Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A Different Direction

Another underlined and penetrating word of E. M. Bounds in his book entitled, "Prayer," reads "Where are the Christlike leaders who can teach the modern saints how to pray?  Where are the leaders who will put them to the task?  Do our leaders know we are raising up a prayerless set off saints?  Where are the apostolic leaders who can put God's people to praying?  Let them come to the front and do the work, and it will be the greatest work that can be done.  An increase of educational facilities and a great increase of financial support will be the most disastrous curse to religion, if these things are not sanctified by more and better praying than we are doing."
I am always amazed when reading the words of this man born in 1835.  It would seem he was writing for the church of this present day.  Over and over this comes to mind as I read the pages he wrote so long ago.  Sometimes we long for "do-overs."  If such were possible, I would put less focus on the physical signs of success and work to direct the churches entrusted to me more toward the cultivation of the spiritual life.  It is not that I did not see myself as being concerned about the spiritual growth of those souls entrusted to me, but sometimes I wonder if I was walking in leadership as I should have been.  The temptation for bigger building and more people in the pews was always present. And, I must confess the temptation was not always pushed aside.
Edward McKendree Bounds points the church of our day in a different direction than it often seems to be going and he does it from over a hundred years ago.  If the ship of the church is ever going to be righted, it will not be because it has achieved the kind of success the world around it declares to be important, but because it has learned that being in the presence of the Almighty is the most important thing.  If we work, worship, serve, and lead in His presence, He can be trusted to do the rest. 

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