Training for Reigning - 22 - Opportunity for Advancement pt2

IT HAS TO BE admitted - nay, emphasized! - that there are no opportunities for advancement (in the ordinary sense of the term) in the Assemblies of God. One day, just after leaving a Gospel Hall, I noticed a man several yards in front of me who was being greeted by one approaching him. The latter called out "Hello Bill!" slapped his friend on the back with, "Congratulations on getting the chair!" followed by other complimentary remarks. As I passed them I learned that the recipient of these greetings had been elected chairman of the Board of Management of the local denominational church. And then it came home to me as never before that it would be a very long time, indeed, before any brother in that local Assembly ever would achieve such a promotion - in the mercy of the Lord, never!
Musing on this feature of Assembly Life for some time thereafter, I saw with greater clearness that His Assemblies do not exist to provide opportunities for advancement for His people, but rather, so to speak, for Himself -"that in all things HE MIGHT HAVE THE PRE-EMINENCE"; Col. 1: 18. Furthermore, it was He, Himself, Who said, and provided the example, "Whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant"
- your "doulos," meaning, "bond servant," "slave"; Matthew 20: 25-28. - Opportunity to develop humility.
And yet, again - in a very different sense - it is plain that there are opportunities for advancement that are quite contrary to those of normal human ambition, and that have values which one "can take with him."
(Hint: If you will begin to build into your thinking the practice of asking yourself, "Can I take this with me to Heaven?" you will save yourself losses untold in the ages to come. Once such thinking becomes a habit, you will realize the solid good sense behind Colossians 3: 1-4). have to advance in our knowledge of, and ability to apply to our lives, the age-enduring Scriptures of Truth. Timothy, you may recall, was urged "to meditate on these things," to "be In them" in order that his "advancement" might be "manifest to all"; 1 Timothy 4: 15, literal renderings.
Possibly the reader may be a professional person, or may be engaged in skilled technical work, or be in business. Let me ask, how far can you hope to progress in your chosen field. If you fold your mental arms, sit back, and complacently drift with the current of affairs? In these competitive days, to adopt such an attitude would be to court the possibility of losing your position. But if this be true in earthly matters, is there not a corresponding danger of positional loss in the business of Christian living, where competitive forces assail us from spiritual, as well as material, angles?
If you had a problem relating to your work you would not be worthy of your calling were you to pick up some recognized authority on the subject, glance at a paragraph or two, then hurry away to blunder through your day.
But you don’t do that. No opportunity for advancement can be expected by anyone who is indifferent to the possibilities inherent in the solving of such difficulties. That’s your job. You are expected to do something about it - and you do. The reason? - RECOGNIZED COMPULSION?
In the business of Christian living, however, there are few recognized compulsions:
-We can read our Bibles - or neglect them.
-We can pray - or, well, you know.
-We can set ourselves the task of finding out what God is saying to us in a certain portion of Scripture - or we can pick up any thought that seems obvious, and leave the rest to the elders and preachers.
-We can inconvenience ourselves to the extent of making notes of whatever we do learn from the Word - or we can depend on a memory that already is preoccupied with more immediate concerns.
What I refer to, in particular, is the opportunity each of us
-We can mark our Bibles, make notes in the margins, and so turn them into real serviceable tools - or we can keep them as clean and neat as if they were library novels.
But why bring up these things?
It is because, as I noted in the last chapter, so many seem to be devoting themselves body, soul and spirit to further some worldly ambitious project, while the opportunities for advancement in the things of God must go begging - yes, while the "hope-chests" for the ages to come are being stuffed to the lids with wood, hay and stubble. Their brain-space almost filled to capacity with earth interests, the things that are worthwhile, eternal, as it was with the Lord Jesus at Bethlehem’s inn, are crowded out.
And so I appeal again to you dear Christians: Don’t let soon- to-perish earth occupations cheat you out of your prospects of His approval! Martha’s all-absorbing too-much service reached the limit of its value when the dishes were washed and put away. Mary chose "that good part" which lasted until she went to Heaven, is hers still and shall be "unto the ages of the ages"; for "it shall not be taken away from her"; Luke 10: 42.
May the adverb "richly" in Col. 3: 16 be true of you and me
- and shall we say, soon?