Church of Christ
Mission USA


The Wayward Soldiers
by Perry Sexton

      They were all volunteers. They came from all four corners of the earth. They sought glory and honor – the battle would not be long nor hard, they thought. But in short order it came. It was much harder than expected and it seemed it would never end. Early on, many left the ranks and fled back from whence they came – they fell by the wayside. Others stayed longer, but little by little gave in and retreated also because of the many hardships on every hand.

      The battle raged on and on even to the point that some old faithful warriors retreated to the rocking chairs on the porch. They no longer fought, but they told of the lighter side of the battles – not wanting to recall the gravity of it. Some resorted to reciting poetry having given up the cause. Others belittled the seriousness of the war and dressed in costumes for play acting the battle out. Many cried for peace, peace, but there was no peace, no, not yet. Many did not have the courage to carry out the Captains orders. They failed to hold the lines, they compromised. Some longing for the comforts of home, the way it used to be, were trampled under by the cares and riches of this world – they were overcome. Others, were on the battle field in a self display of honor, but were nothing but self promoting whited sepulchers justifying themselves. Some just ignored the battle hoping it would go away.

      Many could not recognize their enemies because of wilful blindness and even joined the enemies rank. Others gave in, surrendered, and were led captive. Many brought discouragement to the ranks by saying such things as, "The battle is too hard, you can’t do it, it will cost you too much" etc. While others said, "Send us your money and we’ll fight for you."

      But in all the smoke, stench, and confusion could be seen, dimly at times, the faithful few who carried the Captain’s banner onward. No present glory, but hardships. Yet onward they trod following their Leader. They knew it would not be easy, therefore they had prepared themselves with the Master’s armament. They understood the war would be long and hard. They strengthened their hands, yea, their minds for the great task ahead. They understood the glory, the honor would be at the end, when the battle was won and they could lay their armor down. They have the battle scars. They have overcome the enemy. They will endure, even though some in mangled bodies. The victory is on the horizon. They will walk with their Master in victory for they are worthy. All they, the faithful, will receive the highest honors: eternal life. Will you and I be among that faithful number? ♥ 

[Compare physical battles with the spiritual]



      Most Bible students are familiar with Paul's effort to raise support for the "poor among the saints in Jerusalem" (Romans 15:26). Other Scriptures which refers to this effort is I Corinthians 16:1-6 and 2 Corinthians 8 and 9. However, we often overlook many Scriptures which refer to Paul asking for personal help and support. For instance he wrote to Corinth about his desire to spend the winter with them and then stated, "That you may send me on my journey, wherever I go" (I Cor. 6:6). Later he plans to travel from Macedonia to Corinth and "be helped on his way to Judea" (2 Cor. 1:16). In his journey to Spain he planned to pass through Rome. He wrote, "Whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and be helped on my way there by you..." (Romans 15:24).

      Paul also requested support for others. I Corinthians 16: 10:-11, "Now if Timothy comes...send him on his journey." Titus 3:13, "Send Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey with haste..." Even John requested support for certain Christians, "If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well.." (3 John 6).

      Most all sources say that these requests were for being helped financially. Thayer, p. 541, (Acts 15:3; Titus 3:13; 3 John 6) "To set one forward, fit him out with the requisites for his journey." William Hendriksen, Thessalonians, Timothy and Titus, p. 398, "These men must be provided with food and lodging while in Crete, and must be aided in every way so that, lacking in nothing, they may be able to continue their travels." Roy Deaver, Romans p. 590, "To be brought on his way means to be assisted financially and otherwise." Lipscomb, Romans, p. 266, "To assist him in the expenses of the journey."

      Church budgets are an essential item in planning the work of the church. All the expected expenses for the coming year are projected and presented to the congregation. This includes salaries, building upkeep, Bible school supplies, mission work at home and abroad, benevolent work, etc. Each month an expense sheet is produced in order to keep the congregation informed about the expenditures of the church. However, suppose there should be mission opportunity, or a need present itself during the year which is not a budgeted item. If there had been a budget in the time of Paul, his request would have been a non-budgeted item. How much support would he have received? Would he have been turned down because he was not a budget item and the expense of the church was a little tight?

      A congregation of 125 members may have the impression that they are doing all they can by staying within their budget. This is the congregation at work. What about a challenge to the individual? Suppose that a challenge for $100 extra per member was given. A certain time during the year this challenge could be met and $12,500 could be raised for mission work. Suppose that half the brotherhood would accept this challenge - a million members giving $100 - Think of the missionaries that could be sent into all the world.

[Taken from Heidenheimer church of Christ bulletin]