From One Christian to Another
Do not neglect your family. Great men and women of God do not neglect their responsibilities at home. Noah did not neglect his family (1 Pet. 3:20). Abraham did not neglect his family (Gen. 18:19). Joshua did not neglect his family (Josh. 24:15). Even with the arduous task that preachers have of evangelizing the world and edifying the brethren, these are not to annul our personal responsibilities at home to be husbands and fathers. Sometimes preachers (and other Christians) may rationalize that they are putting the kingdom of God first—this we all should do, but again, we cannot do so to the neglect of our own personal family. Brethren, Satan has had enough to do with creating havoc in our families! Are we not tired of watching families (even within the church of our Lord) crumble all around us? I know that I am! Do not neglect your family!
Do not quit studying. No one will ever get to the place where he or she knows the entire Bible, even preachers and elders. I believe that some Christians get to the point where they feel that they have a good general knowledge of the Bible, and then they become lazy and quit studying as much as they did when they first became Christians. I think of the late and lamented Franklin Camp, who noticed the study habits of Gus Nichols and decided to study even more (I believe it was six hours daily), which he did all the way up until his death. Christians, we do not know it all, yet! Do not quit studying!
Do not quit spreading the good news of the gospel. Teaching comes with times of great discouragement. We will not convert everybody; even God in the flesh did not convert everybody. When we get discouraged, do not quit teaching! How will the world come to know of the grace of their Savior without teaching? How will the world come to realize the consequences of their sins without teaching? The world needs teachers! Jesus said,
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. It is written in the prophets, ‘And they shall be all taught of God.’ Every man, therefore, that hath heard and hath learned of the Father cometh unto me. (John 6:44-45)
When we get discouraged, think of all of the mighty men of God who were discouraged and did not quit (Elijah, Jeremiah and such like). Do not quit evangelizing!
Do not ever forget about the ones who sacrificed for you to become the person you are today. Preacher students at schools of preaching (i.e., SWSBS, MSOP and SEIBS) should not ever forget the individuals and congregations who graciously gave to them so that they could sacrifice a few years to learn how to become an effective preacher. Christians should always remember with gratitude those who paved the way for them. I personally remember with fondness a little congregation in Verbena, AL (Midway Church of Christ). This small little congregation supported me meagerly for the final three years that I was a college student, but I would not trade those years of encouragement and opportunity for anything! They helped me then to become the person that I am today. I think of my parents and of other mentors along the way. As Christians, we ought to think of great preachers and elders from our past who sacrificed to allow the church to flourish as it does today. From cover to cover, the Bible teaches that godliness and gratitude go together; it also teaches that wickedness and ingratitude go together. As Christians, we ought always to demonstrate gratitude!
Do not think of yourselves more than you ought. The Bible repetitively teaches this principle (Rom. 12:3; Phil. 2:1-4; et. al). Pride is one of the most dangerous of all sins, and Christians are certainly susceptible to it. For example, whenever preachers get a taste of “success” (large congregations, multiple meetings, exposure from articles/books and such like), Satan will use that situation to tempt them with pride. I have been to many lectureships where some preachers of some esteem rarely talk to “the common preacher,” while others will relate personably. While I do not wish to embarrass anyone or leave anyone out, I can only think of some who have spoken to me as a young preacher with no reputation as if I was important to him. I do not know about you, but I will remember that for as long as I live. The fact of the matter is that Christians can often form cliques, and will only associate with those in their clique. As Christians, we should try to treat everyone the same, and think of ourselves as equals with everyone.
This is certainly not an exhaustive list, but it will serve to point out a few nuggets of wisdom that all Christians (and preachers especially) should follow.