The following advertisement is a verbatim excerpt from a 1902 Sears & Roebuck mail order catalog, found on page 446 and reprinted in Jack Exum's book entitled "The Art of Illustrating."
"Six Boxes Positively Guaranteed To Cure Any Disease, for which they are intended. This will cure you if you feel generally miserable or suffer with a thousand and one indescribably bad feelings, both mental and physical; among them low spirits, nervousness, weariness, lifelessness, weakness, diz-ziness, feeling of bloating after eating, or sense of goneness or emptiness of stomach in morning, flesh soft and lacking firmness, headache, blurring of eyesight, specks floating before the eyes, nervous irritability, poor memory, chilliness, alternating with hot flushes, lassitude, throbbing, gurgling or rumbling sensation in bowels, with heat and nipping pains occasionally, palpitation of heart, short breath on exertion, slow circulation of blood, cold feet, pain and oppression in chest and back, pain around the loins, aching and weariness of the lower limbs, drowsiness after meals but nervous wakefulness at night, languor in the morning, and a constant feeling of dread, as if something awful was going to happen.
If you have any of these symptoms our nerve and brain pills will cure you. No matter what the cause may be or how severe your trouble is, Dr. Hammond's Nerve and Brain Pills will cure you.
Beware of Quack Doctors who advertise to scare men into paying money for remedies which have no merit."
I have cited the story about “Brain & Nerve Pills,” because it illustrates that which is so typical of society in general and also of many who are members of the church. With every physical malady that arises we want an instant cure. We pop pills and badger doctors into giving us shots of antibiotics! With regard to spiritual illness that adversely impacts our spirituality or the nu-merical growth of the church, many in the church display this same type of attitude. We clamor for “a fix,” a “cure all” that will instantly make everything right. Such thinking is as unrealistic as it was for anyone back in 1902 to expect “Dr. Hammond’s Nerve and Brain Pills” to cure all of the maladies listed in the advertise-ment reprinted above.
If we who are members of the church here at Bethel really desire to become strong spiritually, we must spend more time imbibing the Word of God. It alone can completely equip the man of God. (See: 2 Tim. 3:12-17 & 2 Pet. 1:2-3). If we truly want to see the church grow, we must put into practice daily the things that God requires of us in His holy word; and, we must do this in a positive prayerful manner. There are not short cuts—no quick fixes—no cure alls that bring instant success.
The word of God equips us “unto every good work” and therefore we must prepare ourselves and “be ready unto every good work.” As some wise sage once said: “The only place suc-cess precedes work is in the dictionary!” Amen! I implore every member here at Bethel to think on these thinks. Hymn #700 in our songbook contains these words: “To the work! To the work! We are servants of God; Let us follow the path that our Master has trod; With the balm of His counsel our strength to renew, Let us do with our might what our hands find to do.”
In the sermon last Sunday evening we noted that if all who were present were to mutually compose a list of wayward, out-of-duty church members, it would in all probability include more than enough names of people to fill our building. I also challenged all who have expressed concern about numerical growth to invite and bring at least one visitor to every service. If everyone would do this, our attendane would double what it is currently. I close with the inspired words of Paul, found in Galatians 6:9-10: “And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not. As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”
May God’s blessings be upon each and everyone of us this week as we strive to “labor till the Master comes!”