Willie Pollock - Food from Convention - Booyong - 1994

Hebrews 12:13, "And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed." If we would draw a line from when we started until now, that line would not be a straight line, because there were mistakes, words spoken that should not have been spoken. Jesus was the only person who could draw a straight line. Our past is not a straight line
and it cannot be straightened, but it can be forgiven and from now on we can, "make straight paths for our feet." We cannot straighten the past, but we can go straight from now on and the feet that might turn out of the way could be our own feet. We are prone to go astray, prone to wander, make wrong decisions, take wrong steps and find ourselves outside the will of God.

Testimonies have been given here that say we are satisfied and well fed and that we can't take any more, so I thought I would make you a lunch to take home with you. I will make a few sandwiches of things we have enjoyed here, that we will need along the way in the future.

Mary pondered all these things in her heart. Our heart is the lunch bag. There are things we have heard and experienced here that we will need in the future. What we have heard here we will need again. We would like to turn our impressions here into blessings in the future. The heart could be the lunch box and God would like to put things into our heart that we would ponder them and not forget them.

We have heard so much about peace. "Follow peace with all men." We heard about the peace of God in our hearts. Jesus would say, "Peace be unto you." Friends, where there is peace, there is unity. It is a great comfort to parents when the children in the home are at peace with one another. It is a great comfort to God to see His children at peace. Could we make a sandwich of peace and take it with us and when things get stirred up, just sit down and meditate on the peace we have enjoyed here? Just chew on the sandwich of peace.

Jesus preached this. He is peace and He is a peacemaker. If we want to be a peacemaker, we have to be peaceable and to be peaceable, we have to have the peace of God in our hearts. It would be good if we could take a sandwich of peace with us, peace with all men, peace in the church, because peace means unity.

There was a little boy who stepped down out of the car. Each child had a balloon in his hand. The small boy stumbled, let go his balloon and it went up. He yelled his head off. A little girl was standing with her balloon. "Don't cry, it's just a balloon." She tried to comfort him. What did she do? She let her balloon go and he stopped crying. To bring peace you have to give up your rights. Jesus gave up His rights that we might have peace. If that little girl had given the boy her balloon, it would have made him more selfish. When he saw she didn't have a balloon, he looked up and saw the two balloons and started laughing then said, "My balloon is ahead of yours." You don't justify yourself, for peace. You lose, that others have peace.

It mentions Godliness here and holiness. I would use the word `godly' more than `holy.' Somehow, `holy' seems more out of our reach. God's people are godly. Haven't we experienced Godliness here? Could we make a little sandwich of Godliness and take it home with us, and when we are in another atmosphere that would be far from Godly, we could get it out and chew on it. Godliness is a passport. When John the Baptist went into Herod's palace, the soldier would go and tell the king, "There is a very humble man at the door." Herod saw that John was a just man and holy. That was his passport, not his nationality.

Herod respected him because he was just and holy. Remember that Shunamite woman who saw this holy man of God and said: "Let us make a room for him," and in it she put "a bed, a table, a stool and a candlestick." He was a holy man of God.
Righteousness is not enough. It has to be Godliness. Without holiness, we will never see God. We could be right in so many ways. We heard about sanctification, and that is what holiness is. That man of God had access because he was a holy man of God. When her child died, she didn't put the child on her bed, she didn't put it on the child's bed. Where did she put it? It was on the bed of the holy man of God. She felt, "This room is the most worthy room in our home, because of the influence of a man of God," who was using that room. Make a little sandwich of that Godliness, holiness. It's not just enough to be right. There has to be sanctification.

We have heard so much about encouragement. Could we make a sandwich of encouragement and take it home? When things get discouraging, chew on this sandwich. Samson killed the Philistines with the jawbone of an ass. Samson threw away the thing that gave him victory and had to go back and pick it up again. One man's testimony at a Convention was, "I feel that things I heard at the last Convention I threw away, threw away the jawbone. I have come to take the jawbone again. What helped me before will help me again." Another one was "I don't know how it is that the zeal with which I leave Convention doesn't take me through to the next Convention." It was the same thing. He threw away the jawbone.

If we could take things with us that we need we would take encouragement. Encouragement is building up of the spirit, discouragement is breaking down of the spirit. Encouragement is of God, because God doesn't discourage His people. I have tried to remember over the years that discouragement is not of God. He doesn't discourage His people. The seed of discouragement will never take root in a thankful heart.

One sister Worker said, "I don't think I'm unthankful, but I get discouraged." Discouragement can come to anyone, but it won't take root to the extent of overthrowing you if you have a thankful heart. It will keep on its way. With encouragement comes courage. After we are encouraged, then we have the courage to go out. We need the courage of a lion to live the life of the lamb. We need
to know when to be like the lion and when to be like the lamb.

Last year in Cuba, the government brought out a new law permitting home meetings. We were asked to apply. We applied with the fundamentals, with doctrine. The registrar said it was not complete. We went back to the coloured lady where we were living. She said, "I will fix that." She is very expressive and very explosive and she poured herself into that. As a teenager looking for truth, she met God's servants. She said, "This is life to me. This means everything to me. I wouldn't give it up for anything. I am willing to give my life for God's servants, not for their nationality, but for their sacrifice and for their love amongst us here."

We took that in and the registrar said, "Yes, that is what I needed. Doctrine is theory, but the testimony of your people, that is life. That is the relationship of you people to your church." They gave us permission for three one-hour meetings in three homes weekly. We are very thankful for that. They said, "The testimony of your people is their life in your church." It is not what the Workers preach, it is what the Saints live. Very often when people want to know, "Is this permitted or not?" They don't ask the Workers, they look at you. Sometimes people say, "Why do you all look alike?" You don't ask sheep that question. They all look alike and they are happy to look alike. Encouragement brings satisfaction. I think we are going home satisfied. Do you know what satisfied is?

"Satisfied if I know that my Lord is content, With the service I render each day..."

A young boy called up his boss. "Would you like another boy for your office?" The boss answered, "We have a boy." "Maybe, he is not doing what you would like him to do. Maybe you could get another one." "No, I am very satisfied with my boy." "This is your boy speaking. I just wanted to find out if you are satisfied with me."

In thinking of encouragement, I thought of the time I was trying to cross a busy street with several lanes of traffic. An older lady with a young child was also waiting to cross. I thought, "They won't stop for me, a man." I looked at the old lady and she looked at me, and there was an understanding. We looked at the traffic and together we took a step, and then another step. The first car
stopped and then another and another. When we reached the other side she said, "Thank you sir. I couldn't have crossed without you," but she was the one who helped me to cross. That is encouragement, just to understand and accompany someone through an experience that they couldn't make alone. Could we take home a sandwich of encouragement and share it with others?

Could we make a sandwich of willingness and chew on that some day when we don't feel so willing? Willingness is the key to God's storehouse. It is a wonderful experience when we find the right key and the door opens. Willingness is more than obedience. Submission is more than obedience, and wisdom is more than experience. Willingness is submission. We were away in the Caribbean and when we came back, the house was shut up. There we were in the porch with no key. We could have been inside writing, reading, having a cool drink, but we had no key. We checked under the flower pots, all around, but there was no key. We checked with the Sisters and they told us, "The key is under the mat." We were standing on the mat.

Willingness is not very far away. The difference between willingness and unwillingness may just be a mat. The spirit is willing, the flesh is weak. The spirit could be unwilling but the flesh would never be strong. Weakness is the cause of sin and corruption in the world today. Human nature will never be strong, but a willing spirit will overcome the weakness of the flesh. Could we take home a sandwich of willingness, just being willing to fit in?

The secret of a jigsaw is that each piece fits into the ones beside it, though not so many up in the corner. The secret of life is to fit in with the one beside you. A man had a dog and told the dog to lie down dead. A man said, "You will not make that dog lie down dead." So he commanded the dog, "Lie down dead!" His friend put his foot on it, pulled its tail, pulled its ear, but the dog didn't move and the owner was happy. He said, "My dog obeys me." So then his friend got a nice juicy steak. The dog didn't open an eyelid. He brought it nearer. The dog didn't twitch his nose or open his eye, but the end of his tail began to wag and he lost because the flesh was weak. Willingness in the spirit will help to keep the flesh under control.

Then there is compassion. Pity stands and stares but compassion sees and cares. We need compassion just to see the need and care enough to help. In the parable of the good Samaritan, the priest and the Levite looked at that man and saw him half dead and their thought would have been, "He's half dead, so let him die." The Samaritan saw him half alive and helped him. Compassion sees and cares. Compassion sympathises. A little boy came home late one evening. His mother said, "Why did you come home late?" He said, "I was helping my friend fix his bicycle." "What did you do?" "I helped him cry." To show compassion you don't need to do very much, just understand and show a little interest. Compassion sees and cares.

Jesus said, "I am meek and lowly of heart." Meekness is submission without resentment. Could we make up a sandwich of meekness, put humility in with it, and go home with that? Jesus was meek and lowly. He is the Lamb of God. Don't make a ham sandwich. It comes from the squealer, the pig. Don't go home squealing, murmuring. The Bible permits groaning. Jesus groaned in His spirit. When you are murmuring, you are spreading it. When you are groaning, you are taking the load and bearing it honourably. Take home Christ as our passover, sacrificed for us. Take home a Lamb sandwich: the meekness, gentleness, humility
that was in Jesus, that we would be meek, submitting. Jesus on the cross, that was submission, with no resentment.

We sang, "I Would Be True." A soldier will be forgiven for stupidity and for mistakes if he is loyal. One who is not loyal, that is different. A loyal soldier can be trusted. If we can take home a sandwich of loyalty, that "I would be true because my Father trusts me." When anything goes wrong, just chew on that sandwich.

In Panama, there was an old man. In his young days, he used to sing those silly `popular' songs, but now that he is professing he will not sing them. He doesn't want to sing them but he said that sometimes they just sing themselves and he asked us, "What can I do?" We suggested, "When you start to sing those songs just stop and sing, `I would be true.' " If we are tempted to say or do
something or to go somewhere that is not for God's people, stop and sing that hymn, "I would be true..."

When I first left Ireland forty years ago to be with Willie Donaldson in Barbados, my sister sent a letter from Ireland that has meant a lot to me. It was the first letter I got after getting there. She said, "We are sorry you had to go but we are glad that you were willing. We want you to know that we are behind you, and we will be faithful at home." Friends, loyal at home. "We are backing you and we will be faithful at home." Paul says, "We live if you stand fast." When Friends are faithful at home it is life to us as God's servants. Loyalty: be faithful at home.

There is another sandwich, thankfulness. Make a sandwich of thankfulness and don't forget to use it. It is a matter of living thankfulness. Sometimes we don't even say it. It is hard for a boy to open up his heart to his mother. My mother made a vow she couldn't keep unless I would give my life, just like Hannah. We owe so much to my mother but it was so hard to tell her, to thank her for all she did for us. After she died, then we couldn't. Friends, thankfulness is not flattery; it is appreciation, encouragement. If you feel thankful, express it. Very often we feel thankful, but we don't express it. It needs just a little bit of encouragement, that appreciation and thankfulness.

Then there is patience. You have to be very patient with the long testimonies. Could you take some of that patience home with you? You had better take a sandwich of patience because the car might break down. We want to have patience for those in the home, parents with their children. Children go through phases. Children, have patience with your parents. They mean well. You can help your parents serve God or you can hinder them. You can make the load heavier or lighter. We want to have patience with our companion, and have patience with ourselves because we may not always come up to the mark. One lady prayed for patience with the Workers. Have patience with others.

I had a companion, Homer, who was very absent-minded and forgetful. I asked him once, "Homer, is there anything you can do really well?" He said, "Yes, when I get lost, I get really lost." He didn't let me cook because he wanted to do it the way he likes. It doesn't matter, we want to have patience. I got to see that I would have to have patience because he was doing the best that he could. He can't do any more. We can't expect others to fit into our mode and do things our way.

I had a part in a funeral in Ireland. When this lady was dying, she called in my sister and her husband and said, "Good bye." She said, "I want to give you some advice before I go. Attend to the things that matter. Attend to the people that matter. There are a lot of things that don't matter." She was leaving this world knowing that, "Nothing matters but salvation." There are lots of things that
don't matter. Our spirit is far more important than any issue. If we get into the wrong spirit over an issue, that is far worse than the matter itself.

Have a sandwich of faith. We can look at life through the telescope of faith or the microscope of imagination. As we have looked through the telescope of faith here, it has brought Heaven nearer to us. "Faith can walk with God in darkness, and He will guide that step aright." We want to take a little sandwich of faith with us and feed on that. Faith accepts eternity. We cannot see it, but it is
there. Faith accepts that eternity exists. Faith looks back and accepts that forgiven sin doesn't exist. It is not there. Do you have that faith?

I got a letter from a man in Mexico. He had had an operation. During that operation, he had a dream and he saw a big list. When he went closer to read this list, it was a list of all his sins. He said, "I feel disappointed because I felt that God had blotted out my sins and yet there they were, all there." God blots out our sins but he doesn't blot out our memory. It is there. Our past is in our memory. But God said, "Your sins and iniquities will I remember no more." It remains in our memory and the accuser of the brethren accuses day and night, sometimes more at night. He says, "You did this." It is true, not false, but God forgave me for it.

Paul said, "I am the least of the apostles, not worthy to be an apostle, because I persecuted the church." That was forgiven and forgotten by God, but it was still in Paul's memory. Our past will trouble us. It is in our memory, but not in God's memory. Faith will accept that what God forgives, He forgets. It does not exist. "Your sins and iniquities I will remember no more." Iniquity is any
kind of dishonesty.

God says, "I will not only forgive your sins, I will forgive the times when you have not been honest with me, or with others. I will remember it no more." Just to believe that what God has forgiven, God has forgotten. "In your patience, possess ye your souls." We have known some people, before they got home from Convention, they had already lost their patience.

We have mentioned some sandwiches. You might say, "You didn't mention `love'." Love is the fastener. Love ties up the bag. Some of the things we have seen and heard, we will need them again. May God help us to take them with us and ponder them in our hearts.