From Ontario: Dear Editor, I have a number of friends, we are all in our thirties, but I am the only one who is a Christian. I get nowhere when I talk to them and I wonder what you do convince others of the truth.
Editor’s Comment: It’s a very difficult job, Ontario. You can sow the seeds, you can talk to your friends about Christianity but it’s not in your power to magically turn them toward Christianity. Alone among religions, there is a process for becoming a Christian. I like the way Charles A. Weisman explained it. He said, “In John 6, Jesus revealed that belief in Him is not that much of a free choice as most like to think. The Christians [of Christ’s time] were eager to follow God’s ways, as they asked Christ, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” (v. 28) Christ told them that the work of God was that they believe in Christ (v. 29). When they asked for a sign that they might believe, Jesus told them about the “bread from heaven” which if they eat will give them life (v.33). They thus asked Jesus to give them this bread so they could eat it, but He told them: “ I am the bread of life; he that comes to me shall never hunger; and he that believes on me shall never thirst.”
Most Christians today think coming to Christ or being in Christ is some voluntary act that they can undertake on their own. That is what Christ’s disciples thought as well. They wanted to eat of the bread of life, but did not understand it was not up to them. Christ told them that only those whom God gives to Christ will partake of the bread of life or be in Christ: “All that the Father gives me shall come to me” (v. 37). “No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him” (v. 44). You see, only those people that God draws or gives to Christ would be true believers and followers of Christ…. Even though these people Christ spoke to were His disciples who followed Him and had seen His miracles, they did not believe Him about the process for being a Christian. They continued to question Him and said, “this is a hard saying, who can hear it?” Thus Christ reiterated the bottom line of Christianity for them: “There are some of you that believe not…. Therefore said I to you, that no man can come to me, except it were given to him of my Father” (John 6:64,65).
What you can do, Ontario, is fervently pray that the Father draw your friends to Christ.
From Minnesota: Mr. Brooks Alden ….. I wish you would write, or steer me to more information about “Ecclesiastes 3” – “A Time for Everything.’ There are so many ups and downs in our lives today and the world seems confusing in living them.
Editor’s Note: These are confusing times, Minnesota, perhaps more so than at any time in the Israel nations’ history because Christian values have been so shunted aside. And I suspect the ups and downs, which incidentally are being felt by greater numbers all the time, will intensify as we approach the final end. You have touched on an exceptionally important chapter of the Bible and with the aid of Wycliffe, Knox and other commentaries; maybe we can throw a bit of light on its message. Actually, it is a somewhat melancholy message because Solomon points out that God has ordered all of life’s occurrences according to His will and while He has given man a mind to look beyond daily occurrences to the total sweep of life, this power is limited so we can never solve all the paradoxes of life. God has given us reasoning power but not enough to unravel all mysteries.
So basically the wise King Solomon offers advice, “Look, we live by the Laws of God and all life, including all that we as God’s children do, are part of a cycle that is established by God. We might want something more out of life than we have but we can really do nothing about it. Therefore, it is of vital importance that we take what happiness we can from life while going through our days facing a series of events.” Still, Minnesota, we almost have to look at preceding and succeeding chapters to get the full impact of the message but let’s at least examine Chapter 2 from verse 20. I suppose all of us reach a certain age and we reflect backward and try to take stock of where we have been and what we have accomplished. It can cause much frustration if we feel the road we have traveled has not been worth the effort and discomfort, particularly if the wealth for which we laboured fell into the hands of others, who never worked for it. Sadly, only a blind man could miss seeing this today.