S.V.). Hobab was not moved until he was invited to join a common cause and share God's blessing with others.

This principle holds good in every area of endeavor; and it is the big cause, the difficult enterprise, that challenges man's need and fulfills his dream. The American achievement was born out of men bound together in a hard and testing mission. The "sunshine patriots" and the "summer soldiers" disappeared at the challenge of a mighty cause. The same principle worked miracles in Italy when Giuseppe Mazzini, in the nineteenth century, called for volunteers to free Italy from outside invaders and internal pirates. He promised nothing but hard work and sacrifice, but the freedom of the nation was the goal. Patriots came by the hundreds to enlist in the common enterprise full of danger and uncertainty. In 1941 a similar challenge was voiced by Winston Churchill—and the British saw their "finest hour."

The nature of God's church is such that we must never forget this basic law of human nature. Gerald Kennedy reminded his readers of this by telling them the story of the three preachers who symbolized three points of view in ministry. One preacher said to his church in effect, "I am here for you to serve me." Strangely enough, the church did just that, for the people were proud of their minister's ability. They were happy to pay him a good salary, ensure time for travel, for study, to exist so to speak, for the pastor.

The second minister took a different approach. "I am here," said he, "to serve you." Interestingly enough, the congregation was not reluctant to take him at his word. He became the errand boy of the church. At every function he was there to help arrange chairs and tables. His life was at the beck and call of every group. The third pastor knew -his Master and his people. Said he, "Let us together serve Christ." He rallied the entire church to God's service.

Could it be that the Christian cause ofttimes falters and fails because God's men do not make clear His "big purpose" and His "big plans"? Like Moses, then, let us challenge every man to join in total dedication to God's cause. Men like Hobab will arise and go with us, and "whatever good the Lord will do to us, the same will we do" to them.

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July 1970

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