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Christian Efficiency

Christian Efficiency poster

“And it came to pass in those days, when Moses was grown, that he went out unto his brethren, and looked on their burdens; and he spied an Egyptian smiting an Hebrew, one of his brethren.

“And he looked this way and that way, and when he saw that there was no man, he slew the Egyptian, and hid him in the sand.

“And when he went out the second day, behold, two men of the Hebrews strove together: and he said to him that did the wrong, Wherefore smitest thou thy fellow?

“And he said, Who made thee a prince and a judge over us? intendest thou to kill me, as thou killedst the Egyptian? And Moses feared, and said, Surely this thing is known.

“Now when Pharaoh heard this thing, he sought to slay Moses. But Moses fled from the face of Pharaoh, and dwelt in the land of Midian: and he sat down by a well.” —Exodus 2:11–15

“And afterward Moses and Aaron went in, and told Pharaoh, Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, Let my people go,” —Exodus 5:1

The great chasm between this man, Moses, running away scared and fearful under the threat of Pharaoh, and this same Moses standing in the presence of another Pharaoh and demanding that he let go 600,000 men beside women and children, the very backbone of the industry of this world empire, is a contrast and surprise in personality that calls for deep consideration. What accounts for this wonderful change of front?

In the first place, let us remember that Moses was an especially God-born man. God brought him forth at an hour when Pharaoh had ordered the killing of children. God preserved him in a very special way while death was reigning in the land. He floated him in a specially made ark, and selected a special nurse for him. He was raised and educated by one of Pharaoh’s daughters, with every advantage of the court. He knew the Hebrew language, knew also the language of Egypt, and was skilled and versed in the arts and industries of Egypt; also he was familiar with all the customs of the court.

Egypt was a great industrial center at that time. Linen was made and wrapped about the Egyptian mummies with which our finest silk cannot compare. Egypt was noted for her fisheries, her industries, her government, as well as for her fine system of drainage and irrigation. Moses had had every opportunity to become an efficient man, and probably exceeded in ability a Christian of today possessing the highest kind of modern culture and education. Moses not only knew all about Hebrew theology and the Hebrew Scriptures, but he was a Past Master in familiarity with idolatry, understanding all the religious customs of the day. If anyone should have been efficient it was Moses, and yet we find him a dire failure, fleeing from the face of Pharoah.

Let us look into the Word and see what it is that makes an Efficient Christian life and why so many Christians are abject and utter failures. They may come to church and hold various positions, they may be Sunday school teachers or pastors, and yet, as far as being efficient Christians is concerned, they cannot qualify. They flee from the task that is set before them of carrying the Gospel to every creature, the Gospel which can deliver from the bondage of Satan.

The church of Jesus Christ is one of the most inefficient organizations that ever existed on the face of the earth. Organized churchanity, so-called, is a failure. For two thousand years we have had a commission to go into the uttermost part of the earth and preach the Gospel to every creature, and we have never done it. I do not say we have not builded churches and have not had fine meetings and mighty revivals, but we have never done what Christ commissioned us to do, and in that respect are absolute and utter failures.

Many of you are absolutely inefficient as Christians, because you are afraid of the face of Pharaoh, and you are running away from your job. You ought to have talked to your brother, your sister, about Christ, you ought to have been able to have won someone else for Jesus, at least you ought to have been able to have carried the message, whether they heeded it or not, to have given them one chance for salvation; but you have not done it.

It is easy to do ninety-five other things and not do the thing the Lord has told us to do. As you ride into this city you see church spires pointing skyward, see the people going to church on Sabbath morning; and sometimes at night or through the day time, you see some straggling out to a mid-week prayer meeting, but as far as the people of the city getting the Gospel of Jesus Christ, they might as well live in China. To think of the people in the parks on Sunday ought to make every one of our hearts chill.

If we are to get anywhere with God we might as well call things by their right names and not fool ourselves on this proposition. I want to find out whether I am an efficient Christian, doing the thing I was born to do, not what someone else was born to do.

As you travel on the street cars you will find one Christian man among just so many men, one Christian woman among so many women, one Christian young person among so many young people. Will they act as Christians, will they tell the Gospel story? Will they use the opportunity that comes to them to get the Gospel out? Are they primarily Christians? Is the great object of life to make a living, to go to work, or is it to obey Christ?

This is the problem that faces us today, whether the individual life is to become an efficient life for Jesus Christ. Many young people would love to go to the foreign field, but they never seem to lead a soul to the Lord Jesus Christ at home. It will be just as hard over there, and a bit harder, but it seems easier over there. Some men are always thinking, if they could only get started in that other city they could make money, make a fortune—the green field far away is the place where they are going to be a success. “If I could only prepare for the ministry I would be a great success.” Beloved, you have the opportunity right where you now are, it you will only use it. That is the trick of the devil to make us inefficient.

I am not saying you are not complete in Him and accepted in the Beloved, and blood-washed a real Christian but I am talking of the service of a Christian, whether your life is so controlled by the Holy Spirit that you are in His hands for His purposes.

Tell Them!

Can any man doubt that God knew what He was talking about when He asked us to go to the uttermost parts of the earth, and into the highways and hedges and compel them to come in that His house might be full? The bible does not call for the Christianization of the world. It is ours to give men the opportunity of being saved. If they refuse we do not need to feel that we are failures; but God told us to tell them, and that we can do. That task has been given to us by the great Head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit has come to lend His aid to those who obey the command, and if we had gone out with the message God would have done His part. He cannot do His part however, until we have done ours.

We had a wonderful noon meeting at the works of a great Kodak company in Toronto. The bosses from the different shops followed us around, and at the last shop meeting we had quite a representation of the heads of automobile and iron and steel works. As I walked through the factory, I asked, “What are those?”

“If you understood this work,” the foreman replied, “I would be more ashamed than I am to tell you, but this department has been held up for three weeks. The other department has not completed its work, and we just have to wait on account of the difficulty of getting material and laborers.”

I walked out of that building, saying to myself, “Um-huh, that is it. Jesus can intercede with the Father, and the Holy Ghost can pray with groanings that cannot be uttered; but until He can get human lips to tell the story, how in God’s name can He work? He worked on Calvary, but how are folks to know unless someone tells them, and how can the holy Spirit work without a person to work through?

It is useless for anyone to come down the aisle and go into the inquiry room and fall on his knees and commence to pray, unless there is someone there to give him the promises of God and the way of salvation. He does not need anyone to soothe him and say, “Now you will feel better after a while.” He will never get saved that way, but when you tell him how Jesus died in his place on the cross, and that if he will receive Him by faith as his Saviour, and speak to Him so, He will not cast him out, the Holy Ghost will witness to the truth and drive it like a hammer drives a nail, and clinch it on the other side, and he will be eternally saved.

The Tools Of God

Again and again, I have said, “Do not let anyone into the inquiry room to do personal work unless he has a Bible and knows how to use it.” God cannot use you to lead souls to Him unless you have the tools of God. You can remember it, you say? But if you tell it to that soul he will think it is your word, and call you up the next morning to find out if he is all right, he will think you are doing the saving. If you fasten him to the Word of God, the Holy Spirit will witness to the Word and tell him he is born of God, and he will not be dependent upon anything men can do for him. This Word is sharper than a two-edged sword and able to show up the thoughts and intents of the heart. The greatest psychologist in the world cannot do what the Word can do, backed up by the power of the Holy Spirit, in showing up a human heart and revealing its needs. A convert knows a heavenly transaction has been done in his heart, and his faith is fixed on the Word of God.

With the help of the Holy Spirit we can tell folks the old story—we can—but will we? How much more will you delay the program? The Holy Spirit has been held up all these years. Jesus’ hand is on the knob, waiting at the door, waiting to come back again. He cannot usher in the next age until the church has done what He raised the church to do, namely, to gather out a people for His name, completing the body of Christ.

Many of us have lost the joy of our experience because we have not gone out to tell others, and the “back-wash” has come in on us and spoiled our experience because we have not witnessed and testified, have not allowed our lives to be a regular bubbling stream, with God pouring in and us pouring out. You stop pouring it out, and you wonder why it does not pour in any more. He refreshes you by pouring in, as you pour out to others.

At the hour when this Hebrew of the Hebrews should have been the most efficient, he was absolutely inefficient and ran from the face of Pharaoh. God had to take him to the back side of the desert to teach him efficiency. Some of you are living spiritually on the back side of the desert until you learn how to present your bodies, a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. You have thought you were working, that through some of your criticism and some of your acts you were advancing the things of Christ, but you have done more harm than good, your hands are clumsy because of the things of self, and your disposition is so prominent that others have never seen in you the holy disposition of the Holy Spirit.


I talked to a man in the hospital in Canada who has been active in philanthropic work, but who is not a professing Christian, and asked him why he had never accepted Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. He told me that for many years he had known a man intimately, a magnificent businessman, a professing Christian, and that man had a lain flat across the sick man’s life, a great stumbling-block. What became of the professing Christian? He is now a broken-hearted man. Displeased because his daughter came home with a young man, he turned him out of the house, and she went upstairs and blew her brains out. Her father had been such an egotist that he thought his own opinion absolutely right and would not take any interference with his own wishes from anyone. He never learned to present his body a living sacrifice unto God. Inefficiency was written large across the door of his life.

The great majority of Christians have never put their hands down and let the Holy Spirit have His way in their lives. Because of this deficiency the church of Jesus Christ has been pushed this way and that by one leader and another, and the Holy Spirit has had little chance to push to the ends of the earth with the Gospel.

Even here in the city we have become so class conscious that the majority of poor people do not believe any church on Earth wants them, and if it does work with them, it is as if they were smallpox patients, different from the rest of the crowd.

The world has yet to find out that the Christian is simply a sinner saved by grace, and one who feels love toward every other man in the world. There is nothing God hates more than this class business, making a fellow feel there is a difference between the man in the pulpit and the one in the pew. There may be a difference in gifts, but the natural gifts should not be exalted. Any worthwhile gifts have been received of the Holy Spirit, and are not the product of culture and education, and one who stands in the pulpit must be there because the Holy Spirit has made him a minister and the mouthpiece of God, a dispenser of the Word of God to the multitude, never an exhibition of talents or class.

From the world’s standpoint Moses was absolutely efficient, but from a spiritual standpoint, from God’s standpoint, he was absolutely inefficient. From the world’s standpoint the church never was as efficient as she is today. She never had such good ministers, such good organization, such good music, such good buildings, such good land; she never was so wealthy, she never was so popular, she never was so well advertised in the newspapers and magazines, she never was so talked about by people. Yet, as far as doing a Holy Ghost work in the salvation of souls through the blood of Jesus Christ is concerned—SHE IS ABSOLUTELY INEFFICIENT.

She may have done many things which seem to the world to be of great value, but the one great thing which she was commissioned by her Head, the Lord Jesus Christ, to do, she has not done. Two thousand years have passed and she has never yet given herself fully to the task which was committed to her charge. She was commissioned to evangelize the world and give every ear the opportunity of hearing the Gospel.

THE CHURCH CAN REACH THE UNEVANGELIZED WORLD AND SHE MUST DO IT. Each one of us must bend out wills to His will in this matter. The blessed Head of the church has not commissioned us to do an impossible task. What He tells us to do He offers the power to do, and by His grace we can do. Will we say, “Yes, and by His grace we will do?”

Think of it! In a day of such so-called efficiency as this, one of the leading denominations of this country, after the great recent survey, found that in the year 1869 it took into its membership on profession of faith 59,180. Remember, this was in 1869 when the machinery was small, the wealth was meager, the persecutions many. Now, in 1918, fifty long years later, when wealth had increased, when machinery had increased, when so-called efficiency had reached the Nth power—this same great denomination could only bring in by profession of faith 57,276. With all its wealth and organization it cannot reach its record of fifty years ago by 1,904! More machinery, more money, more men, more buildings, but fewer souls.

Personal Efficiency

Virility to produce your kind is efficiency, and we ought to be able to see men and women saved by the power of the Holy Ghost working through us. A revival cannot be started by a movement of men, but the genuine old-fashioned revival fire will fall when men and women lay themselves on the altar and yield their bodies, a living sacrifice to God. Then if they get slapped in the face for talking about a resurrected Christ, if they lose their reputation, they will still go on telling men that this Christ is risen and is coming back again, and can make a real saint out of a real sinner and give him everlasting life. If the devil has shut your mouth on that he has ruined your efficiency. Your business is to tell it.

The definition of personal efficiency is “The mental and physical ability to do, or to be, or to have in the best, and the easiest, and the quickest manner.”

With a Christian it is ability to be. Moses possessed a great many things, could do a great many things, he had action plus, but he came a long way from being what he ought to be. That is where our efficiency falls short—in not leading the right kind of a life.

Moses fell down on just the task for which he had been raised up, and God had to take him out in the desert to show him efficiency! That is the best way, the easiest and the quickest. Had Moses taken the best way? When he put forth the personal equation it made him have the big head. He was speaking as an individual and was acting as an individual and was acting as an individual without authority, and he killed a man and became a murderer. His fellow Hebrews were slaves, 600,000 of them, and their burdens were terrific. He saw their condition, and went pecking at it as one person, without any plan. If he had started a revolution it would have been quickly put down by Pharaoh’s army, and their condition would have been ten times worse. If he had started to educate them it would have taken him more than eighty years to have gotten them to the place where they could have realized their power and gotten away from the hand of Pharaoh.

Waiting On God

The human heart does not want to wait on God. The great trouble with us as Christians is that we will not wait on God. “They that wait upon the Lord shall exchange their strength; they shall mount up on wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary; and they shall walk and not faint.” Moses’ trouble was that he did not wait on God. Moses was conscientious and had an ambition to do a great work for his people. The accomplishment of this was a thing of God and not of men. If the work was of God, then God had to run His work, and those who were to have anything to do with it must get the mind of God and not put up their fight as men. If they act without God’s direction, God will put them down and out.

Many a man has started out in prayer, but began to put prayer aside, and the first thing he knew he was pushed by the devil until he became a negative proposition, and lost all the sweetness and the honey, and the joy had all run out at the corner.

Moses could have said, “Lord, I was willing to give myself; I was right; that fellow was wrong and had no right to hold those men in slavery.” God will give men credit for well meaning, but God does not do His work that way, and all you will ever find of your work is one fellow you have knocked out and buried in the sand. You will never see the victory of God sweep through your life and make you a blessing until you let God have His full way.

In an army, a general can grab men and place them where he will, but the inefficiency of the church is caused by the fact that we have to wait until people present their bodies a living sacrifice and they let God put them into His place of service. That is only worked out by prayer. If we lay our hands on things we spoil them. There isn’t anything any one of us needs more than to be able to be dead men to the plans of men—and men of prayer who can wait for God to take us and put us in our places. Christ is the Head of the church. Is He your Head in practice? It is ours to pay and intercede until He gets His folks who can march and keep rank.

The Holy Spirit has been waiting through the years for a crowd of men who will be dead to themselves, who will really give up to God, wait on Him and see what He can do through them. When He gets them there will be the mightiest revival the world ever knew, and the fire will fall.

I believe God is getting us to a new place of commitment to Himself, where we will pray for the Holy Ghost to fall on us and move us out this summer to the street corners every night in the week, to tell people who never go into a church, but who go to the parks and theaters, this glorious Gospel. Will you not dedicate yourselves to it, and ask God to make you efficient in the work of preaching the Gospel to the multitudes? We have camped around this mountain long enough. Let us move us out into the lanes with the message. Unless many churches do this before long I do not know what the in the world will take place. Men are vaunting themselves like a green bay tree, machinery is growing. The power of God cannot show itself that way, but it can show itself through a life on the back side of the desert.

God had to show Moses the secret of efficiency, through the type of the burning bush. If Moses had thrown himself into his task the way he began he would have been burned up; but there was the bush in a great flame, yet not consumed. Moses did not start the fire, and could not stop the fire, and was told to ttake his shoes from his feet, for the place was holy. O for an old-fashioned sense of God to come upon us! God showed Moses that He was able to do His fiery work without consuming the worker.

In the hotel in another city I felt led of God to go down the corridor. I went down the elevator and stepped into the lobby. A man walked up to me and said, “Is your name Rader?”

“Yes, sir,” I answered.

“I’m glad to see you. I came over on the chance that I might see you,” he explained. We went up to my room, and oh, how God worked in that manufacturer’s life! That night a young man came down the aisle, his private secretary, another night another man came, and after the meeting on the last night I learned that seven men had come because that man had started. They were the heads of seven different families. God knows the key man. Isn’t it best to let Him work instead of going out to grab some fellow in our own strength?

Our Emperor

Moses’ father-in-law thought the task was too hard and wanted to organize things and help Moses, but only got him into trouble and defeat. God’s method was the easiest way. Think of the difference between Pharaoh in his troubles and machinery, and Moses, standing in front of him with no machinery, the leader of 600,000 men beside women and children. This man Moses opened the Red Sea by the faith of God. This man took them through, saw the manna come down, and sweetened the bitter water for their refreshment. Pharaoh, in himself, an emperor, Moses, an emperor of God—Moses’ way was easy—it is God who is the emperor of very Christian’s life. There is no democracy in Christianity—it is a theocracy, Christ is all and in all, and we are love-slaves to Him. I wonder if, in these days, the church of Jesus Christ has not been almost ruined by a lot of talk and palaver and argument instead of going to the theocratic head and asking Him to reveal by the Holy Spirit what He would have us to do. Is your life organized on the theocratic plan, is He all and in all?

Oh, that God would come down upon us in such a way that we would really give up. I believe that God takes us to low depths and lower depths all the time, that we might be broken before Him—the easiest way and the quickest way.

The church has said, “We will build up a great organization, we will get a great pile of money and of people, and then we will go to the heathen world;” but, my friend, they have not done it. They have gotten a great organization, a great deal of money, but most of the time they were giving $100,000 for their big organizations and not a thousand dollars for missions.

You say, “Lord, build me up; make me strong; give me power; give me great ability and I will go out there and tell men in the street. Give me all this equipment, make me a fine public speaker, let me go out there and I will do great things;” but when God allows these things to come, namely, Christian education, enlightenment, newspapers, science and art, instead of our taking them and using the trains and the boats and the aeroplanes, and the money, and the mechanism to go to the heathen world, we have lavished it on ourselves.

His Mouthpiece

God takes a stripped Moses, without any ability to talk. Moses says, “I am nothing, worse than nothing. Get somebody as a substitute.” But God takes that hunk of nothing who used to think he could knock men out one at a time, and says, “I will send you to Pharaoh, and you tell him the I AM THAT I AM hath spoken.” Oh that each one of us would be the mouthpiece of God, that we might get the mind of God, that we might not speak with our own human wisdom and our sagacity.

I know nothing, but I am so convinced that He knows it all that my heart is filled with glory. I have no strength, but, oh, I know the Lion of Judah that can break every chain. I do not know the best way, but He knows; I do not know the easiest way, but He does. His yoke is easy, and His burden is light. I do not know the quickest way, but I know it is His way. The difference between teh Moses who fled and the Moses who stood before the face of Pharaoh was the attainment of spiritual efficiency, where Moses became nothing and God became to him and in him and through him the great I AM THATAM.

This vision of God’s working made the difference between one dead man hidden in the sands of Egypt and Pharaoh’s army that sank like lead in the waters of the Red Sea. Moses found a different way; have you?