Jerry C. Brewer
Churches of Christ were the fastest growing religious body in the United States in the 1950s, and most of that growth came from personal efforts. Faithful Christians made it their practice to study their Bibles and engage their friends and neighbors in discussing it and teaching them the plan of salvation. When the time came for the annual gospel meeting, the ground was prepared, the visiting evangelist planted the seed, and a harvest of souls was reaped. In a gospel meeting in 1952 at Taylor, a small country church south of our home, there were 25 people baptized in their summer meeting—including my grandfather and two uncles. The folks at Taylor had prepared the soil for the harvest.
But evangelizing on a personal basis to snatch souls from hell’s fire just doesn’t seem important to multitudes of individuals and Christians today. Perhaps it’s because they are infected with what I call, “The Judas Syndrome” when it comes to their Christianity. Judas went to the chief priests asking, “What will ye give me…” (Matt. 26:15). He considered the Lord not as Savior and Lord, but as a means to obtain some material benefit. Sadly, that’s how many so-called Christians view the Lord today. Instead of a life of sacrifice and labor in the Lord’s kingdom, they come to the church asking, “What will ye give me?”
But Jesus said, “Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; they are white already to harvest” (John 4:35). Rather than looking inwardly at the kingdom to see what we can gain, we ought to be looking outward to the harvest field and preaching the soul-saving gospel.
“But people aren’t as interested today,” is an objection often heard. That’s true. But what did Paul say? “Preach the word; be instant in season; out of season…” (2 Tim. 4:2). Brother Marshall Keeble used to say of that passage, “That means when they like it and when they don’t like it.” It’s true that interest in spiritual matters has taken a back seat to material pursuits in our wealthy society, but that does not absolve us of our responsibility to preach the word. When Jesus gave the Great Commission, He didn’t say, “Go ye into all the world and see if people are interested and, if they are, then preach the gospel.” It isn’t the Christian’s responsibility to motivate people. It is his responsibility to, “preach the word.” We must never quit preaching the gospel.