I have had some request for my I Wish sermon from the Alabama New Years meeting. I humbly present it:
In the September 1939 issue of the Old Paths Advocate Brother Homer Gay had an article titled “I Wish”. Brother Gay began his article by writing:
Someone has wisely said that it doesn’t cost anything to wish. But, how often do we hear the brethren wishing for this and that. “I wish we could have a meeting; I wish brother so and so would not be so hard in his talks; I wish the preachers would not harp on this or that so much; I wish the preacher would bring his family with him; or, not bring them with him; I wish the preacher would dress neater; I wish the preacher would be more common like the rest of us. “Well, now while the others are wishing, suppose that I wish a little”.
Brother Gay then goes on to give several of his wishes, some of which are;
I wish that all of the members would attend worship every Lord’s day (Heb. 10:25). Then, if someone were absent, we would know to go and see about them, and would not be afraid of running in on a domino game, or of finding him trying to make a horse trade.
I wish our brethren would take an interest in singing and try to make it possible to have, at least, one singing school taught in their community every year. If we pay taxes and go to other expenses to have our children taught how to read, etc., then why not go to a little expense to have them taught how to read music?
I wish that we would all be able to sing with the “spirit and with the understanding,” and thus “make melody in our heart to the Lord”—(l Cor. 14; Col. 3:16).
I wish that the preachers would all preach the same thing in every congregation. Remember Paul says “the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others” (2 Tim. 2:2).
I wish that we would all “follow after the things which make for peace,” Rom. 14:19, and not be always trying to find something else to disturb the churches. Remember, Jesus said “blessed is the peace- maker.”
Brother Gay concluding by saying, “I wish you would read this again.”
Brother Gay passed away in 1958. I was only 5 years old, so I don’t remember him. I have heard many stories about Brother Gay and read many of his writings. I remember when I got a copy of his book, A Good Soldier published by Ronny Wade. He had a sermon in that book titled Horse Sense. I never heard Brother Gay preach it, but as a young boy I would go in my room and preach that sermon, and man could I ever preach it. My mama always told me she enjoyed it.
I am thankful for Brother Gay and other old soldiers of the cross who stood firmly for the truth. With much respect for Brother Gay, I would like to offer my own Wish List, some of which you may or not agree with.
I wish some parents would teach their children that Church is more important than recreation. There are some parents who have their children involved in every kind of activity you can think of; from band to ball to ballet. There are parents who can drive 100’s of miles to take their children to a ball tournament or some other recreational event, but can’t drive 50 miles to take them to a Gospel Meeting. Then when their children grow up and don’t care anything about the church, they wonder “where did we go wrong?” and cry on some preacher’s shoulder.
I wish people would be more considerate of their home congregations. Some people just leave their home congregation willy-nilly with no concern about the number of people who are going to be there to conduct services. Some people schedule their vacation and run off during their meeting. Some people allow everyone else to do all the work and put forth no effort to make their home congregation stronger.
I wish people would get to Church on time. I am convinced that if some people treated their jobs like they do the Church they would not have a job very long. Who would think of constantly being late for their job? Yet there are people who are consistently late to the services of the Church. Not just a onetime thing, but constantly late. People know what time services start and they should make their plans accordingly. Being on time would help out the man who is making arrangements. He wouldn’t have to wait until the last minute to get the services set up. I suppose he could call people on their cell phone and tell them what to do, but suppose there should be a wreck. Being on time would also cut down on the noise being made during the services and it would not sound like a herd of cattle stampeding as the late-comers arrive.
I wish people would go to the bathroom before services instead of traipsing in and out and disrupting services. Some congregations need an urologist more than a preacher.
I wish some preachers would not criticize men who speak out and write against questionable practices. To do so is to play the part of Ahab. 1 Kings 18:17-18 “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel; but thou, and thy father’s house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim”. Such men become an enabler for more and more moves away from the truth and they need not cry “foul” and complain that they have been mistreated when they, themselves are called into question. By their fruits shall ye know them, Matt.6:24.
I wish men would not condone sin when they like the person or the group or person practicing it. Isa 5:20 “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter”!
I wish men would not stand idly by while error is being taught. Men should stand up for the truth and fight against error as they are taught to do in the Bible. Jude 3 “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints”.
I wish song leaders or song pickers would choose songs appropriate for the occasion. Don’t lead hard, difficult songs during the Lord’s Day worship. Make sure you have all the parts for the song you are leading. I am all for people learning new songs. Anybody who knows me knows how important I think singing is. But know your limitations. You might want to practice a new song on Wednesday night or at the evening Sunday service before you bring it out on Sunday morning.
I wish young Christians and other Christians considering marriage would marry only in the Lord. God forbid ancient Israel from marrying people of other nations Deut. 7:1-4. If in times past we have examples of God’s people being corrupted by marrying people of other nations what makes us think that today would be any different. Paul’s instruction to the widow was to marry only in the Lord 1Cor.7:39. This is good advice to any Christian contemplating marriage.
I wish Christian sisters would stop posting scriptures on Facebook, in clear violation of Paul’s prohibition on women teaching in public, 1 Cor. 14:34 and 2 Tim. 2:12. And while I’m on Facebook, I wished people would watch what they like on Facebook. I’ve seen some Christians like some things that are as unscriptural as they can be.
I wish some preachers would be more considerate of people’s time. There is no need to hold people hostage. The people you are preaching to more than likely have to get up and go to work, or they may have children that need to go to school the next day. Maybe they have traveled a long way to attend your meeting. Remember the mind will only absorb as much as the seat allows it too. *(Someone once said the best sermon you can have is to get a good beginning and a good ending and get them as close together as you can.)
I wish people would dress more appropriately when attending the church services. You would not go to a meeting with the President dressed inappropriately, why do it when attending a meeting before the King of kings and Lord of lords. If anyone deserves our best, surely the Lord does.
Finally, I wish all Christians would follow these suggestions.