I Feel So Unnecessary
By A. C. Grider

Three things happened in the last several days which made me feel real important. I preached a hard sermon on Jesus Christ Super Star. I denounced the Rock Opera as a blasphemous thing. The Opera, which was to be presented on stage here in Owensboro, suddenly canceled the date.
I wrote to a Baptist preacher and challenged him to publicly defend what he preached on the radio. He suddenly quit his program and moved out of Owensboro.
I preached a good sermon on The Judgment and as the invitation song was sung a young man came down the aisle and was baptized into Christ. So I say I was feeling real important.
But, the Opera was called off because of a shortage of ticket sales. I had nothing whatsoever to do with its cancellation.
The Baptist preacher resigned to accept a position with a Baptist school. It was apparent that I had nothing whatsoever to do with his leaving town.
And the young man told somebody before the service that he was going to respond for baptism. My sermon had nothing whatsoever to do with his response that day. So, as I said, I feel so unnecessary!
However, I am glad that blasphemous Rock Opera was never shown in our city. And I am glad that false teacher left town. And, of course, I am very glad that young man obeyed the gospel. (1Cor 3:6-9, 12:22-23)
From the youngest to the oldest, from the biggest to the smallest, from the weakest to the strongest, you are needed by God; you are needed by the disciples of the Lord who meet here. We are what we are because you are here, and without you, we are diminished and our world is a smaller place. As you have shared in the work and responsibility, share now in the rewards, and give God the glory for the growth. My wish for us in the coming year is to grow the way the Lord did in Luke 2:52: “And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.” (Reminiscences)

Excused from Service

So, you think you are unfit to serve God? David’s armor didn’t fit. John Mark was rejected by Paul. Timothy had a tender stomach. Hosea’s wife was a prostitute. Amos’ only training was in agriculture. David had an affair. Solomon was rich. Jesus was poor. Abraham was too old. David was too young. Peter was afraid of dying. Lazarus was dead. John was self-righteous. Naomi was a widow. Paul was a murderer. So was Moses. Gideon was afraid. Jonah ran from God. Miriam was a gossip. Thomas doubted. Jeremiah was depressed. Elijah was burned out and became a hermit. John the Baptist didn’t understand proper manners in court. Martha was a worrier. Samson had problems with his wife. Noah got drunk. Did I mention that Moses had a short fuse? So did Peter.
So, they all went home thinking themselves excused from service to God because of their weaknesses, right? Wrong! They all realized that their problems and past sins did not make them unfit for the Lord’s use. They repented of their sins, worked to overcome their hindrances, and served the Lord to the limit of their abilities. And so can you and I. (prb)

The War is Over

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed” (John 6:36). A Japanese soldier by the name of Shoichi Yokoi lived in a cave on the island of Guam to which he fled in 1944 when the tides of war began to change. Fearing for his life, he stayed hidden for twenty-eight years in the jungle cave, coming out only at night. During this self-imposed exile he lived on frogs, rats, snails, shrimp, nuts and mangoes. Even when he figured out the war was over, he was afraid to come out for fear he would be executed. Two hunters found him one day and escorted him to freedom. He was living all this time under the indictment of sins that had all been dealt with–but he simply had not appropriated the atonement that was available. (From Illustrations Unlimited, by James S. Hewett, p. 36) If only people today would appropriate the atonement provided in Christ! They could be freed from their sins, have salvation, and the hope of eternal life.

Blind in One Eye

“Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses” (Luke 12:15). There’s an old legend about two very covetous men who were granted a wish upon the condition that whoever made the first wish, the second would receive a double portion of what the first requested. The first greedy man would not make his wish because he wanted the double portion for himself. The second covetous man felt the same; thus, he was also unwilling to make the first wish. After a long while, the first, who was strongest of the two, grabbed the second by the throat and said he would choke him to death if he didn’t make his wish. As the second man was about to die, he said, “I wish to be made blind in one eye.” Immediately, he lost the sight of one eye, and his companion went blind in both eyes! The moral of this old story is, “Beware of covetousness.”

Cries for Help

The creative writing teacher asked the class to write about an unusual event that happened during the past week. Little Johnny got up and read his essay. It began, “Daddy fell into the well last week…”
“Oh, my!” the teacher exclaimed. “Is he all right?”
“He must be,” said the boy. “He stopped yelling for help yesterday.”
We are surrounded in the church, in the workplace, in our community with people in need crying out for help. Sometimes the cries stop and we assume they’re now all right. The truth may well be that they have grown weary of seeing their pleas unanswered. “Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27). Do you hear the cries for help?