She was a nurse. She quit the other day. It was not due to her refusing to be vaccinated or a problem with her pay. It was her patients that made her quit. The story goes there was this guy who was dealing with Covid, and he was having lung problems. He ended up having a lung transplant. The doctors and nurses watched this man very carefully, especially this one nurse. She really cared for her patients. As this man was recovering, he would sneak out of the hospital and go to the liquor store. He would get drunk and come back to the hospital at night, cold, wheezing, and coughing. He was a mess.
This nurse would rush to his aid, get the oxygen, and nurse him, even going over her eight-hour shift. She was tired, she had back problems, her leg muscles were all knotted up. Standing sixteen hours will do that to you. But finally, she nursed this man back to health, he was breathing again, she takes away the oxygen, and then there he went back to the liquor store. This happened over and over, with different patients.
So, at the end of her shift one night she had enough; she finally quit. Why should I care? They don’t care! Let them die she said. The next morning, she goes to work.[i]
Then there is this preacher. He quit too. It wasn’t because of a bad sermon he preached, or even an elders’ meeting that did not go so well. It was the church members who made him quit. The story goes that each Sunday he would do his very best to present the word of God. He would study for hours each week to prepare his sermons, “to rightly divide the word of truth.” He would sometimes spend hours studying the Bible with people, some who wanted to become a Christian, others who were Christians but needed more teaching. At the conclusion of each sermon and Bible study, he heard the same thing, “thank you, preacher,” or “great lesson, preacher.” As the person would go back into the world, being mean, unforgiving, sleeping around, drinking, using profanity, and every other sin one can think of.
Didn’t they listen to anything I shared from God’s word? He would say to himself. Then Sunday came; again. There were the people again, coming in late, weary from their wrongdoings, bad attitudes, and blatant disregard for spiritual things. They had not changed from the week before or even the weeks before of Biblical preaching. They had not repented, changed, or corrected their lives at all. This happened week after week. Like the Apostle Paul, this preacher carried the daily pressure of the church (2 Cor. 11:28). He was tired emotionally, mentally, and even physically. Yet, the preacher mustered his strength once again as he mounted the pulpit.
He got through the sermons on this Sunday, but that night he was at his “wit's end”; the “final straw had been drawn”; he quit. He finally quit. Why should I care? They don’t care! They don’t listen! They don’t repent! Let them die in their sins he said.
The next morning, he goes to work.
“Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Cor. 15:58)
Written by Mark T. Tonkery
i Adapted from a story by Fred B. Craddock (Craddock Stories, P.41)
Have you ever invited someone to a party or other event and your invitation was ignored? Or worse yet someone made an excuse for not being there and you later found out that they did not really want to come to your event, to begin with? How did this make you feel? Now, I think we all know and understand that things come up, and things happen; but it is very hurtful when someone excuses themselves because they simply do not want to participate.
One example of this is found In Matthew 22:1-14, Jesus tells a parable about A king who is hosting a wedding banquet for his son. The king’s servants were sent to all those who were invited to come, but those invited refused to come to the banquet by making all kinds of excuses. Someone has said, “excuses are defined as a "dressed up lie." This seems to be true for the people invited to the banquet because they were more concerned with their possessions and pursuits (farms, business, etc.), while others mistreated the servants and killed them. They simply did not care about the king, his son, his servants, or the invitation.
One commentator stated, “In the East, as elsewhere, it is expected that invited guests will accept a royal invitation as a matter of duty. It is also expected that wedding guests will come with appropriate gifts – expensive gifts. Refusal to attend the wedding conveys the message that the king’s son is not worthy of a gift, that the guest do not approve of the marriage, and that they no longer render allegiance to the king.” (Kistemaker, p. 93). Therefore, the king takes such forceful actions against those who made excuses for not coming to the wedding banquet. The king in Jesus’ parable then sends out the invitation again to everyone along the highways and byways.
Jesus’ point is that the Jews, the first group to be invited rejected God’s invitation by making excuses and refusing to accept Him as the Messiah. The second group is the Gentiles.
This parable is a reminder that God repeatedly calls people to follow Christ, to worship Him, to be dedicated to serving Him, to fellowship, to live godly lives, and to deepening our relationship with Him but if we make excuses for not doing so, the time of grace will end for us.
I am amazed how many times people who say they are willing and ready to go to heaven, say they love Jesus, and may even serve as church leaders, sometimes make excuses for not serving the Lord.
According to one list in Bits & Pieces, November 1989, p. 18. The Top Ten Most Used Excuse are 1. I forgot. 2. No one told me to go ahead. 3. I didn't think it was that important. 4. Wait until the boss comes back and ask him. 5. I didn't know you were in a hurry for it. 6. That's the way we've always done it. 7. That's not in my department. 8. How was I to know this was different? 9. I'm waiting for an O.K. and 10. That's his job--not mine.
How many of these excuses have you heard? More importantly how many of these have you used?
The next time you are called upon to serve the Lord or you see a job that needs to be completed in the church and are tempted to make an excuse, remember in the parable in Matthew 14 that it did not fare well for those who made excuses, and neither will we if we continue to make excuses for not following the Lord. God’s word has already told us what we need to do, may we do it without excuse. Think about it and do! By Mark T. Tonkery
Baptism for many is a controversial subject. But regardless of what you or I think, baptism is commanded by God. Jesus said that He needed to be baptized (Matthew 3:15) and that's why He came to John the Baptist. Now, it is clear that Jesus did not need baptism to wash away His sin - for He had no sin.
Why then was Jesus baptized? John the Baptist wondered the same thing and in Matthew 3:14 he tried to deter Jesus and said "I need to be baptized by you. Why do you come to me? And Jesus responded by saying that it is proper for us to do this in order to fulfill all righteousness." The phrase "to fulfill all righteousness" simply means to "obey God's righteous commands."
Jesus did not need to be baptized to receive cleansing from sin. But He did need to be baptized to demonstrate obedience to God because God had ordained baptism in the ministry of John the Baptist.
Jesus is our example. Peter said, "To this you were called because Christ suffered for you leaving you an example that you should follow in his steps" (1 Peter 2:21). Jesus also left us an example by being baptized. In effect, Jesus is saying, "I'm not going to ask you to do what I am unwilling to do myself." We need to follow "in the steps" of Jesus and be baptized.
Unlike, Jesus though we have sinned and Jesus commanded that those who believe in Him must be baptized (Matt 28:19,20, Mark 16:15,16, and John 3:5). Peter speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit teaches in Acts 2:38, “…Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
When the Lord appeared to Saul, He told him to go to Damascus and it would be told him what he must do. Ananias came and told Saul. "And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name' " (Acts 22:16). Saul also teaches us that he did not hesitate and neither should we!
Baptism ties us to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ; Jesus obeyed God completely in giving himself for the sins of the world. It is in His death that He shed His blood for our sins. It is in Baptism that we contact it (Rom. 6:1-6). Have you been baptized into Christ for the remission of sins? Think about it! By Mark T. Tonkery
It is that time of year again! Time to have a great Gospel Meeting. It is not every week that we have an opportunity to meet outside of Sunday worship and Wednesday Bible Class as Christians and learn more about God’s Word. This special week will be an excellent week to learn from the Bible and be motivated by the preaching of God’s Word. We need to remember that the devil is going to try to delay you in coming to our Gospel Meeting on Oct. 3-6. Please do not cooperate with him. Make it your goal to not only not cooperate with the devil but also be proactive about the meeting by doing the following 10 suggestions:
- Pray for the success of the meeting.
- Plan to be here every service.
- Invite your friends, neighbors, unfaithful members, and past members. 4. Sit upfront and close together so that any late visitors can find a seat quickly. This will also help our singing as well.
- Greet guests with a warm welcome. Smile, be friendly and invite guests to sit with you.
- Make sure you invite guests back to our regular times of worship and Bible Study.
- Sing with the spirit and from your heart.
- Help keep the building and the grounds clean, pick up trash and belongings around you after each service.
- Be positive about the meeting.
- Bring your Bibles, pen, and paper so you can follow along with the preacher and take notes.
Church, David Price is going to give his best to help us have a great Gospel Meeting. I know that the Lord will be doing His best to help all of us to have a great Gospel Meeting. Will you as a member of the congregation give your best? I hope so! May God bless us as we plan to make the Gospel Meeting Oct. 3-6 a great success!
Mark T. Tonkery
“For I know the plans I have for you and not to harm you plans to give you hope and a future.”
The new minister in a small town spent the first four days calling on all the members, trying to get them to come to his first service. He failed. They didn’t come. So he placed a notice in the local newspaper stating that, since the church was dead, it was his duty to give it an appropriate burial. The funeral was to be held at 2 o’clock on the following Sunday.
Morbidly curious, the whole town turned out. In front of the pulpit, they saw a coffin covered with flowers. The minister read the obituary and delivered a eulogy. Then he invited the congregation to step forward and pay their respects to the departed. The long line filed by. Each one looked into the casket and then turned away with a sheepish guilty look. In the coffin was a large mirror, tilted at just the right angle so that anyone who looked would see himself.
No doubt the story is apocryphal [fictional]—No preacher would dare to do it. But I know a few preachers who would like to do it and quite a few folks for whom it might be appropriate.
-Bulletin Digest via Marion, IL-