I am in the throes of the (very) painful experience of saying goodbye to my library - or most of it. How successful I will be in finding homes for the many hundred volumes is difficult to judge, but conversations about the task have led to interesting consequences. For example, I mentioned this to a Methodist friend. His ears pricked up on hearing that I have many (many) volumes of W.E. Sangster's sermons and other books, (Sangster was a very influential Methodist preacher). He said: 'You haven't by any chance got his pamphlet: A Spiritual Check-Up? That booklet meant so much to me in my early Christian life. I would love to see it again'.
Well, I have found it and I shall tell him. However, it also made impact on me as a teenager. Like a medical check-up Sangster asks readers to go through the pages slowly for a spiritual check-up. He warns: If you are too busy for this, you are too busy. It needs at least two hours. And, as I turn the pages I remember again the shock of its challenges.
Some are more obvious. For example, some questions on the first page titled: IN THE WORLD
Do I speak the truth? Am I a person of the strictest honesty? Do I fake my income tax returns? Do I swear? In my relations with the other sex am I pure in deed, word, thought?
It becomes more searching as the check-ups continue: WHERE I WORK:
Is Christ more loved or, at least, more respected at my business place because of the way I live.? Are some people outside the church because I am inside? If I have concealed my discipleship, is it because I am afraid that my life would not sustain my profession? I am ashamed of Christ? or just a coward?
And especially IN THE HOME
Do those who know me best, believe in me most? Am I thoughtful for those who are serving me every day? Do I criticize the Church and other Christians in front of others? In the morning half- awake, and in the evening over-tired, am I still a Christian, courteous, grateful,
good-humoured? Do I think of the home as mine or God's?
Each section, continuing with At the altar, With fellow-workers for Christ, the Fruit of the Spirit, the Passing Years, Serving Others, At the Cross, closes with a prayer of confession and help. Those prayers make all the difference - you'd just be left a guilt-ridden wreck without God's daily help and forgiveness. And there's just a couple of other things I have been reminded of - that need another post.