Too few laymen realize the responsibility that is theirs as members of the Church. For the most part they have the tendency to sit passively in the pew and leave to the minister not only the preaching responsibility but the task of directing every other phase of the church’s activities.
But even more than that there is lacking in many laymen a vital experience with the living Christ, and this makes church membership more a matter of social contacts than of knowing and surrendering to the will of the Saviour.
The early Church was really founded by laymen, and we can learn much by looking at them, studying their backgrounds, and discerning what it was that sent them out to turn the world right side up and bring into reality the church of the risen Lord.
These were ordinary men who performed an extraordinary task.
Matthew had come from the Internal Revenue Service—he was a tax collector who actually levied taxes for a foreign government.
Mark was a lay companion of Paul and Peter and also Barnabas his cousin who had thought so much of Christ that he sold all that he had and submitted it to the common good.
Luke, one of the best educated of these laymen, was a physician and also a historian and writer. To him we owe the clear and factual books of Luke and the Acts.
John was a fisherman who became the beloved companion of our Lord and who wrote one of the four gospels, three epistles, and to whom was given the revelation of things yet to come—the last book in the biblical canon.
Peter, Andrew, and James, also fishermen, left their nets and under the hand of God went out to preach the story of the Cross and the empty tomb.
Paul, the brilliant university graduate, could have become a rabbi but he met Christ on the Damascus ...1
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