Sometimes, I will read an old bulletin from another church, or peruse through a few articles of an old Gospel Advocate magazine to spark new ideas for my own articles or sermon seeds. (That’s just what preachers do… there is nothing new under the sun) At my fingertips, I have Firm Foundation periodicals going back from 1884 to 2010. I was searching for an article about who Jesus was for a lesson I am preparing for the future. As I was reading this week, I came across an article from January of 1931, written by J.N. Armstrong (the first president of Harding University) that I thought was very interesting. The title of the article is, “HARDING COLLEGE FINISHING FIRST TERM.
Armstrong writes how the first term for the 1930-31 school year was coming to an end even “amid the breaking and closing of banks.” Armstrong talks about how in the state of Arkansas, there were “about seventy banks that had been forced to close their doors in the last forty days.” Of course, what brother Armstrong is writing about is the financial collapse that led to the Great Depression and the drought that his the region the year before. He talks about how the only two banks in the city of Morrilton, AR, had closed. But, only one was able to reopen. About a month before the closings, Harding College had moved all their business from the one bank that closed to the bank that reopened. Armstrong explains, “It was just another blessing from the Lord in disguise”. It is what Armstrong says next that encouraged me so much that I feel compelled to share it with you. His are the words we need to hear. These are not words of great depression. These are words of great hope. Here is the full text:
“But the general depression over the entire state caused by last summer’s unprecedented drouth and the breaking of more than seventy banks will mean a loss to Harding College undetermined yet.
However, if the loyal supporters, patrons, and friends rally as they should in times like these, it is yet possible to make the year the best in the history of the institution. Such distressing times bring real opportunities and call for heroic service and beautiful sacrificing. Since I have lived, there never has been a time when God’s children needed to rally to the support of every good work being maintained by the disciples of the Lord as they need to do now. Shall we neglect our missionaries, our homes for children, our schools, and the work at home? Surely when we are being tried we will not fail our Lord. Let us be the more loyal. Let us deny ourselves the more and live closer to Him. How great the occasion for testing our devotion and loyalty to the greatest cause in all the world!”
The positivity in this article is overwhelming and precisely what we need. J.N. Armstrong wrote this 89 years ago, but the truth found in these words ring true to how Christians respond in times of crisis.
Let us be the more loyal.
Amen, brother Armstrong! Amen!
James 1:2-4 – “Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”
I love you,