Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
September 19, 1963

Seek Ye First The Kingdom

Charles F. House

Jesus said in Matt. 8:33: " ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness ...."

At the close of the morning service, after the preacher has finished his sermon, after the invitation hymn has been sung, what are your innermost thoughts when someone comes forward to be baptized into the Lord's body for the remission of his past sins? "The ball game starts at such and such a time and I want to get there on time." "I had planned to see my favorite television program that comes on immediately after services, and I must hurry home just as fast as I can so as not to miss it." If you are a woman, you may be thinking, "I planned a fine meal for my family and it is still cooking in the stove at home. I must hurry and attend to it!"

It is only natural that those whose lives are close to the one obeying the call of the Gospel and those who may have been diligently teaching him, will undoubtedly be thanking God and asking His help toward the new soul remaining faithful, and asking that others will follow in obedience to the Divine command. Shouldn't this be the attitude of each one present? Within Mexico in my work among the child-like people there, I find this to be true. Frequently, my car is the only one available, so I make several trips to the river in order that everyone can be present. Nearby bushes provide the equivalent of dressing rooms.

On our trip together into the state of Michoacan, Mexico, below the Tropic of Cancer, Fidel Cisneros, gospel preacher, and I held gospel meetings in the general area where his family lives. When we returned, his parents and two cousins returned with us and visited in the home of brother Fidel attending the services and being taught privately. As a result of much study, Fidel's mother and one of the cousins desired baptism after one of the classes that I had been teaching twice daily. We made the necessary trips across town to the river and two more souls were added to the Lord's body. A new church will be established when they return to their home within the interior. Among her most cherished possessions, the mother was carrying a hymn book in her apron. It was especially important to note that even though she was unable to read, she was going to (somehow....someway) learn to sing hymns of praise to her Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!

Among the churches in Mexico, it is the custom that when any member is to take a trip, be it 40 miles or 400, the church has a song service with prayer for their safe journey. One can not realize how close it brings one to another, and how much weight it brings to bear upon one's individual need of others, until he has experienced it. How many of us reading these words, gather our families together for prayer before going on an extended vacation? Better yet, how many of us have learned to depend upon one another in the church to the extent that, when vacation time draws near, we ask the elders to assemble the church together for the express purpose of offering prayer to the Most High? Had you and I ever considered that perhaps this would go a long way to strengthen those who fail to plan where they are to worship when they are gone, or to encourage those to give into the Lord's treasury beforehand, rather than spending the Lord's money on a trip? How can we as members of the Lord's body conscientiously ask the prayers of the rest of the body (the church) then deliberately forget our duties as members of that body while we are gone?

It is entirely possible that our worship at times becomes so formal, like Catholicism and denominationalism, that we are actually afraid of being thought "corny" if we let human emotions enter. With our lips we proudly say we are a family, yea the family of God, with Christ our elder brother; but our actions deny our words. Have we forgotten how to cry when loved ones are leaving us? I believe we have. Christ, our example, displayed all the human emotions, because the Scriptures teach that "Jesus wept." Why should we as members of His body be embarrassed to do what Christ did? Let's all learn to love one another have respect and concern for one another. Let's learn how to pray for one another.

Gentle soul, let's seek first His kingdom and all of His righteousness, then grow on to perfection.

— P. O. Box 841, San Luis, Arizona, 85349