Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 24, 1963
NUMBER 37, PAGE 2,11b

Things New And Old

James W. Adams

Losing Touch

The sense of touch is a wonderful blessing. In some individuals it is developed to such a degree as to make them artists in certain fields of human endeavor. The telegrapher, the typist, the sculptor, the musician, the blind man trained to read Braille by the tips of his fingers are all dependent upon highly sensitive touch for proficiency. Let the tips of the fingers of these persons harden and they are robbed of the power of communication in their field. Too many Christians, especially teachers of the word of God, have lost touch with the hearts of men. Their powers of intellect may be great, their knowledge and experience extensive and their speech polished and eloquent, but they have lost touch with the hearts of men. They have become insensitive to the weaknesses, the needs, the problems, and the feelings of their fellows. Sympathy, tenderness, and compassion have been sacrificed to knowledge, logic, and eloquence. The hearts of men must be reached if they are to be converted to Christ. May Christians never allow pride, selfishness, or conceit to rob them of that sense of touch which can play such beautiful music upon the cords of human hearts.

Odds And Ends

Impatience growing out of the complexity of our way of life is one of the curses of the age. Single-mindedness is a universally recognized quality of the successful person. But the constant interruptions of our complex way of life frustrate our efforts to attain this virtue. Consequently we become irritable and inefficient. The successful individual maintains his poise and equilibrium by learning how to utilize the odds and ends of interrupted, moments of time. Our aged great-grandmother used to make beautiful quilts of remnants of material that alone were useless. Too, we once read of a man who become conversant with several languages including Greek and Latin by carrying a small grammar on his person and studying it at odd moments of time — on the bus, in the doctor's office, waiting in the car, etc. A friend once showed me a wine cabinet made in the time of Louis XIV worth thousands of dollars which had been made beautiful and almost priceless because some patient cabinet maker had used several thousand different, small scraps of wood to inlay the piece of furniture. The scraps alone were valueless. Inlaid in the wine cabinet they became almost priceless. Every gem of human literature through the ages has resulted from some patient artist's picking up the odds and ends of the alphabet and putting them together. Let us not waste our odds and ends of time. Paul said, "See then that ye walk circumspectly; not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil." (Eph. 5:14,15)

"Deliver Us From Evil"

The caption of this article is a part of the model prayer — the prayer Jesus taught his disciples to pray.

There are many kinds of evil. Certainly all should desire to be "delivered" from the clutches of any variety of the species. Unfortunately there are some varieties of evil that are more difficult to handle than others. Paradoxically, these varieties are not always what men might regard as the "great sins" of life. Yet, many times they are quite as ruinous in their ultimate effects.

We regard pettiness as belonging to this category. Webster defines this term to mean: "State of being small in nature; trifling; mean or ungenerous; as petty jealousy." Great harm has been done on many occasions because of smallness of spirit, niggardly disposition on the part of individuals in the church.

Pettiness, in a sense, defies correction. If one pays attention to it and seeks its correction, he runs the risk of giving it a dignity it does not deserve, hence runs the risk of encouraging it. If he seeks to call it to the attention of him who possesses it, he will find that those who are possessed of it in the greatest degree are the least willing to admit even to themselves that such could be true of them. If he condemns it forthrightly, he will find that evidence to sustain his accusation is difficult to present. Pettiness is one of those characteristics that is easy to detect, yet difficult to expose. One has no difficulty in recognizing the spirit, but concrete identification is not so simple. Yet, many a congregation has been divided because of such an attitude in just one individual. Correcting this flaw in human character is extremely difficult because it lies in the very nature of the individual. Quite often it results from an inferiority complex. In other cases, it is rooted in unfortunate experiences in the individual's rearing. In yet other cases, selfishness is basic to the difficulty. The personal desires of a selfish individual are always paramount in his thinking. Whatever does not contribute to their attainment is always reprehensible. When he does not accomplish his objectives, he becomes irritable and unpleasant about the most trifling matters.

None of us is above being petty about some things. It should therefore be the prayer of us all, "Lord, deliver us from pettiness."

Consideration For Others

"Brotherly kindness" is one of the "seven Christian virtues" (2 Peter 1:'7) The mark of a tile gentleman is courtesy. Courtesy is' the natural offspring of genuine consideration for others The Christian is God's gentleman The true Christian is, therefore, at all times considerate of others. 'Nothing wounds a fellow human so much as evidence in us of a lack of consideration for him. Hardly anything is more potent influence-wise as evidence in us of sincere consideration for our fellows. Almost any person can manifest consideration for others in times of great trouble or distress. This is not the measure of the Christian gentleman. It lies rather in the manifestation of consideration for others in the ordinary affairs and relationships of life. In such cases, it proves itself to be an integral part of the nature of the individual rather than an impulsive, passionate response to some unusual circumstance which is in reality an exception to the individual's ordinary response to others. So many souls could be saved, so many erring servants of the Lord restored, and so much division avoided if there were in each of us the proper degree of consideration for others.

The following excerpt from the writings of a French priest of the Roman Catholic fraternity aptly suggests how true consideration for others is often demonstrated:

"To walk quietly near a sick room or near someone who is resting; to turn a kindly face to those who disturb us, making us lose our precious time; to answer pleasantly those who ask us ridiculous and pointless questions; to silence our fears, in order not to upset those around us; to avoid a joke however to the point, because it might not be well received; to impose neither labor nor worry nor annoyance on anyone unless absolute necessity makes it unavoidable; these are all marks of a very simple virtue but they give evidence of real charity." (Raoul Plus - Meditations For Religious.)

Often, the little things of life are better proof of character than the great things. The prophet no doubt had this in mind when he raised the question, "Who hath despised the day of small things?" (Zech. 4:10)

Curious Animal

Someone has said, "Of all the animals, man is the most curious." One never ceases to marvel at the enigmas of human behavior. Not the least of these is a trait of human character mentioned by the sage of Old Testament history. He said, "A lying tongue hateth those that are afflicted thereby." (Proverbs 26:28) One would think that the afflicted would hate the afflicter in this regard. Yet, we are told that the reverse is the case, and so it is. Any observer of human conduct has seen this enigma many times. When one person lies on another, he despises the man against whom he has lied. We presume that the offended comes, in the mind of the offender, to personify his own guilt, hence his hate. The offended must be destroyed to remove the specter of the guilt of the offender. The warning inherent in this perverse trait of human character is to refrain from becoming a party to a falsehood against a fellow human. "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deed." (Col. 3:9)

— J.WA.