Dear Fellow-members of Christ,
While the paper ["A Witness and A Testimony" magazine] as a whole
contains what we believe to be the Lord's desire for His people -
at least in part - from time to time a personal letter, such as
this, can bring it all into focus. That is, the particular aspect
of the concern can be underlined.
While there is no organized movement or institution behind this
ministry, we have for many years - up to date - been in touch,
directly and indirectly, with the Lord's people and work in many
parts of the world, from Far East to Far West. We are therefore
able to judge fairly well what conditions and needs are.
Of course, many things could be said in this connection; much
that is good, and occasion for thankfulness; but also much that
makes for sadness,
One thing stands out so impressively and oppressively. It is the
limitation in the matter of real, solid, building-up spiritual
food. What is so largely being given is such light and
unsubstantial fare. What pleases, in a superficial way,
seems to be characteristic. There seems to be - perhaps
unintentionally - a fear of anything too solid. It may be that the
supply is dictated by the kind of demand, but this is very
shortsighted. We fear that a generation is being brought up on
such light or unsubstantial diet which will mean a lack of stamina
in the day of testing.
The Lord put strong emphasis upon 'endurance'. "Because iniquity
shall abound, the love of many will wax cold" "The love of a great
body of people will grow cold, because of the multiplied
lawlessness and iniquity" (A.N.T) "But he that endureth to the
end, the same shall be saved" (Matt. 24:12,13).
It is a matter of very great importance that we should not live
just for the moment, the immediate present. 'Quick returns' may be
a policy in worldly trade, but the firms which have lasted, and
built up a reputation for reliability have often sacrificed this
superficial consideration for the day when business will be
severely tested. 'Quick returns' is the policy of so much
Christian activity, but too often that is just policy, not
principle, and the long-run proves its weakness.
Again, it is a disastrous thing to think more of the work, and
how much can be done, without watching closely its depth. I was
talking with the man at the head of one of the largest
organizations of Christian work, and we were deploring the loss
through the years of the original and former spiritual depth of
that ministry. At length he asked: What can be done to recover
that lost strength? I suggested that perhaps one step might lead
to that recovery, that is, to bring all the leaders and most
responsible workers together in areas for a period of prayer and
waiting upon God in deep exercise over the situation. I suggested
at least ten days. He said - "That is right, and the only way, but
it is impossible, it cannot be done; our men are too busy." "Too
The tragedy of the work! Yes, there is urgency. There is
necessity to heed the word - "Son, go work in my vineyard". The
call is imperative; there is so much to be done; but remember, the
Lord does not hesitate to lay aside in long indisposition some of
His most valuable workers, showing that it is quality more than
quantity which is His concern.
In this connection, food is a very important factor. On another
page of this issue we have dealt with this question more fully;
["Food for the Hungry"] by which it will be seen that the Lord is
laying the matter increasingly upon our heart.
This burden, has led us to build up considerably the supplies of
written ministry. We have definitely responded to what we believe
is a leading of the Spirit, so that, as need increases - so far as
our responsibility is concerned - there may be "meat in my house".
We would be careful to say that we are concerned with spiritual
food. There is very much being provided for the intellect; much
that is undoubtedly good, but we do distinguish between
theological and philosophical wisdom; between the academic and the
intellectual - as such - and that which ministers to the heart,
and builds up spiritually.
We receive a great many letters in relation to the ministry of
this little paper. Some express pleasure because - they say - it
gives a new idea; it is a fresh aspect of various matters; etc.
The letters which give us the greatest pleasure are those which
tell of the change in the life of the reader, and of how
much more the Lord has become to them through the ministry.
That is the real test of food. A person's body and demeanour,
complexion and health is so often the result of the diet. That is
why the doctor goes so quickly to that matter when he has to do
with debility and disorder. It is character that matters! The
ultimate test is stamina and effectiveness. What does it issue in
that we have been here on this earth? What are the eternal,
We know that such an issue will sift and reduce because the great
majority, even of Christians, want a 'good time', the pleasing and
the exciting; and those who really are desiring the greatest
possible measure of Christ, at any cost, are comparatively few.
But the end will determine lasting values.
We would resolve this letter into an appeal to our readers to
pray to the Lord that whatever there is available here in this
printed ministry; as well as personal ministry, that would
minister to the Lord's need in His people, may be released.
In a new way we are burdened regarding the 'gathering of my
people unto me; those that have made a covenant by sacrifice', and
the feeding of the flock. Please do pray with us about this; both
as to how it can be done, and the release of what is
Yours in the quest for a greater fulness of Christ,