By Joe Slater
I remember when working on my own car was standard operating procedure. When I popped the hood, everything was easily accessible (well, relatively easily anyway). Today it’s a maze of wires and hoses. Nearly everything is computerized. My shade-tree mechanic days are long since gone. Oh, for the good old days!
But would I really want to go back to the days when I had to change oil every 2000 miles, and do a complete tune-up every 12,000 miles? Was it really better when a vehicle was sent to the junk yard before it reached 100,000 miles?
King Solomon wrote, “Do not say, ‘Why were the former days better than these?’ For you do not inquire wisely concerning this” (Ecclesiastes 7:10). Is this teaching needed in the church today? Assuredly so!
Some remember the “protracted meetings” that lasted several weeks and resulted in dozens of baptisms. Now we have mostly week-end meetings. A Sunday-through-Wednesday meeting is a major event. We feel fortunate if the local brethren attend. Community visitors are rare, and conversions are the exception rather than the rule.
Our culture has changed. We can pine for the good old days, or we can adapt and move forward.
I also remember when it was commonplace for brethren to step outside for a smoke between Bible class and the assembly. I remember when it was presumed that the preacher would move every couple of years. In some congregations people of color were not warmly welcomed, or at best were patronized. Those “good old days” really weren’t so good. Thank God for improvement in these and other areas! May He continue to help us to become more Christ-like every day.
- Joe Slater serves as minister of the Church of Christ in Justin, TX. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://justinchurchofchrist.com