The Lack of Zeal on the Part of Christian Young Men
In our August issue the following question appeared:—“What is the cause of so much want of zeal on the part of many who have passed safely through the dangers of the past five years? I have in my mind a few whose lethargy, or ‘fed-upness’ (the words one used in regard to meetings, etc., were, ‘I’m fed up’) with reference to the Lord’s things and service is today, most disappointing.”—E.W.
There are possibly two sides to the question raised by E.W., one finding its answer in the young men themselves, and the other in those who are older and remained at home. In times of trial and danger it is easy to cleave to the Lord, especially when it is felt that only this can keep one from being swept away on a tide of evil; this was the experience of many young men in army life, and they were kept in a measure of separation from evil things and of brightness in the Lord; but now that the tension is relaxed, and things are easier, the tendency is to settle down and drop into indifference to the claims of the Lord.
It may be with other young men that they have neglected to hold faith and a good conscience with the tenacity that the circumstances demanded, and so have not warred a good warfare and are now ill at ease. How blessed it is to know that the Lord whose grace restored Simon when he fell is just the same today for them.
But there is the other side. Have those who remained at home, and were able to live at home quietly and at peace, enjoying all the privileges of fellowship and ministry through the mercy of God and the going forth of these young men—have they fulfilled their responsibility towards them? They were doubtless prayed for while away; were they welcomed on their return with sufficient warmth? Did they find in the fellowship and the meetings that love, righteousness, peace and joy that they looked for and that should mark those who walk in the Spirit, who own the Lord, and are one in Him? If they found coldness, dissension, a sectarian spirit, an unscriptural narrowness, no wonder they have lost heart, and perhaps have begun to question whether these things are real after all.
Young men of the world were welcomed back with merriment and feasting, definite interest has been shown in their welfare; in a fuller, truer, and a godly way should the children of God have welcomed their younger brethren, and should still care for them and pray for them, so that they might feel that the fellowship of the saints is better than the fellowship of the world, and the bond that binds us together in the Lord is stronger and more blessed than any other bond can be. But our hope in every difficulty and in all our failure is in the Lord; we may turn to Him as to this, as in all ours.