Casting Pearls Before Swine
Study No. 82
In the early 1960s I was a teenager searching for purpose and meaning in life. I had found a source that gave positive answers from the Bible. The Plain Truth magazine and The World Tomorrow radio broadcast presented thrilling truths which I eagerly absorbed. Each issue of the magazine was filled with daring and "straight-from-the-shoulder" bold absolutes. It amazed me how such fearless cutting-to-the-quick pronouncements could be said and printed without arousing fierce opposition.
Others in the little Oregon coastal community where I lived did not share my enthusiasm. I remember walking to the Post Office one day to happily receive my copy of The Plain Truth. To my surprise I saw someone throw away one of the magazines into the garbage can! Upon examination, I discovered additional discarded copies. My zealous fervor contrasted with their disdain.
As the years went by, I became a member of the organization that publishes these materials, the Worldwide Church of God, and later a Church employee. This organization continued to directly violate a vital principle laid down by the Savior in Matthew 7:6,
Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.
Today Not Only Day of Salvation
The Truth that the Almighty has given us is precious. It is the pearl of great price, a priceless gift that is worth more than all the riches of the universe. Because it is precious, it is rare. Narrow is the way that leads to eternal life, and few there be that find it, Matthew 7:13-14.
Only a few called out ones ó ecclesia, the Greek word for Church, means called out ones ó are now being led to the Truth that leads to eternal life. They are being called of the Father, not through their own efforts to find the Truth, and certainly not through the efforts of religious groups, John 6:44. Today is NOT the only day of salvation. It is A day of salvation, Isaiah 49:8. For those who are being called now, today is indeed the day of salvation. For those not yet called, it is NOT a day of salvation. They cannot comprehend the Truth. God will deal with them at a later time. Their day of salvation will be during the second resurrection after the Millennium, Revelation 20:11-12, Ezekiel 37. Now they donít know the Eternal because they donít have His Holy Spirit which leads one to all Truth, John 16:13. One cannot force someone else to see the Truth. That only comes from the Holy Spirit, I Corinthians 2:9-16.
Discarded Literature is Stealing
How does all this relate to those discarded magazines in the Post Office garbage can? It is this: we are not to flippantly dispense the Truth to those who do not appreciate the value of what is being taught. For years, thousands of individuals have received tons of free literature without once being asked if they really want it and use it. Religious hawkers cry aloud in the streets, coerce passers by to accept religious tracts, all in a supposed effort to "spread the gospel." Yet it is said of the Messiah that "He shall not strive, nor cry; neither shall any man hear His voice in the streets" Matthew 12:19.
The case of the discarded magazines really shows wrong on both sides. Those who received the free literature lacked the character to request that their names be removed from the mailing list. They werenít using it, and they knew it cost money to send out the material. This is a form of stealing. And secondly, the organization that sent out the material was wasting the financial resources entrusted to their care by failing to check up to see if their material was utilized. Stealing again.
After this incident, The Plain Truth and related literature gradually became watered down. It lost its punch and became weak. Even worse, corrupt worldly rulers were lauded and awarded expensive Steuben crystal. Another case of casting pearls ó sometimes even literal jewels ó before swine.
We Were All Swine Once ó Yes, Me Too!
Let me take the side of the "swine" and the "dogs" of Matthew 7:6. I wouldnít like to be called such unsavory names. The Creator compares people to such lowly creatures when they are mired in the filth of their sins, and either have not yet been called to repentance, Romans 2:4, Ezekiel 16:1-9, or were once called and later rejected their calling, II Peter 2:20-22. If you feed a hungry pig, or a pack of savage dogs, you better throw the food to them and run, or they will go after you. Saul of Tarsus was such a savage swine, a real dog, before his conversion. Everyone of us was like this before our merciful Maker cleaned us up. The Bible says that those who are blessed with the Heavenly gift of Truth are not to dispense it lavishly to those who reject it.
Some are surprised to learn that Messiah did not come to save the world at that time. He came to set a faithful, perfect example, to qualify to replace Satan the ruler of this world, to die as a holy sacrifice for our sins, and be resurrected so that we could receive eternal life at His return to rule the world. Christ often concealed His miracles. He deliberately spoke in hard-to- comprehend parables so the masses of people would not understand and would not be converted ó at that time, Matthew 13:1-15. Only a few disciples could understand, verse 16.
The Woman of Canaan
Matthew 15:21-28 gives the account of Jesus' trip to the coasts of Tyre and Sidon, outside of the bounds of Judaea. A woman of Canaan begged Him to heal her daughter who was vexed with a demon. He refused, stating, "I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." The woman would not give up! She worshipped him the more, pleading for help. Again the Master retorted, "It is not meet [fitting] to take the childrenís bread, and to cast it to dogs." Imagine this! The Savior called this sincere woman a dog! Even this cutting comment did not dissuade her. She didnít even get hurt feelings, but pleaded, "Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masterís table." She knew she wasnít an Israelite. She must have known that salvation is of the Jews, John 4:22, but she wanted it so bad she let nothing get in her way. Are we half as determined? Finally, the Savior gave in and said, "O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt." Her daughter was made whole from that very hour.
Jesus did not dispense the Truth to just anybody. Neither should we. He who could read hearts and minds knew this womanís attitude before she spoke a word. He wanted to see how much she really believed. This classic example is so much different than the approach many religious groups today in dispensing their materials.
"Billions Served . . . Millions Eaten?"
When a religious magazine proudly states that it has more circulation than Time or Newsweek, or boasts of millions of copies of tracts distributed, I think of the wit who added to the McDonaldís Hamburger motto, "Billions served . . . but only millions eaten!" Yes, billions of magazines and tracts freely given out, but how many sincerely read and followed? When will we learn to be faithful stewards of the Eternalís resources? By casting our pearls before swine, we slap in the face the giver of those pearls of Truth.
Corruption in business is a worldwide problem. It should not surprise us when large church organizations operate in the same manner. The one I worked for was a classic case of gross wasting of funds. One year, I recall the Church published a rudimentary cash flow statement. There was a $2 million discrepancy in the poor fund account, with no explanation given! Personal examples I could give of wanton waste I observed from the highest offices on down, would be too lengthy to cover at this time.
The early New Testament Church was certainly a lean organization with no fat at the top. No waste of resources. Paul walked into a city and laid the gospel on the line. A few accepted, but most rejected his message and often he had to leave town because of the great controversy he created. Paul did not set up magazine newsstands on every street corner. He didnít line up all the local television stations for a 6:30 A.M. telecast Sunday morning when nobody was watching. He didnít have time to cast his pearls of wisdom before unappreciative swine. Advertising? The miracles, fearless open preaching of bold Truth: these were more effective ó and without cost ó methods of "advertising" than all the modern gimmickry.
The Difficult Task of NOT Casting Pearls Before Swine
I have not been called to be a public evangelist. As he licked his wounds time after time, I am sure Paul wished he had not been called to preach. But, you see, he had no choice in the matter. If God does ever call someone for such a service, I'm sure they will know it. And those that hear will know Godís calling also!
The work of service that we do with the help of others through Giving & Sharing has been termed a "religious dissemination service." We are accused of casting pearls before swine. It is certainly difficult to follow Matthew 7:6.
Here are some points that we follow in a sincere attempt to follow the Bibleís teaching in this area:
(1) Materials are sent only when specifically requested.
(2) Our mailing list for Free Bible Studies such as this one goes only to those who specifically request the service. We send out renewal letters to make sure that recipients continue to desire our materials.
(3) Formal advertising is very infrequent, usually in the form of a brief announcement. Word of mouth is our chief advertiser.
(4) No requests are ever made for money. Financial statements are available to any donor for the asking. We are frugal with donated funds because these monies arenít "ours" to spend as we please. Donít you ever get nauseated when religious groups continually beg for money? Iíve got 40-50 yearsí worth of co-worker letters asking for money. Donít you get the idea that those who ask for money are doing so because they are spending lavishly and need to have a continual increase of cash coming in?
The above items are the "easy" ones. Now for some difficult issues.
(5) We frequently receive requests from poor Sabbath keepers in Africa and other Third World countries asking for free Bibles, books and literature. We have sent many items free of charge. But there are problems: corruption is worldwide. Many items never reach their destination, being siphoned out of the mail system. Also, some recipients have proven to be unscrupulous. In order not to violate Matthew 7:6, we have pursued arrangements to establish Giving & Sharing agents in Nigeria and Kenya, ministers in whom we have confidence, to be focal points for a Giving & Sharing project to help those crying out for instruction in the way of life. Many of these people are just like the woman of Canaan. They wonít give up until they get the crumbs from the table. If the Eternal opens the way, one day we want to take an international trip to meet those receiving our materials.
(6) We do not expect everyone to always agree with our articles and materials. Constructive criticism often helps us tremendously, and we seek it. Agreeing 100% with all the doctrines we teach is NOT a prerequisite to receiving our free literature. We do not claim to have all the Truth, but we do dogmatically teach and defend that which we are confident has been revealed to us by the Almighty. Show us where we are wrong by the Bible, and we will change.
(7) We pray for the Almightyís direction. It is our constant prayer that our efforts will help others follow the way that leads to life. Sometimes, the Eternal knocks us over the head to show us the right way to operate.
There are organizations dedicated solely to the purpose of attacking other church organizations. These vicious attackers provide information and sometimes help to those who are in the process of waking up to the evils of the cult or sect to which they belong. Yet the totally negative stance of these attacking groups is repulsive.
One such group is Ambassador Report. The purpose of the "AR" seems to be to destroy the truths of God such as the Sabbath, Holy Days, Tithing, Healing, Health Laws, Family. The fuel for this gristmill of hate often comes from disaffected church members who forward confidential church material to the Ambassador Report. This is the ultimate extreme in "casting pearls before swine." Giving & Sharing placed a notice in the Ambassador Report in the hopes that some would climb out of the slime pit of hate and not throw out the baby (many true doctrines) with the bath water (corrupt church organization). Swine canít appreciate gems of Truth. Food is all slop to them. It is our desire to spiritually pull some out of the fire, Jude 21-23, if it is the Eternalís will.
Are you uplifted and helped to obtain a closer personal relationship with your Maker by the services of Giving & Sharing? Then, when you receive a Renewal Letter, request that these services be continued.
There are many ways you can help this effort, and I donít mean financially. Tell us what you can do, or ask for suggestions. There is a need for someone to do word processing for us on an IBM Personal Computer or compatible. If you or someone you know can perform these services, please let us know.
Are our materials left unread and/or discarded? Or worse yet, the subject of open or clandestine attack and ridicule? Do us a favor, and be honest with yourself. Tell us you donít want our services. We would rather serve five people who were truly helped than five million who throw away our materials.
Whatever your decision, do it with all your might, Ecclesiastes 9:10. God doesnít want us to be lukewarm, Revelation 3:14-19. Any other stance than being red hot is merely one form or another of "casting pearls before swine." W
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