SHALL A CHRISTIAN GO TO LAW?
By ALBERT W. LORIMER
0ne of the severest testings in the life of R. G. LeTourneau came to him during the period in which with the Lord as his Partner, he was laying the foundation of his business. He had been engaged in highway construction work for some time when, as he says, “I got my eyes on a piece of State highway construction which was a little too big for me to handle with the equipment and men I then had.” In his church was another man who had had experience in highway construction work, a Christian, whose equipment added to Robert’s would be equal to the handling of the contract. He sought this man out and suggested to him that they bid for the work “as partners.” They did so and secured the contract.
Shortly after the work was undertaken, difficulties revealed themselves. Progress was slow, and it began to look as though they might lose some money on the contract. Robert's associate was one of the worrying kind. He began to find fault with one thing after another and finally said to Robert, “The trouble with this job is that you have too many relatives working for you.”
The charge concerning his relatives was true to the extent that he did have a lot of them working for him. But he maintained that they were all “doing their stuff” and he didn't want to lay them off, as skilled labour was not always available when it was needed and he thought he would have work for all of them on future contracts after the present one had been completed.
As was his custom when in doubt about God’s will for him in a situation, he went to prayer. He asked God to show him what to do. It is one of Robert’s convictions that when a child of God is doing the best he can, he has a right to ask the Lord to help him; but he does not believe in telling the Lord to bring it on a silver platter. Therefore, he prayed and things began to happen.
He got an invitation to bid on another contract from a private concern which never sent out public bids, and was happily surprised to be awarded the contract. He went back to his State highway construction job and transferred every one of his relatives to the new contract, appointing his brother-in-law as superintendent. They went through with it according to schedule and made a nice profit. Not long thereafter, the State highway job was completed, and contrary to expectations, there was a nice profit on that, too. With the profits made on both contracts, all of Robert’s obligations to creditors could have been met. But his human “partner” on the State highway job had a different idea. His idea was that because Robert had made a profit on the second contract, all of the profit on the State highway contract should go to the “partner.” That profit was £8,000, and it was to have been split, £4,000 to each. Stunned by the stark unreasonableness of such a proposal from a Christian and fellow church member, Robert went to see his lawyer. His lawyer told him, “Don't worry. He hasn't a leg to stand on.”
But Robert did worry - for a different reason. It was not because he feared he couldn’t collect in court but because the man and he besides being Christians and members of the same church, were both on the official board of that church. Though convinced that the man indeed hadn’t “a leg to stand on” - either ethically or legally - Robert still had great cause for concern. What would happen to the church if two of its leading members should engage in a lawsuit? He was familiar with the Scripture which forbade Christians going to law with Christians, but he knew how to work it so that the other man would have to take the initiative and be the one to go to law. Robert often says of himself at this time, “I was not exactly lamblike of disposition. I liked to take the bull by the horns. I said, ‘Lord, that money belongs to my creditors. I've got to pay them’.” Then the Lord spoke to his heart:- How much do you love Me? How much do you love My people? How much do you love My church?
Robert did what he has confessed was the hardest thing he ever did in his life. He went to that man and said, “Brother, we’re not going to have a lawsuit over this thing. If you insist upon having all of the profit, you can have it, He can take it away from you. If He wants me to have my share, He can give it to me.” He thought that his saying this might cause the man to change his mind. It didn’t. He took the entire profit, and Robert let him have it.
A short time after this incident, that man secured another contract. And a short time after, Robert secured another contract. On the contract which the other man took, the entire £8,000 was lost, while Robert made enough on his contract to make up for the profit he had sacrificed. A favourite expression with Robert is:- “Don’t obey God because it pays, for then it won’t pay. But obey Him because you love Him, and then it will pay.“
Quite suddenly - it may be at the turning of a lane,
Where I stand to watch a skylark from out the swelling grain,
That the trump of God shall thrill me, with its call so loud and clear,
And I'm called away to meet Him, whom of all I hold most dear.
Quite suddenly - it may be in His house I bend my knee,
When the Kingly Voice, long, hoped for, comes at last to summon me;
And the fellowship of earth-life, that has seemed so passing sweet,
Proves nothing but the shadow of our meeting round His feet.
Quite suddenly - it may be as I tread the busy street,
Strong to endure life’s stress and strain, its every call to meet,
That through the roar of traffic, a trumpet, silvery clear,
Shall stir my startled senses and proclaim His coming near.
Quite suddenly - it may be as I lie in dreamless sleep,
God’s gift to many a sorrowing heart, with no more tears to weep,
That a call shall break my slumber and a Voice sound in my ear:
Rise up, My love, and come away! Behold, the Bride groom's here!
- HOWARD GILLINGS.