More than 70 years ago, the following wake-up call was made by William Southern, Jr, as part of a Sunday school lesson study in the Kansas City Journal Post. It remains a compelling reminder which we can all take seriously.
I. A CHRISTIAN always keeps open the way of communication between himself and God. By this we mean the wireless line we call prayer and the study of the Bible.
II. A CHRISTIAN is the same pleasant, lovable, kind, considerate man at home that he is when he is on his best behaviour at a public gathering when he wants to make the best impression possible.
III. A CHRISTIAN should so live his life that wherever he may be found, at the office or in the home or in public anywhere, those who see him and know him will recognise him as a Christian. There is something about a man or woman who lives a real Christian life that shines out for all to see. “I would trust that man anywhere.”
IV. THE CHRISTIAN has no alibi or excuse when he goes wrong. A Christian does not excuse himself for continually breaking God’s laws by saying “Everybody does it.” In the first place it is not true. Everybody does not break the laws, everybody does not violate the sanctity of the home, everybody is not a grafter and a crook. The real Christian thinks out his own line of conduct and acts upon it. He does not regulate what is right for him or what is wrong for him by the rights and wrongs of other men.
V. CHRISTIANS have this plank in their platform: “I will be loyal to my God and my country. I will obey the laws of the land as interpreted by the duly constituted authorities. I stand uncompromisingly for a law-abiding government.”
VI. IN ALL religious platforms you will find a plank, and it is especially one to which Christians must adhere: “I am for peace always and everywhere among men and nations. God helping me, I will cast my voice for the peace of the world.”
VII. A MAN may be a Christian in business. There are, thank God, thousands of Christian lawyers, Christian teachers, Christian bankers, Christian farmers, Christian editors and I will include the Christian politicians and stand ready to prove it. A man may be a Christian in whatever business he selects to follow, always providing that that business is one which is of benefit to the community in which he lives and contributes to the welfare and happiness of community.
VIII. WHEN ONE is baptised as a Christian, he should always take his pocketbook along and let it be baptised with him. The Christian believes that everything comes from God and should certainly be willing and happy to give back to God for a special use something of what God has given him.
IX. TIME IS the essence of life. We consecrate our money to God, our lives to God, and as life is the time God gives us here on earth, our time belongs to him when He needs it.
X. THE CHRISTIAN affirms that God plays no favourites. That before him under the universal law there are no races, no colours, no prejudices. The Christian is a Christian in every country and every language, equal before the Lord. — MM, March 1934, page12.
Earnest Lau, the Associate Editor of Methodist Message, is also the Archivist of The Methodist Church in Singapore.