Here is an interesting conversation between a Swedish peasant woman and her persistent visitor.
"Does your son in America never send you any money?" was asked of a poverty-stricken old Swedish women. "Never!" was the bitter answer. "He writes often and speaks of sending money, but never a bit have I seen from him. I am getting old and poor and soon I must die or go to the poorhouse. Yet he is rich and prosperous. Such is the ingratitude of children!"
"Is there never anything in the letters?" asked the persistent visitor. "Oh, yes, he always sends pictures; but I do not need pictures; I need money."
"Have you saved those pictures?"
"They are all pasted on the wall in my bedroom. Would you like to see them?"
"Certainly," answered the visitor. When she looked into the bare little room she saw pasted on the walls a small fortune in American paper money.
She had a room whose walls were covered with a small fortune in American money but she failed to see its value. She had a son who loved her and wanted to help her even though he was far away, but because she failed to see the value in the "pictures" which he kept sending, she became bitter toward him.
Isn't that like people today? Those things which are worth most are valued least. Because of general prosperity in this life we have become a people who fail to see the true value of things of a spiritual nature.
Many of our day regard the word of God, the Bible, as a good guide to living a good life, but they fail to see that the word of God will make us "wise unto salvation" (II Tim. 3:15). The Bible is not just a good guide to living a good life, it is THE guide to living THE life (that is, eternal life with the Father in Heaven). Only in God's word can we find what we must do to have eternal life. Faith in Jesus as the Son of God is necessary (Jn. 3:16). But faith in Jesus is not enough. Obedience to the will of the Father is necessary (Jn. 3:36; Mt. 7:21). Those commands of the Father in connection with salvation include repentance from our sins (Acts 17:30), confession of our faith (Rom. 10:10) and baptism in water (Acts 2:38). The Bible leads us to eternal life. It should thus be regarded as very valuable.
In connection with the Lord's plan for our salvation some have failed to see the value of baptism. Denominationalist regard baptism as "an outward sign of an inward grace." To them it has no connection at all with salvation. There is not a passage in the N.T. which says baptism is "an outward sign of an inward grace" but there are many passages which connect baptism with salvation (Mk.16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3,4; Gal. 3:27; 1 Pet. 3:21 and others). We can understand the value of baptism only when we understand that in baptism we contact the blood of Jesus Christ which washes our sins away (Rev. 1:5; Acts 22:16). Since in baptism we contact Christ's blood which cleanses us (1 Jn. 1:7), we must be baptized to be cleansed and, therefore, baptism is something of great value with respect to our salvation. Many will be lost since they fail to see the true value of baptism.
Some of our own brethren fail to see the value of regular attendance at worship services. The feeling is that once a week is enough. Some are even teaching you don't have to attend any services in the local congregation since, according to them, there is no authority for the local church. When we understand the things we are to do while assembled together we can see the value of attending all the services. Those assemblies which fall on the first day of the week are important because at these services we are to partake of the Lord's Supper (Acts 20:7) and contribute into the local common treasury (1 Cor. 16:1,2). Also at these services, and during services on other days of the week, we teach the word of God (cf. Acts 20:7), pray to the Father (Acts 2:42), sing songs of praise to the Lord (Eph. 5:19) and exhort one another unto love and good works (Heb. 10:24,25). If we question the value of the assemblies in the local congregation, we question the value of all the things just mentioned, things which are dictated by our Lord to be done while we are together. There is great value in each of these things and, therefore, great value in assembling with our brethren at every service.
When the Swedish peasant failed to see the value in what her son sent her, she in essence placed herself into poverty. When we fail to see the value of God and His word and all that He has given us and given us to do, we place ourselves into spiritual poverty. Such poverty cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Let us see the value in all God has given us and become spiritually rich.
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This page was last updated on Wednesday, November 04, 1998.