PATRIOTISM, ZEAL, FERVOR, IN CHRISTIANITY?

By Herbert W Armstrong

Source: Oct 10, 1948 CoWorker Letter

You’ve heard the patriotic saying: “Breathes there a man with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said, ‘This is my own, my native land?'”
Jesus said “The children of this world are, in their generation, wiser than the children of light.” (Luke 16:8). That is, those whose minds are on material, worldly things only — unconverted minds, are wiser in worldly things than those whose minds are illuminated by the Spirit of God are in spiritual things.

Are the worldly, unconverted people filled with more zeal and fervor and patriotism for the things of this world than real Christians for the things of God? Tuesday, presidential election day, will have passed before you read this. Those of this world will have shown their patriotism by voting. Those of the world feel a patriotism surging thru their very souls — it may be patriotism for country, for their college, for their fraternity, lodge, club, business or whatever partisan organization they feel they are part of.

This is the football season. Nearly all the larger colleges and universities engage in the business of football. It is regarded by students as one of the important activities carried on by the university. Yet not one in a hundred students actually plays or takes direct part. Only eleven men play on the team at a time — and not over 33 to 65 players compose the entire squad in any one school. The team is under the supervision of a coach, and is directed during actual contest on the field by the quarterback or captain. This year the University of Oregon is one of the two contenders for the Pacific Coast conference championship. Perhaps 40 out of 4,000 students are on the squad. Yet EVERY STUDENT IN THE UNIVERSITY FEELS A SENSE OF PATRIOTISM, OFTEN OF DEEP FERVOR, TOWARD THE PROGRESS OF THAT TEAM! Every student feels it is HIS team. Its main competitor this year is the University of California. If any student at Eugene favored California he would be considered disloyal and a traitor. Of all the 3,960 who do not even have a part on the squad, every single one feels that the Oregon team is HIS team. He doesn’t boss it or manage it, or have any direct part in it whatever. No personal part at all. But he does not call it “Coach so-and-so’s team.” No, it’s “OUR team!” If anyone should say a word against the team, the student would spring heatedly to its defense instantly. He stands up for it against all critics. And he attends all games he can, and wildly CHEERS for his team during a game, yelling his throat hoarse trying to encourage and cheer on his team, and whenever it scores a touch- down, he leaps high in the air with shouts of joy!

But how about the “children of light?” The main work of all the brethren in Christ is to carry out the Great Commission, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel.” It is a trillion times more important than football. True, only a small part of all the disciples of Christ can have direct personal part in proclaiming the true Gospel to all the world. So, how do they react? Well, some are just as loyal as worldly college students to their football team. Some are passively loyal in a lukewarm sort of way. But SOME say, “Well, why should I have any interest in the work, when I have no direct personal part in it?” They call it “Brother Armstrong’s work.” They are just NOT INTERESTED in it. They don’t see how it concerns them in any way. If they hear it criticized or condemned, or falsely accused, they actually AID AND ABET THOSE THE DEVIL IS USING IN ACCUSING, by keeping silent. Do they spring instantly to its defense against its critics? No, by their very silence they indicate agreement with the critics and thus encourage injury to God’s work! They seem unable to see that this is THEIR work, and that those of us having direct personal part are merely their TEAM, representing THEM, and that we need to be encouraged, cheered on, just as much as a college football team! Surely the WORK OF GOD is more important — or ought to be — to a Christian, than winning football games is to a college student! Then WHY NOT SHOW THE SAME ENTHUSIASM, ZEAL, AND PATRIOTISM FOR THE WORK OF GOD? It’s a trillion times more important than football games. And when another soul is brought to repentance and baptism and conversion, OUGHT WE NOT TO LEAP WITH JOY?

“Breathes there a Christian with soul so DEAD that he never to himself hath said, ‘This is our OWN, our very OWN activity in GOD’S WORK?'” — Don’t you feel a surge of JOY and GLORY when OUR TEAM wins another precious SOUL? Give all praise and thanksgiving to GOD — but give enthusiastic encouragement — not football cheers, but Christian GOOD CHEER — to those of us actively out on the firing line, fighting adversity, the obstacles and opposition of the devil and his critics, giving our ALL to win — DEFEND US when- ever you hear this WORK OF GOD being criticized or opposed — SHOW THE CRITICS YOU ARE ON OUR SIDE — GOD’S SIDE, and when the critics see how unpopular their fault-finding and opposition of the work of God is, perhaps they will cease it and BEGIN TO HELP! Let people know you are FOR this work of God — 100%. SHOW your loyalty! That’s one way you can help. And remember, constantly, PRAY FOR THE WORK!

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