Many thanks to my Dad who supplied me with this article:
Christians in the marketplace of our communities
Wouldn’t it be great if there were places on the streets of our towns where we would always be able to get some help from a Christian viewpoint? A place that was neat and tidy, a place where there was a welcome waiting for us, a place where we could depend on the door being open consistently and regularly.
Perhaps it would also be a good idea to have this place well lit and with resources that could point all people to the Lord Jesus. Christians who were well supported by the churches in their community would run these centres.
As you read the above, do you recognise that you probably have just such a place within reasonable reach of you? It is a Christian bookshop.
Now I will ask you four questions: When did you last go into your local Christian bookshop? When did you last pray for them and thank them for their service to the church and the community? When did you last buy a Christian book or music or a card from them? Where did you last buy something that could be obtained in a Christian bookshop and why did you do that?
Christian bookstores are a nationwide resource – but an undervalued one. We discourage these Christian missions when we go elsewhere for product that is easily obtained through them. It is our responsibility and privilege to support this mission in our hometown.
Think how encouraging it would be for the smiling face in your local Christian bookshop to see you once a month for a few minutes to buy a greeting card. Think too of how God can use the book that you purchase for your neighbour, family member or pastor
The following are three quotes that challenged me as I hope they challenge you:
1. ‘Books may preach when the author cannot; when the author may not; when the author dares not; yes, and what is more when the author is not.’ Thomas Brookes.
2. ‘No other agency can penetrate so deeply, witness so daringly, abide so persistently and influence so irresistibly as the printed page.’ Samuel Zwemer.
3. ‘There are two things in the entire history of missions that have been absolutely central. One, obviously, is the Bible itself. The other is the printed page. There is absolutely nothing else, in terms of mission methodology, that outranks the importance of printed page. Meetings come and go and personalities appear and are gone. But, the printed page continues to speak.’ Ralph Winter
I notice that Cadbury’s sales are increasing significantly and wonderful chocolate appeals to most of us. Sadly, the chocolate, although enjoyable at the time, does not necessarily have the best lasting impact. As the saying goes, “A minute on the lips, a lifetime on the hips”. However, a piece of Christian literature could change a life. Please therefore take every opportunity to get to know the folks in your Christian bookshop. Spend a little time with them and discover how you can use the resources they are seeking to put into the hands of your community.
You are probably supporting mission in a number of other areas. The Christian bookshop in your town or city is a mission that must not be neglected. Take every opportunity you can to encourage them.