I am having to rush this most URGENT letter to you AIRMAIL. Today I am mailing you, under separate cover, a copy of the general semiannual letter which I like personally to write to ALL PLAIN TRUTH subscribers. December issue circulation, over 850,000!
That bigger general letter will have to come by the much slower and lower cost bulk-mailing rate. We simply cannot afford to send out this big mass mailing either first class or airmail. Of course there is no request for contributions in this general letter—because, as you know we never ask any but our own family of Co-Workers for financial help.
But to YOU, as one the living Christ has privileged to be a Co-Worker in His Work, I must rush this short letter airmail. The Work is faced with an URGENT problem—and an annual test of faith! It comes every year at this time. Already the stores are getting out Christmas decorations!
NOT ONLY does the receipt of tithes and offerings take a nose dive the latter half of almost every month, but at this season most people have their minds and interests so much on Christmas shopping —exchanging gifts AMONG THEMSELVES—that many seem to ignore or FORGET the living CHRIST and His Work!
Right now we are coming to Thanksgiving Day -intended to be a day for GIVING THANKS TO GOD for blessing us so abundantly. We in America are blessed as NO OTHER NATION was ever blessed before. At this time, we ought to read the first chapter of Ephesians, and REALIZE what we have to be THANKFUL for!
Here is a small portion of it, so beautifully rendered in the Moffatt Translation: "BLESSED be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who in Christ has blessed us with every spiritual blessing within the heavenly sphere! . . . destining us in love to be His sons through Jesus Christ. . . . SO RICHLY has God LAVISHED upon us His grace, granting us complete insight and understanding of the open secret of His will, . . ." (Emphasis added.)
How THANKFUL we should be! Not only for understanding, for being called to be God's SONS, for His GRACE—but also for being PRIVILEGED to be, as the Apostle Paul said, "Laborers together with God"—or. as in the Revised Standard Version, "We are FELLOW- WORKMEN" with God. (I Cor. 3:9.)
Yet, at this season, when the living Christ needs our GIFTS the more urgently, for HIS WORK which He actively HEADS, DIRECTS, and BLESSES so abundantly—it is rather disheartening to see so many FORGETTING Christ, or withholding any gift for Him, taking money that COULD help REAP AN ABUNDANT SPIRITUAL HARVEST, and SPENDING LAVISHLY on Christmas gifts, EXCHANGING these gifts with human friends, acquaintances, family and relatives!
You know, I am sure, that "Christmas"—December 25—is NOT Jesus' birthday! He was not born anywhere near December 25. Rather, originally, the PAGANS celebrated this day as the birthday of the SUN-god! By the calendar then used, December 25 was regarded as the nativity (BIRTH) of the SUN, because the sun begins to lengthen, and the power of the sun to increase, (in the northern hemisphere), from that time of year.
I have heard people, and even ministers, say: "Yes, I know it was originally a pagan holiday. But WE use it to worship CHRIST." I wonder if you ever noticed what GOD SAYS about using PAGAN customs to worship GOD. GOD says: "Take heed of thyself that thou be not snared by following them (pagan customs) . . . and that thou enquire NOT after their gods, saying, 'How did these nations serve their gods? even so will I do likewise.' THOU SHALT NOT do so unto the Eternal thy God." (Deut. 12:30-31.)
Co-Workers, REMEMBER JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE! We may give our gifts to the LIVING Christ. Think a moment! Wouldn't it be rather ridiculous if people planned a birthday party—everyone brought a birthday present, and then SNUBBED the one whose birthday it was, and exchanged the presents back and forth among themselves? Wouldn't it make more sense IF they think they are giving BIRTHDAY gifts, to GIVE THOSE GIFTS TO CHRIST, for HIS WORK?
People suppose the custom was started by the wise men from the East, who brought gifts for the Christ-child. But they did not bring their gifts until a considerable time AFTER His birth. And they were NOT birth-day presents, at all! It was CUSTOM, on any date, when paying a visit to a king or ruler, to present a gift. People from overseas who visit President Johnson bring with them a gift to the White House. Actually, the CUSTOM of exchanging gifts on December 25 started hundreds of years before Jesus' birth!
JESUS CHRIST IS ALIVE TODAY! He directs, and blesses this WORK of His! HE IS REAPING A TREMENDOUS SPIRITUAL HARVEST through this Work! Yet this great harvest COULD BE SO MUCH BIGGER—if only there were more laborers HELPING! Jesus said: "The HARVEST truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; PRAY YE, therefore, the Lord of the harvest, that He will send forth laborers into the harvest." (Matt. 9:37-38.) Fellow-laborers, we need TWICE as many Co-Workers HELPING, with their PRAYERS, as well as their tithes and offerings, to REAP THE SPIRITUAL HARVEST!
Right now, the HARVEST of THIS WORK is some eight to ten thousand precious lives every year—being baptized by our own ministers upon real repentance and faith in Jesus Christ as personal Saviour—their lives CHANGED-receiving God's Holy Spirit! IT COULD BE DOUBLE THAT if we had more fellow-LABORERS! Jesus said PRAY for God to supply them! WILL YOU OBEY THAT COMMAND—and do it fervently, believingly, putting your heart into your prayers? And keep at it PERSISTENTLY—prevailingly!
THINK how much WE have to be THANKFUL for! I do have to ask you, in Jesus' name, as one who voluntarily, without any request from me, became Christ's Co-Worker, to come quickly to the rescue, that God's precious Work may survive this difficult month of December! It may mean SACRIFICE of some things we have wanted. But this Work is the most PRECIOUS of ALL!
Also, at this time, if you are one who may have a larger sum you are not free to give at this time, if you would place it, as a LOAN, where CHRIST is directing its use and let it be WORKING IN HIS HANDS until needed, it will help greatly. If later you can make it a donation, it is deductible on your income tax. If not, it will be promptly repaid as you find it is needed.
Circumstances force me to ask you to send in, by return AIRMAIL, the largest amount God has made possible—and, as it becomes possible, other offerings as frequently as available. WE ARE ALL GREATLY BLESSED! THANK YOU from the heart!