Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 21, 1960
NUMBER 11, PAGE 4-5b

Reflection In My 94Th Year

W. W. Otey, Winfield, Kansas

(Recently Brother Otey sent me the following article asking that I rewrite it for him. He lies at this moment in Newton Memorial Hospital, Winfield, Kansas, where he has been for a year and a half, waiting in faith, hope, and love for his summons to depart and be with Christ. In order to type this article, he had to be lifted by a mechanical device from his bed and placed in a chair. A pencil was placed between his thumb and first two fingers and made fast with adhesive tape. He then struck the keys with the pencil using the thumb of his left hand for the shift key for the capital letters. In rewriting Brother Otey's article I have preserved his exact words making only such corrections and additions as were absolutely necessary to complete his sentences. Brother Otey's illness has been long and costly. Brethren have helped him and his family to bear the tremendous expense. On my own initiative I should like to urge any who desire to have further fellowship with Brother Otey in his final illness and thus honor a great and good man and a noble life of service in the kingdom of God to enclose a love offering in an envelope and mail it to him at the hospital. James W. Adams.)

My greatest regret is that I have done so little for the cause of Christ in my more than seventy years work in the church of the Lord. One thing only am I satisfied with. If I have ever preached a sermon or written a paragraph advocating doing the work of the Lord through any other institution than the church of the Lord, whether benevolent or evangelistic, I have forgotten it. Had I written even a paragraph advocating that the church work through a human institution, our brethren would have long since found and quoted it.

The church is God's greatest work. If it is not sufficient to do all the work that God wants it to do, then He failed in His greatest work.

Some years ago I decided that I was not as "big a preacher" as I once thought I was — a hard lesson to learn. It is possible that others may need to learn it. The learning of it would help to free many from envy and jealousy. Perhaps humility is one of the Christ-like graces greatly lacking in us all.

Three things lead away from the simple gospel and the simple church of the Lord and mature into apostasy:

(1) The love of marching with the crowd. This is the road of disregard for the commandments of God and apostasy.

(At this point Brother Otey's mind wandered to other things and he did not finish his thought, hence we are deprived of the two othet things he had in mind. J. W. A.)

Fifty years ago I first knew the Christian Church in this city. They had their great meetings. The walls were plastered with mottos of faith, repentance and baptism. After I moved back here some years ago I obtained an interview with the then pastor of the Christian Church. He plainly said the only condition of membership (Brother Otey may mean salvation. JWA) was "the acceptance of Christ as personal Savior" — not even sprinkling or pouring was required. This is the road that some of our most liberal brethren are now travelling at high speed. That they will come to the same sad end as that of the Christian Church is as certain as "whatsoever ye sow, that shall ye also reap."

I think I have never been more intensely interested in the church than I am today, but there is so little, if anything, I can do to aid it to increase in numbers and purity. Despite this fact, my eyes are constantly turned to this end. I have no earthly possessions or prospects, I have even given away every book I have except Mother's (His beloved wife deceased a few years past. JWA) large print Bible that she left to one of our daughters that I have borrowed till my call comes.

I want to see "the Holy city, the New Jerusalem" that John describes so vividly: 12 furlongs square and high; of pure gold and garnished with all manner of precious stones; twelve foundations, each one a precious stone and the names of the twelve apostles written in them; with twelve gates, each gate a pearl in which are written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel, an angel standing at each gate. I want to hear the 144,000 sing the new song. I want to see the river of the water of life flowing out of the throne of God and down the street of pure gold with the tree of life on either side bearing twelve manner of fruit, each in its season, and the leaves for the healing of the nations.

Although I feel unworthy, I want to see Jesus in his glorified state on his throne. Above all, perhaps, I want to be relieved from the sad condition of the church of the Lord. I saw the unspeakable distress of the last apostasy. But during those sad years I could aid a little to save a remnant by influencing some to hold fast to the New Testament pattern. Now all the aid I can give is to speak a word of encouragement to the faithful who visit me from a number of states.

So long as we feel sure we are doing all we can in the Spirit of Christ, we have the strongest assurance that God can give that we are approved in His sight. As long as we have His approval, though we may have sadness and grief, we should never become discouraged. That word should be eliminated from the vocabulary of the servant of Christ .

Young men, you live in one of the periods of the history of the church that presents the greatest challenge to the faith and courage of servants of Christ. Ask yourself one question and sincerely seek the answer: WHAT DOES GOOD APPROVE? FIND the answer and then stand fast. Numbers will be against you. You will be unpopular and suffer hardships and sacrifices, but you will not likely suffer as did Paul. If you stand fast in the Lord and are fortunate enough to live beyond the time of trial, you will find your greatest joy in the fact that you have never compromised the truth to go with the crowd. It will give you more joy than millions in money.

Now, more than a year and three months, I have been on my back unable to turn over, and so must continue until He calls this body of suffering. For this time I earnestly pray many times every day. I have dead leg muscles, angina pectoris, hardening of the arteries, and some additional ailments of this mortal frame. But the time will come when "there will be no more pain" for "God shall wipe away all tears." God's reward will be ten thousand times greater than any service I may have rendered. (Brother Otey recognizes the fact that his thinking is not as coherent as it was before his long months in bed, yet he still has grand thoughts stirring in his devoted heart and has made this effort to give expression to them. I think his effort marvelous for a man of his age and physical condition. His words inspire and encourage me and I have taken great pleasure in helping him to get his thoughts in readable form. I sincerely believe it is true of him that "generations yet unborn will rise to call him blessed." JWA.)