I grew up in a time when mothers would say”come and get it”, and we all ran to the supper table, hands washed and ready to eat. If we had decided not to eat when the meal was on the table, we didn’t get to eat. Somehow, that same attitude has entered into the church and has never left. We evidently feel that we have the building, we have the teachers, and we have the elders and deacons, therefore, if you are hungry for the truth, “come and get it”.
With some there may be less than a firm and confident conviction. Many religious groups are no longer eager to evangelize. Some forthrightly affirm that “one church is as good as another” and that none are essential to salvation.
Materialism, and the involvement of most people in business, recreation, and entertainment is a definite cause. Both the teacher and the one needing to be taught are affected. It is much easier to stay home, watch television by a warm fire, and have a nice bedtime snack, than it is to make the effort to teach someone. This is especially so when it is apparent that the one we are trying to reach had much rather be doing that himself.
Our nice, comfortable, and convenient meeting houses may cause the attitude. Some feel that most everything has to be done in the church building. Let us remember that a building will not do our teaching for us. A building cannot “go” anywhere with the gospel.
Lack of knowledge and zeal is also a cause. Although both are essential, often it is evident that there is knowledge with no zeal. Then, we may see zeal with little or no knowledge. This condition may cause people to say, “Let them come to the church building and hear the preacher.”
The aggressive nature of some false teachers causes the attitude. Some may say, “I do not want to appear to be a `Jehovah’s Witness,’ or ‘Mormon'” who are known to go from house to house teaching their false doctrines. Yet, we have the truth and sit on it each Lord’s day. The ones who actually need the gospel never hear the gospel. This is never more true than in gospel meetings.
When we forget that all men are in desperate need, and the gospel is the only answer to that need, we become indifferent and tend to do as the Israelites. “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play” (1 Cor. 10:7). We need a higher goal than this. The aim of the church should not be political. We should not want worldly power and dominance. Neither is the purpose to be commercial. Material possession is of no value except as it can be used to support the preaching of the gospel. Saving souls, and keeping them saved, should be placed above everything in the world. It is the work Jesus came to do. It is the work his apostles were sent to do. It is a work we must continue do today!
We need to apply the words of Isaiah, “Here am I send me” (Isa. 6:8). The teaching and examples of Jesus and his early disciples will help us make the change. “He ordained twelve. . .that he might send them forth to preach” (Mk. 3:14). “They went forth and preached everywhere” (Mk. 16:20). It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Cor. 1:21). They were sent forth; they went forth; they preached. Where did they preach? They preached everywhere (Mk 16:20)!
Jesus, the master teacher, left us an example. He taught in the synagogue, on the mountain, by the sea of Galilee, at the well in Samaria, and anywhere else he could speak to one or more. In the parables of Luke 15, Jesus did not speak of a lost flock, but of a lost sheep; not of a lost fortune, but of a lost coin; not of a lost race or nation, but of a lost boy. Jesus reserved his best for individuals! The apostles did the same. They preached in the temple and synagogue, in market places, in prisons, in homes, and even in the hall of the Roman Emperor. They preached to both receptive multitudes and resentful mobs. They shunned not to declare the whole council of God. They made opportunities and preached anywhere they had the opportunity. They said, “For necessity is laid upon me; for woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel” (1 Cor. 9:17).
Let us put away this “come and get it” attitude. The first two letters of the word gospel is GO. So, let us “GO,” by every scriptural means and spread the Good New of Jesus Christ! This is the charge of our Savior: “Go you into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mk 16:15). Let us therefore stop saying “Come and get it” and let us begin to say “Let’s go and preach it”!