Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 23, 1962

"Doing Big Things In A Big Way"

Hoyt H. Houchen

Congregations in the New Testament did their work without the big spectaculars such as are being advocated by some. Before many of these modem promoters were born, churches were engaging in gospel meetings in tents, under brush arbors and gospel preachers were travelling on horse back, on foot, wading streams, enduring many kinds of hardships to reach their appointments and often receiving little remuneration, sometimes none, but they faithfully preached and they defended the truth in debates with all champions of error. As a result of these efforts, churches grew, thousands obeyed the gospel. Loyal brethren today are thankful for those faithful Christians who fought for every inch of ground that we now occupy.

The Lord's work has not always been done in a big way. Very often God has produced great events by small means, but in their quest for the big things, men have overlooked the things that are small "For who hath despised the day of small things?" (Zech. 4:10)

When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, he did not do so with a mighty marching army of trained soldiers. Moses had nothing in his hand but a rod. There was nothing spectacular about this, but it was the means that God had selected." (Ex. 4:2; 14:16)

We are mindful that when Gideon was preparing to fight the Midianites, he had an army of 32,000 men but the Lord said that there were too many men. Those that were afraid were asked to depart and there remained 22,000. The army was still too big so finally the number was diminished to 300. God did not use big action and big numbers, but with 300 faithful soldiers, God's method was used and the Midianites were defeated. (Judges 7)

David used only a sling and a stone to slay Goliath the giant. Saul had first put his own armor upon the shepherd boy but it could not be used. It was not in a big way that David was victorious, but David depended upon Jehovah and he used what he had. (1 Sam. 17) But we would be reminded that many years after this, while David ruled as king, he wanted to do big things in a big way. He ordered his captain, Joab, to number the people from Dan to Beersheba. Joab objected to the order and reasoned with David, "Jehovah make his people a hundred times as many as they are: but, my Lord the king, are they not all my Lord's servants? why doth my Lord require this thing? why will he be a cause of guilt unto Israel?" But David insisted on numbering the people and as a result. "God was displeased with this thing' therefore, he smote Israel." (1 Chron. 21:1-7) When David used small means but trusted in the Lord, the Lord was with him and he was blessed, but when David decided to do big things in a big way, God was displeased and David was punished. When men depend upon strength of numbers and big promotions, they cease to depend upon God.

When the gospel was spread in the first century of the church, its progress was made by faithful congregations of Christians preaching it to all parts of the world but it was without the Missionary Society or any other super arrangement. The needy were cared for by members of the early church, but no benevolent societies were formed.

With present day accent on big numbers and big brotherhood programs, census reports are being taken like David's act of old, the Lord's people are being numbered. All of "our" institutions of learning and benevolence are tabulated and like Israel of the Old Testament, the clamor is for a king "like the other nations." Emphasis is being" placed upon the super arrangements, human institutions, and youth encampments.

Eye-catching and delightful sounding slogans have always been effective in swaying people to follow. Slogans of appeal have ever been used with great success by manufacturers, producers, soap-box orators, rabble rousers, political candidates, and dictators of world renown. Modern hit tunes are "rocking" and "rolling" our nation of young and old. When emotions are aroused, people will follow.

"Big things in a big way" is the slogan that is being displayed before the brotherhood. Like the pied piper of fable fame, the pied piper promoters of brotherhood elderships and other big scale plans are playing the fanciful tune of "big things in a big way." They are being followed by a large segment of zealous, ambitious, but uninformed and gullible brethren who are shouting with glee to the tune of the flutes, disregarding the warnings of honest and thoughtful brethren who see eminent dangers ahead. But undaunted by the fear of boycott and the labels of "anti," "cranks," and "hobbyist," scores of faithful brethren will continue to contend for doing the Lord's work in the Lord's way.

— 2958 Grape, Abilene, Texas