The daily readings introduce three cases for our consideration: Solomon, the Rechabites, and the disciples.
Solomon’s case is summarized in these words: “The LORD was angry with Solomon, because his heart was turned from the LORD God of Israel…to go after other gods…” (I Kgs. 11:9-10).
In the case of the Rechabites who were determined not to drink wine (a family tradition), Jeremiah stated, “Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, Because ye have obeyed the commandment…” (Jer. 35:18-19).
What a contrast! Solomon failed to keep the commandment of the Heavenly Father. The Rechabites were successful in keeping the commandment of an earthly father.
The rich young ruler observed all the commandments Jesus set out for him. The rich young ruler had asked Jesus, “What shall I do to inherit eternal life?” When Jesus laid out several commands, the man said he had observed them all. One thing was lacking, however: “Go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor…and come, take up the cross and follow me” (Mk. 10:21). To this, the young man went away grieved. He could not make the right decision.
Solomon allowed his heart to be turned away, but the Rechabites kept the way of their father. What then is the secret of success?
Do not FAIL.
F — Friendship with God.
A — Attachment to the truth.
I — Imitation of the faithful.
L — Love the brotherhood.
Friendship with God
“Know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). Do we realize the enormity of responsibility we have in this regard, day by day, as we try to be “strangers and pilgrims”?
Abraham did. He was called the “Friend of God” (James 2:23).
Attachment to the truth
Call to mind the Rechabites, who had built up a strong family tradition of abstinence from wine. Are we maintaining our Christadelphian identity in such habits as daily Bible reading, mid-week Bible class, brothers’ or sisters’ classes, campaigns, fraternals, camps, and Bible schools? How strong is our attachment line? Remember the house of Stephanas – they “addicted” themselves to the ministry of the saints (I Cor. 16:15).
Imitation of the faithful
“Be ye followers (same word as imitators) of me as I am of Jesus,” Paul writes. We can add some other New Testament worthies to those in the Old Testament of whom the world was not worthy.
Love the brotherhood
James’ definition of pure religion is this: “To visit the widows and fatherless in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27). At the judgment seat, the deciding issues are:
“I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat;
I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink;
I was a stranger, and ye took me in;
Naked, and ye clothed me;
I was sick, and ye visited me;
I was in prison, and ye came unto me” (Matt. 25:35-36)
Jesus identifies the “I” as one of the least of his disciples
How Jesus succeeded
Jesus had a mission to accomplish. How was he successful? He was one with the Father in purpose. He exemplified mercy and grace, longsuffering, goodness and truth – a perfect imitation of the Lord God. And he lived to the extent of his life, the salvation which we now commemorate. He did not F-A-I-L.
Clive Drepaul at the Guyana Family Camp