“Your attitude to the Lord’s Work Abroad?”
Charles Adams, South India
Readers will have heard with great regret of the sudden‘home-call’ of our brother Charles Adams of South India. His ministry in this country has been greatly appreciated and he will be sorely missed by his fellow-workers in India. The following is the substance of an address he gave at the Taunton Conference. It made such a deep impression and has such wide implications that we gladly agreed to the request of various brethren that it should be printed in these pages, little thinking that when it appeared in print, our brother would be in the presence of his Lord. As you read his message remember the sorrowing family.
Have you a proper sense of values in regard to it? Are you interested by what you hear, or read, about it, or are you interested in it?
Visitors to a large Spinning Mills in South India were intensely interested by all they saw during their two-hour tour of it, but they were not at all interested in it. They did not belong to the Company that owned it ; they had no capital invested in it: it mattered nothing to them whether profits were made or losses, whether there was industrial unrest or frictionless working; it was someone else’s concern, not their’s!
Is that how you view Missionary work abroad? Do you look upon it as a very amiable hobby of those interested enough to go out and do it? A hobby worthy of encouragement, but, after all, one that does not greatly concern you? Or do you realize that it is the greatest work God is doing in the world to-day? Far greater than the ordering of kingdoms or of the world’s affairs!
He is visiting the nations, to “take out of them a people for His name.” (Acts 15. 14) He is building His ‘House’, of ‘living stones’ brought “out of every kindred, and tongue and people and nation.’
Is there not a voice for us concerning this in the book of the Prophet Haggai? “Thus speaketh the Lord of Hosts, saying, This people say, The time is not come, the time that the Lord’s house should be built.” or, more honestly—“I haven’t the time for it, I have more important things to do. I have my business to look after, which needs a great deal of care; I have my family to feed, clothe and make future provision for. It is true that some must go to the Mission field but also true that some must stay by the stuff!” Now, that is a reference to 1 Sam. 30. 9-24, but before, like Saul, you hide yourself “among the stuff” (1 Samuel 10-22) please notice that twice as many went as those that (not stayed, but) “were left behind!” Left behind, because they were so faint that they could not go! When you have honestly endeavoured (Acts 16. 10) to go, but cannot, then it will be time to regretfully‘tarry by the stuff.’
Those people did not believe in the reality and importance of God’s work, and so did not think it necessary to consider obeying His command.
Their houses, their businesses, their families, their own affairs, exceeded, in their estimation, the House of Jehovah; so the prophet challenges them:— “Is it time for you, O ye, to dwell in your cieled houses and this House lie waste? Now therefore, thus saith the Lord of Hosts:— “Consider your ways!” Think what it is you are doing! “Ye have sown much and bring in little; ye eat, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not filled with drink; ye clothe you, but there is none warm; and he that earneth wages earneth wages to put it into a bag with holes, Thus saith Jehovah of Hosts, Consider your ways .....Ye looked for much . . .” Is that true of you? What are you looking for? What are you living for? Does James 4. 13 supply the answer? Do you aim at making enough money to give your children a good education and ensure a retiring competency? In your sense of values is your house greater than ‘His’? “Ye looked for much, and, lo, it came to little, and when ye brought it home, I did blow upon it. Why? saith Jehovah of Hosts, because of mine House that is waste, and ye run every man unto his own house!”
The thing to reflect on, is not only the need of the individual for salvation (great though that is) but God’s need of having the ‘people for His name’ gathered to Himself, as speedily as possible. “Gather my saints together unto me.”
Somewhere among the 2,000 million people of the world is that ‘people for His name’—those ‘other sheep’ that He ‘must bring’, and yet, about one half of them have not heard the message! It would take more than 109 years to give a Bible to each of the 400 millions of India, distributing them at the rate of 10,000 a day; yet 200 millions of them are still without the evangel! “Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by?”
Let us think of the Lord’s most extraordinary command in Matthew 9. 37-38, “Then said He unto His disciples, the harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that He will send forth labourers into His harvest.”
With what a picture does the Lord challenge our imagination? A farmer having sown his field and brought it to harvest, sits at his ease in his house, and strangers from the roadside have to come in and beg him to send labourers to reap not their, but his harvest! Is God like that? Does He not care? Yes! He cares, but He waits for that prayer! When He hears it He will say:— “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?” What, then is to be your answer? “Send those whose hobby it is”, “Send this, or that brother” or “Here am I, send me!”
Surely the least we can do, is to give God the ‘first refusal’ of our lives. They are His, not our own.
“For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that He died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto Him which died for them, and rose again.” 2, Corinthians 5. 14-15.