By Bob Dickey
With his thumb, a hitchhiker says, "You furnish the car, gas, attend to the repairs and upkeep, supply the insurance, and I'll ride with you. But you must be going my way, and if you have an accident, I'll sue for the damages." Sounds pretty one-sided, doesn't it?
There are hitchhikers in other places than just along the highways. Unfortunately, sometimes there are hitchhikers in local churches. These members seem to say "You go to the Bible classes, attend all of the various assemblies, do the visitation and personal work, shoulder the responsibilities, take care of the meeting house and grounds and all of the things that need doing, and I'll go along for the ride. But if things aren't done to suit me, I will complain, criticize, and probably get out and hitchhike to another group."
You've seen them too, haven't you? You've seen professing Christians that seem to just be along for the ride. They frustrate the growth and progress of the local church. Because of indifference or lack of total commitment, they add nothing to the furtherance of the Lord's cause. The only thing they add is more work for the faithful. Preachers and elders are usually at a loss to know how to awaken them to a sense of their personal responsibility. Many times they become so accustomed to riding the coat tails of others that they seem to know of no other way to travel.
What do we say to hitchhiking church members? Shall we let them keep on depending on others without learning to pull their own weight? Shall we stand quietly by while they slip closer to eternity, unprepared to meet the Lord's judgment? No, someone needs to remind these 'thumbing' members that they will never be able to hitch a ride to Heaven. And going along just for the ride hinders and holds back the congregation's work. If you know of a church member hitchhiker like these we have described, why not lovingly talk to him or her about their soul and the need for their help and cooperation. Hitchhikers are not permitted on the interstate expressways today. Let's remember that they are not allowed on the Lord's highway either. Hitchhikers, please read Matthew 25:1-46!
On Doing Good
“I am rich enough and can afford to give away 100 pounds sterling each year. I would not crawl upon the earth without doing good. I will enjoy the pleasure of what I give by giving it while I am alive and seeing to it that others enjoy it. When I die, I should be ashamed to leave enough for a monument over my grave if a friend in need was yet above the ground.” (Alexander Pope, 1688 - 1744)
What to Tell Myself When I Feel Discouraged
1) This is tough, but so am I.
2) I may not be able to control the situation, but I am control of how I respond to it.
3) I haven’t figured this out, yet.
4) This challenge will teach me something.
5) All I need to do is take it one step at a time, breathe, and then do the next right thing.
A Moments Wisdom
- It isn’t the number of persons attending a local church that makes it successful; it’s the number working.
- The manner in which a gift is given is often worth more than the gift itself.
- When your work speaks for itself, don’t interrupt by talking.
- If a person sits and reads recipes in a cookbook, but never gets up and makes something, they will never get dinner ready. Reading the Bible is often done in the same manner, with the same lack of results.
- Gold is tried by fire; brave men by affliction.
- To understand humankind’s love of conflict, consider that the world has been at peace for only 8% of the last 3,500 years.
- The highest reward we get for our labor for the Lord in this life is not what we get from it, by what we become by it.
- The great value of the Bible doesn’t consist in merely knowing it, but in doing it.
- Feed your faith and your doubts will starve to death.
- Habits begin as cobwebs and grow to become cables.
- The soil says, “Don’t bring me your need; bring me your seed.”
- Hope is patience with the lamp lit.
- An issue ignored will become a crisis endured.
- In a wicked world, when you speak up and stand against evil, you will be labeled a “hater.”
- Being a Christian doesn’t make me better than others; it makes me better than I was.
Test Your Bible Knowledge of the Flood
1. “The LORD saw that the _____ of man was great in the earth, and that _____ intent of the thoughts of his heart was _____ _____ _____.”
2. “The LORD was _____ that He had made man on the earth, and He was _____ in His heart.”
3. “Noah was a _____ man, _____ in his generations. Noah _____ with God.”
4. “I will establish My _____ with you; and you shall go into the _____; you, your _____, your _____, and your _____ _____ with you.”
5. “Only Noah and those who were with him in the _____ remained _____.”
6. “While the earth remains, _____ and _____, _____ and _____, _____ and _____, And _____ and _____ Shall not cease.” (NKJV text used)
(Correction to last week’s questions: “I am Ruth; what is the name of my grandchild, 17 generations later?” It should be 45 generations; Luke 3 has 42 generations, plus three from Ruth to David. The answer is Jesus.)