In this article the faithful works of brethren are given as examples of how we as individuals, can play a part in
“sowing the seed” that it may bring forth bountifully. If we took the opportunities as they presented themselves to us, how much more virile the work of the Truth would be in this city.

Most ecclesias world-wide have found that the “Learn To Read The Bible Effectively” seminar style of preaching the truth has been very effective. Many people who would not normally attend our halls to hear a public address have, nevertheless, been quite happy to attend seminars, particularly in central venues to hear God’s Word discussed. It would be fair to say that were it not for these seminars, a number of ecclesias would be getting very little response from the public in ecclesial preaching work. However, whilst it would be true to say that the general state of society has contributed to the lack of response from the public to our Sunday evening preaching work, it would not be true to say that this is the only cause. Perhaps one of the major reasons is that we as individuals, are not as committed to discussing God’s word to those whom we meet, as much as brethren and sisters of previous generations were.

The days when one of our members would bring an acquaintance to a public address seems to be almost a thing of the past. Ask yourself the question, “When did I last personally ask someone to attend one of our addresses?” Because very few are putting the effort into this work, so increasingly fewer and fewer friends are attending our Sunday evening addresses. A consideration of the commitment and enthusiasm of brethren for this work in the past years is very helpful. Their example may be an inspiration for us to do more.

There is no question that in past years a number of brethren in the city of Adelaide actively put into practice the Biblical principle, “I believe therefore have I spoken” and as a consequence much fruit came forth to the honour of Yahweh. One particular brother, who naturally in no way would wish to be named, was instrumental in introducing the truth to at least ten people who were subsequently baptized. This brother was not a “platform” speaker, but nevertheless in his own quiet and persistent way, aroused the interest of many, which subsequently led to their attendance at public addresses and later instruction. What was the “secret” of his success? In a nutshell, as he would put it, it was speaking about the gospel when opportunity arose, and patience.

He was given advice by an older brother in the Adelaide ecclesia never to give up but to keep plugging away, as one never knows the ways of God in bringing people into the Truth. Putting this into practice, he was prepared to work over a long period of time in maintaining the interest. One particular work acquaintance was spoken to about the scriptures for ten years before he finally accepted the Truth to be followed two years later by his wife, and then subsequently his sons and their wives. So like an acorn, with small beginnings, eventually the whole family was involved.

Another work-mate was unfortunately in the habit of breaking tools whilst working in the factory and came to “our brother” for help in fixing up the mess he got himself into. “Our brother” was happy to help, but in the process when the opportunity presented itself, dropped into the conversation the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, and before long the work-mate too accepted the truth. It is a scriptural injunction to do good to all men and through an act of kindness in the workplace, discussion on the truth ensued leading to baptism.

In both the examples described, brother Robert Roberts’ book, Christendom Astray, played an important role. The clear exposing of error and the forthright presentation of the truth by brother Roberts was accepted by those searching for truth.

Another interesting anecdote illustrates how a little comment can lead to big things. “Our brother” was giving a work-mate a lift home from work one evening and was asked the question by the workmate, “Do you think it is OK for me to play golf on Sundays?” “Our brother” replied perhaps a little abruptly, “Why worry—you’re not a Christian”. This somewhat took the work-mate back a step or two as he naturally thought he had Christianity in his blood, being a Methodist. The abrupt reply soon had him looking into the scriptures more deeply and, before long, again with the help of Christendom Astray, he too sought baptism.

Another brother at the same work place was very surprised to hear of this news, as he always looked upon this particular work-mate as one who wouldn’t be told anything! The work-mate may have had some stubbornness in everyday things, but in the matters that really count, he had a meek and contrite spirit. As a general word of advice, “our brother’s” recommendation is that we should always be prepared to “nibble away” as it were in speaking about the truth with others, and not to overload the hearers with too much too quickly. If someone is interested in the truth, then they will take the bait.

Another very important factor is to be prepared to make our friends feel welcome at our meetings. One particular work-mate went to a meeting to hear an address and on the Sunday evening in question “our brother” was unable to attend. Unfortunately, no one spoke to the work-mate at the hall, which had a bad effect on him and he never attended again.

Anecdotes from another work-place make interesting reading. It is not so easy to camouflage the place in question but we can at least withhold the names of those involved. A brother became involved from time to time in discussions with a work-mate on all sorts of general day to day matters. The work-mate was interested in politics and had leanings towards communism. However, over a period of time, discussions turned to the scriptures and the work-mate became interested in the Bible. Like the story in the book of Esther, the brother did not reveal his hand as to his religion. He was more concerned in getting the work-mate interested in the Bible. In course of time a Town Hall lecture was held, and the work-mate, of his own volition, attended to find to his surprise as he walked up the steps to the Town Hall “our brother” standing there. “So you are one of them”, he exclaimed! After that, regular discussions were held at work whilst waiting to go on shift to drive the trams and buses, or quite often at the end of a shift. These discussions would go on for hours, even on some occasions to the early hours of the morning whilst sitting in a car at the Hackney Depot. On one occasion whilst sitting in the car at the depot at 2.30am discussing the Truth, the police turned up and shining the torch into the car asked what these two “suspicious characters” were up to at such an hour! The brother was eventually invited to the work-mate’s home for further discussions but his wife “wouldn’t have a bar of this new-fangled religion”. The brother’s persistence and charm, however, won the day as both husband and wife were eventually baptized and all their children came into the truth. A further happy ending to the story is that one of the brother’s daughters ended up marrying one of the work-mate’s sons.

But the story doesn’t end there.

The newly converted work-mate in time became a very diligent preacher of the truth to his fellow work-mates at the depot. One particular work-mate who was of Greek nationality become ill and the new brother visited him in hospital and left him some leaflets to read. In time he too was baptized, although alas his wife, son and daughter would have none of it. This however did not stop the new brother from speaking “a word in season” to his work-mates. Being an older man, he was respected in the depot for his demeanour and on one occasion became involved in discussions with another Greek work-mate. This work-mate had become disillusioned with life in general and with the Greek Orthodox Church in particular, because the local priest had left his wife and two sons, gone overseas and become involved in a night-club. The workmate expressed his dismay that such a thing could happen to a priest, who should have known better, being “a man of God”, and one who presumably knew the Bible. The brother replied,

“Why do you think the priest should know the Bible?”

“Well, of course, he should know the Bible,” the work-mate replied, “He is a priest, isn’t he?”

“Yes,” replied the brother, “But why should that mean that he knows the Bible?”

The work-mate thought this was a strange comment coming from a man who, he thought, was of the Greek Orthodox religion, the same as himself.

“Aren’t you a Greek Orthodox?” he said.

“Well I am orthodox,” (meaning that he had found the truth) the brother replied, “but not Greek Orthodox.”

“What do you mean?” the work-mate asked.

“I am a Christadelphian,” the brother replied.

The work-mate liked the meaning of the name because it was made up of Greek words. From this exchange, further discussions developed on the truth, leading eventually to the baptisms of the work-mate, his wife, his brother and his wife, and finally, the elderly parents!

It is interesting to reflect on the little things friends notice when they attend our meetings. The work-mate above was somewhat amused and a little surprised at an incident which occurred at the first Sunday evening lecture he attended. The subject was on baptism. There were the usual two glasses of water on the table for the chairman and the speaker. The work-mate found it strange that the speaker, having consumed one glass of water (he presumably was either nervous or very hot), then used the chairman’s glass of water (rather selfishly the work-mate thought), to demonstrate that sprinkling (by dipping his fingers in the chairman’s glass) was not Bible baptism! The work-mate thought that the least the speaker could have done was to dip his fingers in his own glass of water and then consume it, rather than spoiling the chairman’s drink. Fortunately, he was not put off by this observation.

Well, time and space would fail me to go on and speak about the diligent, faithful labours of many brethren and sisters who in their own ways preached the word and played their own small part in sowing the seed.

Many a brother or sister has been known to spread the word by leaving pamphlets at railway stations, on train seats, or by striking up conversations in public transport. One very faithful brother came into the truth after finding a leaflet in the gutter.

Many older brethren and sisters will have fond memories of our late brother Lindsay Colquhoun who, although he himself never owned a car, didn’t let that stop him persuading those who did have a car to take him to all parts of the State to preach the word. Perhaps a little more commitment and sacrifice on our part would lead to more friends attending our meetings.

In the Sermon on the Mount our Lord stated that we are the light of the world and as such our light should not be hid under a bushel. Let us be like the apostle Peter who exclaimed before the authorities, “We cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard”. God gives the increase but we can play our small part by sowing the seed, and by faithfulness, persistence and humility, bring forth fruit to the honour of His name.