THE real energy crisis facing the world is not related to oil. It is a spiritual energy crisis of Gargantuan proportions. Paradoxically, there is no lack of power available. The resources for this type of fuel are boundless. Unfathomable amounts of energy are available for immediate delivery. But why the crisis? The problem is one of convincing energy-hungry persons that they need to dip into the vast reservoirs of power. It is almost like trying to convince a starving man that he needs food.
God's book of energy, the Bible, is the Christian's main source of power. Yet it is so often bypassed, and at times completely ignored by many of us. Am I putting it too strongly? Is this really a true picture? I am eager for evidence to the contrary. Is it possible that many of us are busily engaged with anything and everything except the diligent study of the Word of God?
Token gestures toward Bible study in the form of brief surveys of the Sabbath school lesson, or a fast reading of the Morning Watch text, are not the kinds of Bible study under consideration. Undoubtedly, the Sadducees studied their Morning Watch books and Sabbath school lessons, but the Lord categorically said that this group of religious leaders was in blatant error because they did not know the Scriptures, and as a result they did not know the power of God (see Matt. 22:29).
Many of Christ's own disciples faced an energy crisis. They were puzzled at His words, "Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood dwells continually in me and I dwell in him" (John 6:56, N.E.B.).* After hearing this some declared, "This is more than we can stomach! Why listen to such talk?" (John 6:60, N.E.B.).
Christ's strong symbolical representation offended them so much that many cast off their allegiance to Him. What a tragic energy crisis! They were more interested in a theoretical knowledge of Christ, plus a bit of bread and fish, than in feeding upon His Word. They failed to grasp the truth that the character of Christ is assimilated in our spiritual natures through eating and drinking His Word.
If there are discouraged ministers among us who are troubled with doubts and uncertainty, let me urge you to plug in to the source of energy. If we do not do this our labors for others will not only fail but will be as a slow poison that undermines the spiritual natures of our members.
While the lights are going out over the world, let not darkness possess our souls. The light of His Word can bring hope and courage both to ourselves and our people. Worldly rubbish in the form of interesting and entertaining books should be laid aside while we dig deeper and deeper into the wells of power found in the Word.
If it is true that the study of the Word ennobles every thought, feeling, and aspiration; that our minds can be balanced and all of our physical, mental, and moral powers can be harmoniously developed; that the conscience becomes more sensitive and the sympathies and sentiments will be purified and a better moral atmosphere will be created; that a new power to resist temptation will be imparted; then why not turn to this unlimited source of energy? Why not set up a program when X number of hours on a daily basis are spent with the Word!
A word of caution. Two extremes must be avoided. One is a lack of study, and the other is a theoretical study that brings knowledge without vitalizing power. The purpose of all Bible study is to bring salvation power to ourselves for impartation to others.
Christ needs ministers who are neither dull nor dazzling. Christ needs ministers who are neither recluses nor exhibitionists. Christ needs ministers who will follow His pattern. What is that pattern?
"Christ's work was not done in such a way as to dazzle men with His superior abilities. He came forth from the bosom of the Allwise, and could have astonished the world with the great and glorious knowledge which He possessed; yet He was reticent and uncommunicative. It was not His mission to overwhelm them with the immensity of His talents, but to walk in meekness and lowliness, that He might instruct the ignorant in the ways of salvation. . . . The pursuit of knowledge merely for its own sake, diverts the mind from devotion to God, checks advance along the path of practical holiness, and hinders souls from traveling in the way which leads to a holier, happier life. The Lord Jesus imparted only such a measure of instruction as could be utilized." --Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 338.
The real energy crisis we face today is one we can easily solve. When solved, the energizing power that will pour forth from Adventist pulpits and lives will spark a revival and reformation exceeding that of Pentecost. No longer will we spend endless hours in committees, seminars, forums, surveys, congresses, institutes, and study groups, at tempting to figure out what problems the church faces and how to solve them.
The church on fire with power will rise up to spread the good news of Christ's love and soon coming. May this experience be ours immediately!
All texts credited to N.E.B. are from The New English Bible.© The Delegates of the Oxford University Press and the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press 1970. Reprinted by permission.