Jump Start # 2548
Acts 13:36 “For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay.”
We are adding on to the church building where I attend. Rooms are being changed and things are being moved. There are growing pains that comes with getting larger. Need more room is a great problem to have, but it is a problem. One of the rooms that is being eliminated is what I’ve called my archive room. It’s packed. It’s filled with my restoration history collection. There are literally hundreds of old journals, books and papers that I have collected through the years. So, all of this had to be moved to another room. It’s been a pain—literally, mentally and emotionally. For a while my office floor was covered with old religious magazines. Hundreds of them filled the floor. There was just a small path for me to walk through.
I looked up one day from studying and just stared at the mess on my floor. All those old religious magazines. Many were written by spiritual giants in their days. So many articles, teaching the truth of God’s word and sharing the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. Looking at that made me think about a few things:
First, I expect none of those writers ever dreamed that those articles would still be floating around seventy-five to a hundred years after they were written. As our verse tells us, we serve our generation. Many of those were written before the depression and before World War II. My, how the world has changed since those days. Laptops, tablets have replaced the old manual typewriter that those first articles were written on. Email, texting and Facebook can send things faster and cheaper than printing and mailing ever could.
It makes one think about what we do. Will something we do still be floating around in a hundred years if the Lord allows this ole’ world to continue on? I wonder if someone in a hundred years from now will stumble across one of these Jump Starts? It’s hard to think and imagine such things. It’s hard to know how people will communicate and share things in the future.
Second, aside from a few collectors, university libraries, and history nuts, like myself, most of those old magazines have been tossed, burned and thrown away. Very few know about these things. Several of the papers have become digitalized and the need for the actual physical paper is no longer necessary. But what is so astounding is that those articles still teach. The folks that wrote those articles have been on the other side for a long time, but their words are still true. That’s the unique aspect of the Gospel and truth. Time doesn’t change it. God’s word doesn’t become outdated. Many of those old articles could be reprinted today and they would help us in our walk with the Lord. Technology changes. Times change. But our need for Jesus never does and the saving message of God never does. The nature and structure of God’s church doesn’t change. Our very core issues, the preciousness of life, our walk with the Lord, our need to put distance between us and the world, holiness, the value of worship, the reliability of God’s word—those core principles remain true today. Storms have come and gone. Wars have come and gone. Presidents have come and gone. Yet, even today, the people of God turn to that Holy Book for comfort, hope, answers and truth. The value of life is determined by our Creator, not by Hollywood, a bank account or a politician.
Third, the battles we fight are today. We cannot fight yesterday’s battles. We are unable to know and fight the battles of tomorrow. We can discuss the merits of the Civil War, but we weren’t there. Our thinking is shaped by our times. Some are always wanting to know what’s the next big issue facing the church. No one really knows. We live in the present. We must serve this generation. We must look at where we are and what we have and do the best we can for the Lord. How can we get people into the Bible? How do we address the concerns of today? How do we strengthen families today? That’s where our preaching needs to be. That’s where our focus must be. This generation. Now. God has put us here in this time for a reason. We must use every tool and every advantage for the kingdom of God.
Fourth, the good that we do must be measured by Heaven and not others. Someday, if the Lord allows, you and I will be a part of history. We will be voices of the past. Future generations will look at us and make judgments. Our concern is not there, but what God thinks about what we do. “Well done,” are the words that the Master told the five talent man. Well done. That’s what we must be about. We must do the work of the Lord well. Using all that we have about us today, we must do what we can. Some seem to remain in the past. The methods that they use are old and outdate and not very effective. Some do not want to embrace the tools we have today. A guy can build a house today using a hand saw. It will take him a long time and he’ll be worn out by the time he gets finished. Or, he can use power equipment that are not only faster, but more accurate and more efficient. The same goes with how a congregation reaches others. Hand saw or power saw? There was a time when there was only one choice. It’s not that way today. Which is being a better servant and steward? Websites. Facebook. Twitter. Videos. Podcasts. Emails. That’s the norm of today. We must find ways to use those tools to the best.
I thought long and hard about whether or not to keep all of these old things. I did purge some. It’s hard for me. I suppose my children will have a big bonfire someday. It will be their choice.