By Ron Thomas
Through the years I have purchased books written by brethren; one such book is “Old Truths in New Robes” by Franklin Camp (1972). This is a collection of bulletin articles he wrote through the years, hoping those who read them can find them to be of some benefit in their walk with Christ.
One article that he wrote was about the death of his daughter, Vivian, their second child. She was severely burned (the reason not given) at seven years old, died five days later (1951). As I was reading this, I reflected on the tragedy of a parent (parents) losing a precious child at any age,
but especially such an innocent age of seven. Many people have much difficulty recovering from things like this, some never do. In brother Camp’s circumstance, he resolved to learn lessons, so he wrote on lessons he learned in the years 1951.
He learned that in life there is much uncertainty. We have been around long enough to know that with life, comes death. The uncertainty of life is not something we miss, but when it happens so close to home, the thunder of it is felt in a special way. We are saddened a great deal when we read of some young life now gone. Life is certain (you’re reading this), but life is fragile and is a gift from God; the gift of life God gave you, is it precious to you?
When you reflect on such a loss, to whom do you turn? Your family members are great, but since the loss is great, the comfort extended, helpful as it is, seems too not be enough. Questions are asked like “Why?”, and the only answer that can be given, in due time, is from the Lord. In such a loss, brother Camp turned, or strengthened his turn to the Lord, loving the Bible more; it’s a great lesson to learn (have reaffirmed), but how many people learn it? It was Peter who said to the Lord, in John 6, “Lord, to whom shall we go...?
Learning to read Him more, learning to love the Bible more (making it your daily companion), it’s only natural that one will love the church more. This makes perfect sense because the church is His body and only the body of Christ will be saved (Eph. 5:23, 25). In the body of Christ, in the church of Christ, there exists people of like mind. Perchance some are not of like mind, surely, they are moving in the direction to be Christ-like. These are the kind of people to be around, the kind of people who pray for and with you, encourage you in spiritual matters. Sadly, look around and notice who is not here, and how frequently you see they are not here. Do they love the Lord? They will tell you they do, but in truth they do not, and this is shown by their priorities. Attendance is not fool-proof evidence of loving the Lord, but it is an indication of something positive (or not).
Another lesson brother Camp learned was that Faith is more precious than gold. This is not, however, a lesson valued by many, not even those who are frequent in their attendance. There is something about material wealth that changes the mind of people unlike anything else. Evidently, with wealth, some think, they can do more with it that it good, or do more with it for themselves they have never been able to see accomplished, believing this to be a blessing from God. In the end, after having done the good and satisfying all one’s desire in a positive way, what then? One’s faith, one’s trust and conviction the Lord is above all never lessens in value because it is more valuable than gold.
This, naturally, helped brother Camp to think less of the earth, more of heaven. It was Paul who wrote, Yea verily, and I count all things to be loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but refuse, that I may gain Christ (Phil. 3:8, ASV).
- Ron Thomas preacher for the Sunrush Church of Christ, Chillicothe, OH. He may be contacted through the congregation's website. http://sunrushchurchofchrist.com/