TH E K I N G ' S B U S I N E S S
word” (Acts 6:4). We reverse the or der, and give ourselves to the ministry of the Word and to prayer. When prayer takes second place in the life of a church, then the church—no matter how active and how popular—is crippled in its influence for the Lord. We need the restoration of the prayer meeting in church life and work. Alas! the prayer meeting is the unwanted meeting in many a center today. If the church advertises a lecture, or a dinner, or a social, or something of a secular nature, the crowds will gather; hut for the prayer meeting, only the faithful few will come. We have an individual responsibility in this respect. We never can have pray ing churches until we have individual members who pray. When we have a restoration of the personal prayer life, then there will be the restoration of the corporate prayer life in the church of God. But the fact of the matter is that most of us are not living in the presence of God as we ought to do. If we feel a sense of frozen stiffness when we come into a public prayer meeting, let us not blame the church first of all, but rather chide ourselves, for this con dition is an intimation of our own mis erable lack in the prayer life. Tell me, you who claim to be a Chris tian, how much time have you spent in the presence of God today praying for your minister, praying for other believ ers, praying for the unsaved? You say you have to work right through the day, and you find it almost impossible to give time to prayer. Dare you omit it? If there is one practice that we min isters have ta guard, it is the personal prayer life. In these days when one’s time is fully planned, it is difficult in deed to feed the inner fire of devotion and to give time to communion with God. I recognize in my own spirit that unless I have a hunger for this intimate fellowship, and shall find that hunger satisfied by God Himself, I shall be come as “sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1). Jesus said: “Take ye away the stone.” Q. There Is the Stone of Jealousy. Solomon was right when he declared that* "jealousy is cruel as the grave” (Cant. 8:6). Well may we stand in fear of jealousy, for it crucified our Lord! “For envy” the Jews “delivered’ him” (Matt. 27:18). Alas! this greedy monster is eating at the heart of things in church life and work today. Jealousy can climb the pulpit stairs and lay hold of the man who seeks to witness there, and destroy his spiritual power. For example, some one can preach the gospel better than I can preach it; he has a more fascinating personality than I have, is gifted with eloquence that I do not possess, seems to live in the lime light, is always being invited to address groups, is popular as a teacher wherever he goes. But I live in the shadows, and
my ministry is unpretentious. If I am not very careful, jealousy will enter my spirit and destroy my vision and create wrong feelings regarding my fellow preacher. What if some one else can preach the gospel better than I can preach it? He cannot preach a better gospel! And if he can preach it better than I, if he has a more winning personality, if God has blessed him with outstanding gifts that have not been bestowed upon me, these very facts give my brother a greater responsibility than that of his weaker brother. I ought to pray for him, that God might keep him humble and get the utmost glory from his ministry. If I surround him with my loving interces sion, then at the judgment seat of Christ I shall share in his reward. My pastoral work leads me to say that nothing can ruin the influence of a choir, or of a congregation, or of an official board more quickly and tragi cally than jealousy can ruin it. It is time that we closed our church doors and had a frank talk among ourselves, about the things that hinder the work of the Holy Spirit in our midst. It is hypocrisy to speak about revival and say we yearn for it unless we are will ing to face honestly what we know to be wrong and expel those evils from our personal and corporate life. Jesus said: “Take ye away the stone.” III. There Is the Stone of Worldli ness. It was my privilege a few years ago to travel through Britain, from one end of the land to the other, speaking in various Churches. My heart was sad dened by what I saw. One day I passed a well-known church, and saw this notice posted: “Great week-end Saturday and Sunday. Saturday evening, grand concert by the famous minstrels in cluding the renowned Andy and Doeg in their tap dancing and vocal specials. Rod Tevol with his famous accordion. Sambo in jokes and songs and duets and plantation cho ruses, etc. The whole show con ferred by Mana Johnson. Price of admission sixpence.” Is that the kind of church which cost my Lord His life in order to bring it into existence? No, the miracle of Pen tecost was this: God, by the Holy Spirit, placed the church in the world. The masterpiece of Satan is the reversal 'o f the divine order; he has placed the world in the church. Because of her worldly compromises, the church has lost her authority. Church members who hanker after dances, whist parties, and theatrical displays need to be re minded that ministers are not amuse ment caterers, but men sent from God to preach the Word of God; and that churches should exist for one purpose [Continued on Page 96]
LIGHT By WILLIAM M. RUNYAN “It was yet dark.” The Magdalene Braved shadows deep, What time she at the Saviour’s tomb Would vigil keep. Her suffering and lonely heart, In sorrow stark, Knew not that Christ had risen indeed— ! IT WAS YET DARK! It is yet dark when Unbelief Fares on its way Toward yon dread tomb where soon must end Life’s fitful day.-' No star to guide! When Christless souls At last embark, They cross the bar In dreadful night— IT IS YET DARK! It is not dark! Oh, radiant dawn! Our Saviour lives, And to the tomb through which He passed . A glory gives. Because He lives, we too shall live Who bear His mark. Oh, children of the Risen Lord— IT IS NOT DARK!
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