by Joey Davis
"One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man. "
The Roycroft Dictionary 1923
I once heard a man, while declaring his ability to work productively, say, "last year I went through four hammers." Amazing!
Yet, once I saw him work, I realized that this man wasn’t really an extraordinarily hard worker, after all. He just didn’t take very good care of his hammer!
Ira North declared in his book Balance, that there is no substitute for hard work. (Actually, Ira borrowed the phrase from Thomas Edison.) If we want to grow spiritually, it requires work. If we want to serve our Master, work must be involved. James even said, "Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself." (James 2:17, italics mine).
The rich history of the Mt. Juliet church is a testament to the power of work. Our congregation has gone from a small group of little more than twenty faithful Christians, who from 1891 to 1908 struggled to keep the dream of a congregation in Mt. Juliet alive, to an ever growing congregation that has planted churches in Old Hickory, Berryville, six in Nashville, Buenos Aires Panama, and three in the former Soviet Union. This church has gone from being a mission point in 1891 to being an integral part of the support of mission points throughout the world in the years leading up to the 21st century.
How did we get from there to here? Hard work? Yes and no.
We have been fortunate to have an indispensable partner in the work over the past 104 years.. Jesus Christ. It is His power and influence that has caused the changes in our congregation. You see, the brethren have only taken care of the hammer…Jesus did all
the hammering! We are to be ordinary men who have labored diligently…Jesus is the one extraordinary man who cannot be replaced by man or machine.
I have many books on my shelves that are solely dedicated to the subject of church growth. All of them agree on one thing…hard work is important, but no amount of knowledge, planning, or willingness to work, can substitute for the power of Jesus working in the lives of a congregation.
May we work to open our lives up to the power of a risen Savior! Oh yeah, and let’s keep taking care of the hammer!