Files don’t contain everything. This was one finding by the burglars who broke into the office of psychiatrist Dr. Lewis Fielding in search of information to be used against Daniel Ellsberg. E. Howard Hunt must have been very disappointed over the psychiatrist’s files. But not as disappointed, perhaps, as he might have been with Mr. Ellsberg’s rabbi’s files!

Clergymen often keep only the scantiest records. When the chief element is spiritual, something as tangible as written records might seem out of place. But the clergyman who doesn’t keep files of any kind is depriving himself of an extremely useful tool.

To knock filing is inconsistent. The Bibles we read and preach from are indexed. What else are verse numberings but a filing tool? One of the most valuable volumes in Bible study is an analytical concordance, such as Young’s or Strong’s. Both are fat word files.

Among the benefits filing offers the minister are these:

1. Filing conserves time. Saving the right papers can save time (which in turn may help us “save” others). Most clergymen would agree that knowing where to look for answers is almost as good as knowing them. When one comes across a well articulated position, he does well to keep it handy. Filing spares our minds from needless wheel-spinning.

2. It saves duplication. Filing is nothing more than efficiency and good stewardship applied to ideas. A minister who files nothing, not even his sermons, will quite probably get bogged down in needless duplication and frustrating repetition.

3. It develops a better memory. Memorization skills are increased by reinforcement and review. Filing material and periodically consulting recorded information makes repeated impressions on the mind. Recollection comes easier. It is ...

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