Perils Of The Big City
The "perils" of the big city are numerous. Worldliness abounds on every hand, and the feeling that one is at liberty to "do as he pleases" seems to permeate the air. It is a place where one can escape the scrutinizing eyes of a smaller town. It is a good place to hide, that is, from everyone but oneself and God. Many members of the church move to the big city every year, and arriving unprepared for the avalanche of temptations awaiting them, they are soon swept away from Christ. This leads me to discuss one of the nagging problems confronting big city congregations.
The problem is simply this; there are too many Christians who move into the big city and neglect to identify themselves with a local congregation. They fail to settle down and become a working part of a local group. They remain, it would seem, "members at large (?)." They drop in for worship and then you don't see them for awhile and then finally you don't see them at all. By this time they are drunk on their new found liberty, totally lost in sin, and don't want to be bothered by concerned brethren. I have known this to happen time and again.
What is the solution? There is no solution for some members. There are some whose hearts have been impure all along and they have just been waiting for the liberty of the big city to express their real feelings. There is not much hope for this kind. There are many others who are basically fine Christians, but neglect to immediately put themselves in the right environment, and are therefore weakened and soon swept away. Just as some trees will not grow removed from their native climate, so it is with Christians. Children of God who do not stay in the environment of the "fellowship of the saints" will not grow, and in time they will die spiritually. The last group of Christians mentioned are the ones we have the best opportunity to rescue from the "perils" of the big city. But what can be done?
Our brethren in the smaller towns can help. They can help by instilling within those who plan a move to the big city the importance of immediately seeking out other Christians and going to work with a loyal congregation of God's people. Then, instead of urging them to run back home every weekend, encourage them to become a working, dependable, contributing part of the city congregation. People don't make good servants when their hearts are some other place. Divided interests, more than likely, will weaken instead of strengthen.
Another thing that will help is to teach people out of the "big church" or "little church" complex. In most cities of any size there are small congregations and large congregations. I have seen some brethren who felt that they just couldn't get anything out of serving the Lord unless they belonged to a large church. My observation is that such people are a "pretty light case" concerning spiritual matters. On the other hand there are some who feel that they just can't be happy in the work of the Lord unless they are associated with a small family type church where everyone has about the same "say" in things and where everything is operated on a most informal basis. I believe there is something wrong with Christians who can't be happy serving the Lord unless they have everything just like they like it. There is nothing wrong with a smaller congregation unless it is small because the members are not working to make it larger, but when church members must have a church a certain size before they can be happy and take an interest in the work, they are spiritually sick. So, when such people move to the big city and they happen to locate in a section where the congregation is not their "size," they lose interest and fall by the wayside.
Our big city brethren who are already established can do a lot to help new-corners. I am not saying that newcomers ought to be pampered, but we ought to welcome them among us, encourage them to be faithful, and do all we can to make them feel that they can be a part of the work. They need to be invited into our homes and made to know that we care for their souls. They need to understand that Christians in the large cities are just like Christians elsewhere, that is to say, they are just down-to-earth people struggling to make a living and striving to withstand the temptations offered by this wicked generation. It is easy for members who have lived in the big city for a number of years to form a club, sort of an exclusive club, and it is not uncommon for newcomers to have quite a time trying to get in. This is, wherever it may exist, a disgrace! God will judge us for such a rotten attitude. Let those who live in the big cities do what we can to rescue the souls that come our way from hell. My guess is that over fifty percent of those who move to "big town" are lost to Satan. What a tragedy!
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