Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
March 12, 1964
NUMBER 44, PAGE 5b,12b


Luther Blackmon

If a child is to mature into a well balanced adult emotionally, it is necessary that he have a sense of being wanted, of "belonging." At first this is limited to his family circle. A child with a feeling of being unwanted by his parents is almost certain to grow into an emotionally unstable adult. Beyond the family circle comes the association with the neighborhood children, then school. Children can be very cruel. If a child happens to have some physical defect, he can easily be made to feel that he does not "belong." This will also leave emotional scars. As we grow into adulthood, we carry with us this desire and need to "belong," to be part of the community life and activity. Man is a gregarious creature. He needs the association of his fellows, but he needs more than just to be with them. He needs to feel that they need him; that they accept him as one of them; that he is an important part of the community activity. This is what it means to "belong."

Many people who understand this very well as it applies to social life, never apply it in their church life. They speak of "belonging" to the church, but they never "belong" in the sense in which we use the word here. They are always guests. I have been in some homes where I wanted to use the razor-strap on an ornery "young-un," but you just don't do that when you are a guest. You don't "belong" in cases like that. All you can do is think to yourself, "I am glad I don't have to put up with that all the time." This is how some of the members of the church feel about the activities of the church. I know, because I was one. When I had paid my weekly visit to the church building (most weeks), I was glad to be done with it for another week. The people I saw there were no doubt nice people, I thought, but the idea of really becoming a part of that group and participating in the things they did held no appeal for me. I thought of them and of the work they were doing in the church as something apart. I was only a guest once a week for an hour. I looked on what they were doing as "their business." I didn't "belong" and didn't want to "belong." If I had remained in that state, I would have been lost. The Bible says that every joint must supply its part in the function of the body. (Eph, 4:16) One cannot he saved and refuse to do anything else that does not please him. Not only will one be lost if he refuses to do the work God has assigned, but he will not be happy in doing what little he does. Show me the man who takes a part in the activities of his community and I will show you a man who likes to live in that community. The same is true with church work. Perhaps it is partly the fault of the leadership in not helping these people to find something they can do. In some cases this is undoubtedly true. But not in all. It is hard to help a fellow who does not want to be helped. If he doesn't "belong," he can't be made to, but as they say in the army, "he can be made to wish he had," one day.

— La Porte, Texas