Do YOU realize just how great this Work of God is becoming? Do you realize there is NO ACTIVITY ON EARTH LIKE IT? Do you realize WHAT is making it great—just WHAT MAKES IT TICK?
I have said the living Christ has DRAFTED YOU—and me—into HIS service, as HIS Co-Workers. But He certainly did not compel or FORCE you to become His Co-Worker—He has merely granted you and me the matchless PRIVILEGE of helping in HIS Work. You voluntarily accepted His draft. It was not like the ARMY draft.
A New York radio station representative flew out to Pasadena, to see me in my office. He said: "Mr. Armstrong, as you know, we sell radio time to just about all of the people who conduct world- wide religious broadcasts. And I find The WORLD TOMORROW 'image' is CHANGING. They used to be downright HOSTILE to The WORLD TOMORROW. But now I find their attitude is changing to a sort of reluctant admiration. 'WHAT MAKES IT TICK?' they ask. They can't understand WHY it is so successful—WHY it keeps GROWING so rapidly and steadily, year after year."
"It's NO SECRET," I told him. "If they want to know what makes it tick—what makes it grow—what is changing and converting so many lives—I'll be GLAD to explain JUST HOW IT'S DONE."
You know, it seems like an incredible paradox! Of course I get persecuted. If I didn't, I'd be real frightened—because Jesus said that HIS true ministers would suffer persecution. They persecuted HIM. And He said they would also persecute those HE is using. They called HIM a "False Prophet."
Those who persecute and falsely accuse us just can't understand WHY this great Work of God prospers and grows. We teach and DO the things THEY think NOBODY would support—the very things THEY think would PREVENT growth and success.
Why, THEY would NEVER teach as we do, or DO as we do—BECAUSE they think nobody would follow them if they did.
But YOU, as a Co-Worker with Jesus Christ in HIS Work, are certainly entitled to know exactly WHAT makes this Great Work "tick," to use the words of this station representative.
I told him that these other people to whom he sells radio time could also succeed and constantly GROW, IF they would begin all over, and do as Christ led me to do. But, of course, you see, THEY would never do that for the very reason they suppose that NOBODY would follow them if they did!
Now Jesus Christ said there would be "False Prophets," deceiving the MANY—deceiving the WHOLE WORLD! But this deceived world does not recognize WHO the real FALSE PROPHETS are!
Would a False Prophet start out teaching the very MOST UNPOPULAR teachings? Would he preach a gospel that would be the very HARDEST for people to accept and follow? Would he try to make money for himself out of it by NEVER asking the public for money on his broadcast—NEVER putting a price on his literature, but always GIVING everything, FREE and simply relying on GOD? Would he figure THAT is the way to build a big following?
HOW did the living Jesus Christ START this present phase of God's Work? NOT LIKE ANY OTHER WORK ON EARTH WAS STARTED!
He started it by breaking up and crushing what I had not realized was my IDOL. As a young man I was ambitious. I was filled with vanity and conceit. My GOAL in life was to be regarded as IMPORTANT by the important men of the world. I had thrown myself in the business contacts with many of the great and near great of this world. That included the TOP bankers, of the BIGGEST banks in Wall Street, New York, and South La Salle Street, Chicago. It included many of the great industrialists—Presidents and Chairmen of many of the largest manufacturing corporations in the Middle West—including such corporations as Ford Motor, J. I. Case, Studebaker, Dalton Adding Machine, National Cash Register, John Deere, Moline Plow, Goodyear, etc., etc.
When He had brought me low, He caused me to be angered into the first real STUDY of the Bible in my life. This study led to absolute PROOF of God's existence, and of the infallible INSPIRATION of the Bible as God's INSTRUCTION-BOOK to mankind. It led me to God's TRUE teaching—to the ASTONISHING discovery that the teaching of organized "Christianity" today, in many BASIC points, is precisely THE OPPOSITE of what JESUS taught—of what the original Apostles taught—of what the Apostle Paul taught. It opened my eyes in utter AMAZEMENT to see that the customs JESUS observed and followed, setting us an example—the very same customs the apostles and early Church observed—ARE CONDEMNED by the ministers of organized "Christianity" today! And I was dumbfounded to see, IN MY BIBLE, that God's Word CONDEMNS the pagan customs that are falsely labeled "Christian" today!
These things had been PROVED! I was faced with the most momentous decision of my life. Would I accept and follow GOD'S teaching, so Plain in the Bible? I thought: "What would my former business associates and contacts think? They'll think I'm a religious fanatic!"
It meant CRUSHING OUT of my mind and heart what had been my life's GOAL—that desire to be regarded as IMPORTANT by important people in the world! I began to realize that this life's GOAL was only MY IDOL. It was having ANOTHER GOD BEFORE THE TRUE GOD! It broke the very first Commandment! It meant REPENTING of that vain ambition—repenting of what I now saw was my own rotten, deceitful, vain, wicked HUMAN NATURE—repenting of what I WAS, as well as the sins I had committed. It meant UNCONDITIONAL SURRENDER to God, and an ABOUT-FACE life, to LIVE BY every Word of instruction and example in God's Word.
The last thing in this world I wanted to be was a Minister of the Gospel. But by force of circumstances He brought about, the living Christ PLUNGED me into it. He changed my entire attitude, life goal, and direction. What had seemed foolishness before, became of SUPREME IMPORTANCE. What had seemed important before, became FOOLISHNESS. He put within me His Holy Spirit.
I had always said, before, "I just CAN'T UNDERSTAND the Bible." Now it became an open Book—plain and clear. A little at a time, I began to UNDERSTAND!
Seven years after this change had begun (1926), I was (1933) employed in the ministry by a local state conference of people who came CLOSER to what I found to be the BIBLE TRUTH than any people I knew. But, just being CLOSE to it—having, as they did, MORE truth than any group or denomination I knew—was not enough. It was too much like the egg that was "ALMOST FRESH." I discovered some error, which they admitted was error, but they refused to correct it, saying they would lose their following, and the financial support of PEOPLE. God revealed additional TRUTH to me, which their leaders admitted to be truth—but refused to accept or teach it.
In the late summer of 1933 these people demanded that I teach and act CONTRARY to the Bible on a certain point (it concerned water baptism). It was knuckle under to self-willed MEN, CONTRARY to GOD'S instruction, or give up the salary. Mrs. Armstrong stood firmly with me, in being willing to give up the small salary—our only visible means of having even enough to eat.
Then it was that we saw that we could not serve God faithfully and be paid by MEN who could use the salary to whip us into line AGAINST God's Word. God PROMISED (Philippians 4:19) to supply ALL OUR NEED. This is GOD'S WORK, and Jesus Christ HEADS it. He caused us to RELY SOLELY ON HIM, not on men, from that time on.
Once we had made that decision, in just a few weeks Christ OPENED THE DOOR of RADIO. I first went on the air in October 1933. But that was not The WORLD TOMORROW program. It did not start until the first Sunday in 1934. But, the door was OPENED.
With no salary, no car—and I had a suit of clothes for every day in the week, and I said, jokingly, "this is IT"—I walked, when I was not taken by someone, for miles down country roads to preach to a few people in a country schoolhouse.
I was OFFERED big financial support—teaming up with a noted evangelist—IF I would quit preaching the TRUTH of the BIBLE, and preach what those who today persecute and call me names do preach. But Christ didn't let me do it. He kept me FAITHFUL with His Word!
Now I said, some distance back in this letter, that if these people who WONDER "what makes this Work tick" would begin all over, and do as I did, they also could succeed and grow, and grow and GROW.
But you see, they can't believe that. They simply can't BELIEVE that teaching the HARDEST, MOST DIFFICULT way of life that runs counter to the beliefs and ways of this world, could ever succeed. They can't believe anyone would support them, if they forsook these popular teachings and customs of this world.
They are like the man who said to me, in 1933 right after I had thrown away that salary: "Mister, YOU WON'T GO FAR. You're preaching the truth of the Bible—FULL STRENGTH. But I tell you, it's too strong for people. Don't you know the Bible itself says it is like a two-edged sword, cutting people both ways? I tell you, PEOPLE WON'T SUPPORT IT."
But I was relying on JESUS CHRIST not "people." I knew, of course, that He was not going to just rain down thousand-dollar bills from the sky. But if He had drafted ME—if He had laid it on my heart to yield to Him—to follow HIM instead of the world—He could lay it on the hearts of others also to become Co-Workers with Him.
But there is MORE!
The living Christ led me to see that neither He, nor the apostles, nor even Moses of old, ever begged or solicited support from THE PUBLIC. He led me to see that God caused Moses to send out a proclamation for contributions to GOD'S OWN PEOPLE—that God established TITHING, 'way before Moses, in the days of Abraham, and that Jesus taught tithing, and so did Paul—and that Paul asked GOD'S people for special contributions. But NEVER THE PUBLIC! Only God's people—only those whose hearts were in it.
The living Jesus also caused me to see that we must not PUT a PRICE on the Gospel—whether preached, or published in literature. "Freely," said Jesus, "ye have received, freely GIVE."
So CHRIST, who heads this Work, saw to it that we would never SELL the Gospel. God's teaching is: "BUY the Truth, and SELL IT NOT." (Proverbs 23:23.)
Now did it take COURAGE to start putting out The PLAIN TRUTH, and other literature, and to OBEY and "SELL IT NOT?" Well, no, as I remember, I don't think it seemed that way to me. When I had first thought of publishing a magazine to be called The PLAIN TRUTH, back in 1927, I had planned, then, to try to get it on the news stands, with a price on it. But Christ didn't let me start it until 1934—seven years later. And by this time, my wife and I had learned to RELY ON CHRIST. We had given up a salary to do this, and to remain FAITHFUL with His Word. And now, 1934, we KNEW God commanded us not to SELL His Truth. We KNEW He had PROMISED to supply all our need. We had set out to OBEY Him and to TRUST Him. I don't think it ever occurred to me that it might take COURAGE to refuse to SELL the Truth. We were IN THE HABIT of relying on Christ. It did take FAITH—but HE gave us even that faith. It was automatic. God said, "NO PRICE" on His Truth. That settled it!
Now SUM UP. What, after all, "makes it tick?"
It seems INCREDIBLE! Everyone would say, "People won't support it."
But Christ raised up this Work—preaching the PLAIN TRUTH. God's Truth CUTS—it cuts right AGAINST human nature—it angers some people—it corrects, it reproves, it shows people what SINNERS they are—it shows them WHAT THEIR SINS ARE! People don't LIKE to be criticized, reproved, rebuked, told they are DOING WRONG. It is the most UNpopular teaching there is! It's the HARDEST to accept. Yet Christ guided this Work exactly THAT WAY! He caused it to start out THE SMALLEST, like the proverbial grain of mustard seed. It started with NO MONEY—NO CAPITAL—NO GROUP, ORGANIZATION, OR SPONSOR of any kind—none but the living GOD, that is!
Christ caused this Work to start out proclaiming His Truth straight from the shoulder—pulling no punches—and these punches DID hit a lot of people! It did correct, reprove and rebuke. It did show people just WHAT were their sins! It DID "cry aloud and spare not, and show God's people their sins" (Isaiah 58:1).
It never even ASKED the public for support.
It put a price on NOTHING!
Co-Workers, let me tell you, THAT is NOT the formula any "False Prophet" would figure would build him a big racket and make him rich!
On the contrary, THAT is CHRIST'S formula which HE has used, and none of our persecutors has DARED to use that formula, RELYING SOLELY ON THE LIVING GOD!
WHAT, then, has "MADE IT TICK?"
Most certainly NOTHING that I or you Co-Workers have done!
I'll tell you what MAKES IT TICK! It is the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD. It is the FACT that the living JESUS CHRIST is heading and directing it—using you and me merely as His Co-Workers!
It is THE POWER OF CHRIST—the POWER of the HOLY SPIRIT OF GOD—the GREATEST P O W E R there is! THAT'S what makes it tick!
Oh, WHAT a privilege for you and me to be allowed to HAVE A PART in so great a Work! WHAT a privilege to be given A PART in CHANGING THE WORLD—in preparing the way for the second coming of Jesus Christ IN ALL POWER AND GLORY, to RULE all nations, and bring the world PEACE, and prosperity, and happiness, and joy—AND ETERNAL LIFE! He is coming to SAVE the world.
Even now, He is converting five to ten thousand more every year, to be Kings and Priests with us in the Kingdom of God! Even now, more than 35 MILLION PEOPLE hear the Message IN POWER every week! Even now, London daily newspapers are saying members of Parliament are being stirred up by The WORLD TOMORROW!
Jesus Christ has caused this great Work to grow—to become GREAT, and world-wide—by laying it on the hearts of YOU CO-WORKERS to do YOUR part in it by even sacrificing some material things, in order to help finance HIS Work. But He BLESSES YOU in so doing!
We are now NEAR THE END of this phase of the Work. But that means we are near the BEGINNING of the BRILLIANTLY HAPPY AND JOYFUL WORLD TOMORROW!
So, dear Co-Workers, let's stir up our enthusiasm, and DO OUR PART to KEEP THIS WORK GROWING—AND GROWING!
For some reason, this year, the income of tithes and offerings from Co-Workers seems to lag AFTER THE MIDDLE OF THE MONTH. Send what you can by return mail—but if, later in the month, you can send an additional offering you have not been sending, IT WILL HELP more than I can say.m Of course, if your circumstances work out that way, send it in weekly.
PRAY with me, fervently, that God will put it on the hearts and in the minds of more radio listeners and PLAIN TRUTH readers to BECOME Co-Workers with us. You know I can't ASK them to do that, it must come from them, voluntarily—but our GOD is able to lay it on their hearts—to put THEIR HEARTS IN THIS WORK.
The need is greater than ever, this year!
I have mentioned loans frequently. I don't want to ask any to make it a LOAN, IF you can make it a contribution—BUT when there is a larger sum—even several thousand dollars—you simply CAN'T give outright as a contribution (deductible on income tax, of course)—but don't need it right now, the living CHRIST can surely PUT IT TO BIG AND EFFECTIVE WORK if you send it as a LOAN until you need part or all of it. We have been asked to repay more loans this year than ever before, so we do NEED additional new loans to replace them. I sincerely hope, though, that none will ask partial or total repayment unless absolutely necessary.
I seldom think to mention it, but many of our Co-Workers are making WILLS, so that all or most of whatever they have will go to this Work, in event of their deaths. Mrs. Armstrong and I, of course, have done that. I would suggest you write our Legal Department, and they will give you free advice as to how best to do this. All members of our Legal Department are converted people, full time in God's Work.
And I might remind all Co-Workers that both Ambassador College and Radio Church of God are recognized by the Internal Revenue Bureau, and up to 30% of income, all tithes and contributions are deductible on your income tax. For tax reasons, it is better that the larger share of it be—made out to Ambassador College, IF your contributions are anywhere near 30%.
Again I'm sending this AIRMAIL, because the need is still URGENT.
Co-Workers, GOD BLESS YOU! We are together in a WONDERFUL WORK, as human instruments of Christ! And those of you of small or even very meager incomes, do you realize that to God even the widows' mites meant more than the BIG sums of rich men? Don't feel bad if you can't give more—CHRIST understands—and so do I.
And Mrs. Armstrong and I both want to THANK the MANY of you who sent congratulations and letters of LOVE, on learning of our 49th anniversary. We know you love us—even as WE DO YOU! PRAY for the Work! We all ARE being blest.