IS THE LORD COMING BACK?
T. PIERCE BROWN
We are reasonably sure that almost everyone who reads this believes that the Lord is coming back. There are so many thoughts we should be thinking, and kinds of preparation we need to be making in view of that wonderful fact. But we want to challenge your thinking with a new kind of thought that crossed our mind a few days ago.
Every few days there comes to my desk an appeal of one congregation or another for money. There seems to be thousands, or maybe millions of souls who could be won for Christ if we just had the money! I am firmly convinced that neither money nor the lack of it is our big problem. If every one who claims to be a Christian would invest about 10 cents worth of shoe leather and perhaps 2 cents worth of conversation (if we can assume that what you say is worth two cents) the church could at least double in less than a year’s time. However, this article is concerned with money and what we might do with it.
We also see notices every week concerning congregations who are willing to borrow from $20,000 to $2,000,000 to build buildings which serve as cathedrals, meeting places (occasionally) or “church plants”–whatever they are. Now, JUST SUPPOSE (if the effort does not blow your mind) that half of us were half as concerned with winning souls as we are with perpetuating an image, ministering to our pride, comfort, etc. Now, suppose the elders of a congregation of such a group (assuming it could be found) should reason like this: “If the Lord should come back with 5 years, neither the building nor the $2,000,000 we owe would make any difference.” Then their minds would pass on to another interesting fact: “In fact, all our debts would be canceled! What if we had borrowed $2,000,000 of the money the Devil would be using, WITH NO INTENTION OF EVER PAYING BACK ANYTHING BUT THE INTEREST! Then if the Lord came back within the next five years, we would have had the use of the $2,000,000 of the money the Devil had been using–winning souls to Christ–and would never have to pay it back!”
Now just imagine that 20,000 congregations got the vision of what could be done IF THEY JUST HAD THE MONEY, as these apparently do that keep sending the letters out. Each one borrows only $200,000 (a trifling amount, considering the fact that in the average congregation far more than that is owed on the cars of the members). There would be FOUR BILLION dollars available immediately for wining souls, and if the Lord came back next year, NONE of it would be paid back! Even if he did not come back for 25 years, do you think he would rather have us borrow $4,000,000 to win souls or to build monuments to our materialistic dreams! (Of course, I realize there is not really this dichotomy. It is not a matter of building buildings OR winning souls. All of us who have directed building programs know that it is all for the purpose of winning souls, don’t we? And that when we just get through with the building, everyone gets excited about bringing new people?)
Since the high powered money raisers are not able to be in every congregation to get CONTRIBUTIONS of one million dollars in ONE contribution, why not consider the next best thing and BORROW one million dollars which you will never have to pay back if the Lord returns soon, and get directly involved in using it for winning souls–since that is your real purpose anyway? You might even get it fixed to never pay anything but interest whether he comes or not!!
Of course, if you are just naturally a small-minded, cheap-thinking person, and your mind just can’t comprehend all these dollar marks and zeros, we could make our mark in the world if each Christian would just invest in one good pair of shoes and a $1 New Testament and set a goal to win JUST ONE person to Christ this year. The first year, we might have 4 million members. The second year, 8 million. The third year, 16 million and the fourth year 32,000,000! By that time, if Christ has not come, we could raise all the money we needed with or without borrowing. Why not try one method or the other? The last is a lot simpler, and can be started by one person, if you want to try.