Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 21, 1960
NUMBER 11, PAGE 5a,10b

From A Preacher's Note-Book

Blessings Of Adversity

"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him." (James 1: 12.) "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby." (Heb. 12: 11.) "And what shall I more say? for the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and of Barak, and of Samson, and of Jepthah; of David also, and Samuel, and of the prophets: Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of the weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the alien." (Heb. 11:32-34.)

These and many other passages might be given from the word of the Lord demonstrating the blessings that often inhere in adversity... This is not only true in our relationship to God through our obedient faith, but it is likewise demonstrated in the affairs of life in other realms than the spiritual. It is, therefore, thus shown to be a universal principle rooted in the very nature of man and things as God made him and them. This principle has been observed by the sages among the heathen religions. To Krishna, a god of the Hindus is attributed the maxim: "Not tame and gentle bliss, but disaster, heroically encountered, is man's true and happy ending."

Some of the greatest persons of history have become such despite, perhaps even because of, great adversity and handicaps. Nathanael Bowditch was denied an education but became one of the world's greatest authorities on navigation. Herbert Hoover was the orphaned son of an Iowa blacksmith but has become one of the world's most beloved and famous men — former President of the United States, great statesman, and world known humanitarian. Robert Louis Stevenson was a semi-invalid most of his life but became one of the world's great men in the field of literature. Helen Keller born blind, deaf, and dumb is one of the world's most loved women. Lord Byron, one of England's greatest poets, was a clubfoot. Julius Caesar, emperor of Rome and one of her most illustrious soldiers and statesmen, was an epileptic. Beethoven, one of the world's best known musicians, was stone deaf when he composed some of his most famous symphonies. John Milton was blind when he wrote some of his greatest works. Napoleon, conqueror of almost all the world, was a half pint. Mozart, idolized musician, was a consumptive. Franklin D. Roosevelt, President of the United States during some of her most critical years and one of the superlatively great men of this day (whether we agree with all his politics or not), was stricken with polio in early manhood and spent most of his life in a wheel chair. Sarah Bernhardt, an ugly illegitimate who was kicked around as a child, became one of the world's most famous beauties and the theater's immortals. Jesus of Nazareth was born in semi-poverty, brought up in despised Nazareth of Galilee under the taint of suspected illegitimate birth, and crucified between thieves, yet he stands in history, apart from his Deity, as the world's greatest man. Saul of Tarsus hampered by "a thorn in the flesh" and despised by his own nation as a traitor to its cause, next only to Christ himself, became one of the world's most eminent spiritual leaders.

Need we say more? He who would excuse himself on the ground of his handicaps, or take refuge in bitterness because of them, must face, not only the pronouncements of Revelation, but the universal testimony of history based on practical demonstrations in the lives of men. Adversity can and should become, not a weight around our necks to drag us down, but a steppingstone to accomplishment. Look for the blessings in your adversity! (J. W. A.) (We are indebted for some of the material in this article to a book called, "Don't Grow Old — Grow Up." published by Dutton and Co. — J. W. A.)

"Busy As A Bee"

There are wonderful lessons in God's natural world for us. The Holy Spirit recognizes this fact, hence such statements as "Go to the ant thou sluggard." One of our favorite descriptive phrases of an active person is: "He's as busy as a bee." Possibly very few of us realize how busy that is. We ran across a little item in the March issue of "Cheer" that we thought interesting, hence we pass it on to you:

"When you eat a spoonful of honey you probably have very little idea as to the amount of work and travel necessary to produce it. To make a pound of clover honey, bees must take the nectar from sixty-two thousand clover blossoms, and [to] do this requires two million, seven hundred and fifty thousand visits to the blossoms by the bees. In other words, in order to collect enough nectar to make one pound of honey, a bee must go from hive to flower and back again two million, seven hundred and fifty thousand times. Then when you think how far these bees sometimes have to fly in search of these clover fields — you get some idea how hard they work."

"As busy as a bee" indeed! What wonder God has wrought in the natural world to provide for the sustenance of man! And what a wonderful lesson to a congregation upon working in the Lord's vineyard. Paul says, "We are laborers together with God." (1 Cor. 3:9.)

"Easter At Our House"

This is the title of an article by Pat Boone in Parade, The Sunday Newspaper Magazine, April 17, 1960. In the body of the article, Brother Boone makes the following statements:

"The children know Easter means they are commemorating the rebirth of Jesus. Of course, we tell them the story in simple terms, letting them know that this is a day when church has an extra-special meaning, and that it's also happy day for the family."

"I've tried to emphasize for my children the spiritual connotation of Easter as something a family should feel together — an experience that draws us together." It brings us close together and closer to God."

Each week, there comes to our desk probably a hundred church bulletins. Most of these bulletins are from churches who have gone along with and endorsed the publicity and use of Pat Boone that has gone on in recent years among the churches. They have endorsed and advertised his book. They have attended and endorsed the youth rallies in which he has been the featured speaker and singer. They have nodded their heads in agreement as certain papers being published and circulated among the churches and brethren have extravagantly described Brother Boone as the greatest force for the spread of the gospel now living. The use that has been made of Brother Boone and the national publicity given him by the churches because of his membership in the church commits the churches of Christ in the minds of the people of the nation to whatever practices or pronouncements may be his religiously speaking. Churches of Christ are, therefore, committed to his pronouncements and practices regarding "Easter." Like it or not, they are committed.

In a great percentage of the bulletins of these same churches last week, there were articles by the preachers condemning Easter and its observance by the religious world as "pagan, Judaistic and Roman Catholic." This, of course, is correct, but what good does such teaching do when they have given their endorsements to Pat Boone as a representative of the churches of Christ, and he thus publicly and on a nationwide basis in the public press commits them to the religious observance of "Easter?" (J.W.A.)