In the Reader’s Digest biographical series, 70 Most Unforgettable Characters, Anne Morrow Lindbergh wrote about Edward Sheldon, a person with whom she shared sympathy for men “in the middle”. That is, those of moderate convictions. Who sought a middle ground for differences. Who neither praised nor condemned behavior and decisions. Who didn’t believe in harshly judging self. 37-38
With no apology to anyone who believes that, such individuals couldn‘t possibly be followers of Jesus. For the person he was toughest with was HIMSELF, perfectly practicing life-long self-denial. Then demanded self-denial for every believer. He knew that some teachers would stimulate other people’s egos and passions. But he wanted his people to control their own as an example to others to control theirs.
Jesus also knew the degree of difficulty in serving him would fluctuate with circumstances. Between October 1946 and March 1947, Billy Graham and Cliff Barrows held revivals across the British Isles. Post WWII Britain still rationed food. People were often unwashed and wore tatters for clothing. In the coldest winter in 100 years everyone slept with clothes on—and still suffered from the plummeting temperatures. In Wales their diet consisted of tomatoes stuffed with bread. (And that was better than people of Leningrad in 1941-1942—their bread had very little flour and very much sawdust.)
The church buildings the team preached in were cold and drafty and were sometimes filled with FOG so thick the preachers couldn’t see the balcony. Still, they persevered through it all because Christ called them to preach him to the nations—whatever the environment, weather, diets or dress. End Part II