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Sunday Evening Sermon January 18, 1970
"The Youth and the Yoke"
By Dr. Jack Hyles
"It is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth." Lamentations 3:27
"My yoke is easy and my burden is light." Matthew 11:30
"I can do all things through Christ which
strengtheneth me." Philippians 4:13
The writer of Lamentations said, "It is good for a man
that he bear the yoke in his youth." Now a word about a yoke. A yoke is not
a burden. A yoke is something that helps you bear the burden. A burden must
be borne. The yoke is something that helps you bear it.
By the way, that is the difference between a saved man
and a lost man. We all have burdens, but a saved man has a yoke. That is why
Jesus said, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light." Did you ever wonder
about that scripture "My yoke is easy and my burden is light"? Yet the
preacher says you are going to have tribulations and persecutions and trials
if you become a Christian. He said, "My yoke is easy and my burden is
light." Here is what He means. It means the Lord gives you a yoke for your
If you ask a mule, he will tell you. He'll explain to
you that it is easier to carry the burden with the yoke. The yoke makes it
easier to pull the burden. And that's why the Lord said, "My yoke is easy,
and if you get yoked up with me, my burden is lighter." Don't you see—all of
us have burdens. The rain falleth on the just and the unjust. We go to the
same cemeteries to weep and mourn. We go to the same funeral home to mourn
our loved ones. We go to the same hospitals to have surgery. We have the
same burdens and heartaches. All of us have the same. Now the difference
between the Christian and the non-Christian is: each has a burden, but the
Christian has a yoke that helps him carry the burden.
One of the most important things in life, one of the
great secrets of life and joy and happiness is for a person to have a yoke.
I would hate to think what I would do without a church. I often say that I
wish I could be an Episcopalian Rector and have a little country church out
in the woods that had about 15 members, all of them rich with a trout stream
running right by the window of the pastor's study. Boy, I could just sort of
take it easy for awhile. But the honest truth is everybody needs a load to
Jeremiah said one time, (and by the way, he is the one
who wrote Lamentations) "Oh that I had in the wilderness a lodging place of
wayfaring men; that I might leave my people, and go from them!" Here is what
I think he really said, "I would like to go out to a place where the artists
gather, where the hippies hang around, where the folks just sort of hang
around and look out and see the scenery and draw."
I was down in Chicago not long ago and saw a bunch of
funny-looking creatures just drawing. Everybody had a canvas and was drawing
something. Jeremiah said, "I'd like to go out where the artists hang out in
the woods, and I'd like to get a cabin and just sort of hang out for
Jeremiah wasn't happy. Why? Because nobody is happy
without a yoke. Nobody is happy without a burden to bear, without a purpose
in life. Nobody is happy without a load to carry. Did any of you mothers
ever say, "Oh these children, they're in my hair. They give me fits. I wish
that they'd get out from under my feet!" They will one of these days, and
you will wish they were back under your feet. Enjoy that load you carry.
Enjoy that burden you have. For happy is the man who has work to do and
strength to do the work.
So everybody needs a yoke, a purpose in life. One of
the great troubles in America is that we have too much spare time. You ask
anybody who has been eminently successful in any field if he works 40 hours
a week. You ask anybody. I'm laughing at that. Forty hours won't even begin
for somebody that really works.
I called several places and checked on Dr. Billings.
One man said, "One thing about the fellow is that he gets a lot done in a
hurry. Sometimes he moves so fast you can't keep up with him. He works day
and night." Of course, we are expecting 18 or 20 hours every day! Now, of
course, we'll not expect that. Fifteen is enough for anybody! But we'll not
expect that. I'll tell you what though, if he gets the job done, he will
work day and night. Anybody who leads anything has to work at it and has to
bear the yoke. One of the things wrong with America is our 40-hour work
week. Now what? A thirty-two hour week! And when we get it, we will have
more spare time.
Go to the average drive-in hamburger place and see the
folks hanging around. Some of your kids, God pity them, just hanging around
the average little drive-in place, flirting with all the girls, and trying
to make a date with the car hops and so forth. You parents don't even know
where they are! Everybody has got time on their hands. That's the trouble
with hippies. They don't have anything to do, so they just decide to ruin
Most of those people are not children of
poverty-stricken families. Somebody is financing their efforts. Young people
on government checks believe there is no use to work, because all the
hard-working people are going to support them anyway. If they don't, they
will demonstrate and burn the buildings and then the hard-working people
will be sorry. Everybody wants to loaf. Nobody wants to work.
Young people and old people alike, I don't care who
you are, you are not going to be happy unless you have a load to carry. You
need responsibility. You need to have a burden to bear, a load to pull,
something for which you are responsible. Everybody needs that. And so, I
thank God for a yoke.
I was thinking yesterday, or the day before, as I was
preparing the thoughts about this message, how I thank God for my yoke. I
enjoy my work. George Bernard Shaw said, "Happy is the man who makes his
living at his hobby." Mickey Mantle said, "Happy is the fellow who gets paid
for what he would do for nothing anyway."
I recall the first full-length sermon I every preached
at a church on Sunday morning and again on Sunday night. I was the supply
preacher and, at the end of the day, a fellow walked up and handed me a
check for $12. I said, "What's that for?" He said, "It's for $12." I said,
"What's it for?" He said, "It's for preaching." I said, "You mean you get
paid?" He said, "Sure." I pointed my finger in his face, and I said, "You
have insulted my integrity. As long as I live and breathe, I'll never take
money for preaching." Now, I've quit living and breathing, but why? I love
the work. I love it!
I love the work of preaching and pasturing. The yoke
is easy and the burden is light. I feel sorry for preachers. All across the
country tomorrow morning nervous wrecks will crawl out of bed (and you
preachers know this is true) Reverend So-and-So had to preach yesterday.
He's about to have a crack up. So what did he do? He had to preach twice. He
preached 30 minutes Sunday morning and 30 minutes Sunday night. "I am just
so tense, I have got to get out on the golf course. Nervous. Why? He had to
preach yesterday. He has to settle his nerves on the golf course. You've
heard me say this before. When I go play golf, it takes me a good sermon to
settle my nerves. The Lord said, "My yoke is easy and my burden is light."
And I thank God for a load. I thank God for responsibility.
Sometimes the burden gets heavy. Sometimes the load
gets a bit heavy. Why, of course it does! But I'd rather have the heavy load
than no load at all. I want to make a public announcement and serve notice
on you deacons, all 75 of you. Don't you expect me to retire at 65 or 75 or
85 either. I'll probably get shot before I'm 45. don't expect me to retire
at 65, not at all. I am trying to take good care of myself. I aim to go a
long way beyond that.
What am I saying? I like the work! I talked to a
preacher not long ago. He said, "Brother Hyles, I would go independent, but
I've got my retirement plan with my denomination. Do you have a retirement
plan?" I said, "Yes, I do." He said, "I am surprised. I didn't think you
would. Who do you have yours with?" I said, "Paul." He said, "Paul who?" I
said, Philippians 4:13-19, "I can do all things through Christ which
strengtheneth me. But my God shall supply all your need according to his
riches in glory by Christ Jesus." You can't beat that retirement plan. There
is not a retirement plan on earth but that one that promises to take care of
all your needs but that one.
You can just go right ahead and talk about a
guaranteed income and about hospitalization, and about medical expenses, and
about all you want to talk about. But there is not one single plan in the
world that promises to take care of all your needs except God's promise
through the Apostle Paul in Philippians, chapter 4.
Now he said, "Brother Hyles, I would go independent."
I am not saying everybody should go independent. I'm sure there are some
people who ought not to. I don't know who they are, but I'll say this. If I
belonged to a denomination that approved, as the Presbyterians do, social
drinking, I would dead sure pull out. Now you can just take that with a lump
of salt, too. I would dead sure pull out. If I belonged to a denomination
that had in it preacher after preacher who did not believe in the verbal
inspiration of the Bible or the deity of Christ, I would get out.
But he said, "Brother Hyles, I'd lose my retirement
plan." Well, I don't have to worry about that, I told him, because I don't
plan to retire.
I got a letter just last week. A fellow said, "I am
thinking about pulling out of a liberal denomination, but I want to ask you
a few questions first. What medical plan do you have? And what retirement
plan do you have? And do you have social security?" A whole long list of
things was there, and what he was saying is this: If you can live by faith,
without having to live by faith, he will live by faith. I mean if you have a
guaranteed way to get provisions, maybe he can trust the Lord from there on
No, I thank God for a yoke. I thank God for a burden
to bear. I thank God for work. I thank God for a purpose in life. Now then,
the writer of Lamentations said, "It is good for a man that he bear the yoke
in his youth." Now hang onto that; it's the text. It is good for a man to
bear the yoke. When? In his youth.
What he is saying is this: Not only should the adults
have responsibilities and have a load to carry, but the young people ought
to carry the load, too. What does it mean? It means the young people ought
to carry the financial load of the church like anybody else. Get under the
yoke. Get under the yoke. It means young folks ought to tithe like anybody
else. It means that little children like these down here, when they get
their allowances, ought to give God a penny of every dime they get. Carry
the load like anybody else.
A young person should bear the yoke of soul-winning.
We have some of the finest soul winners in American in our kids. Last Friday
night, at our house, half a dozen boys came by and met in our den. David, my
boy, and half a dozen other boys were there, going out soul-winning on their
own. There was no organized invitation; just going out soul-winning on their
own. That's the way it ought to be. You ought to carry the load: The
financial load, the soul-winning load, the decency load, the workload, the
service load. Young people ought to do it. That's why the writer said, "It
is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth."
I want to give you three or four things tonight
concerning the youth and his yoke.
1. A young person ought to bear the yoke of
responsibility. The youth ought to carry the load of responsibility. One
statement that has just about ruined America is this one, and I quote what
many of you say, "I just want my child to have the privileges I didn't
have." Now that statement has about killed our country. "I just don't want
my child to have to walk five miles in the snow to school." By the way, I
walked four miles every morning!
Every time kids came over to our house I was always
telling Becky (I used to) and now I tell David (I used to tell Becky more
than I did anybody else), "Let me take a little while and I could tell your
friends some stories about when I was a kid." "Oh, come on, Dad, stay out of
But I just want my child to have the privileges I
didn't have. What happens? Here is a little baby. He's in the crib. He is a
few days old. What's the first thing we do? We call an insurance man and
take out an education policy on him. We give him a college education before
he has even gone home or almost even before they spanked the breath in his
body. He is still crying and they're writing his name on his crib. He still
has wrinkles in his face and he's as red as a tomato and as shriveled as an
old peach. We're saying, "I want him to have the privileges I didn't have."
And so you give him a college education. You say, "Here fellow, here's a
What happens? In the nursery, we give him a bicycle
before he's even out of diapers. We buy him a football uniform. We want to
give him the things we didn't have. We give him so spankings. We pick up
after him. He has no responsibilities. He has no yoke. He has no burden. He
has no job. He has no duties.
Listen, that kid would be a lot better of if he were
like you and had to milk the cows before sun up in the morning—a lot better
off. "I just want him to have the advantages I didn't have or the privileges
that I didn't have." What happens? You give him too many gifts. Our kids
have so many gifts. You know it is the truth. They've got so much stuff now.
They are so sick of all the stuff you have given them out of parental vanity
until nowadays most of them, the babies especially, when they open a gift,
throw the gift away and play with the box. You know it's the truth. How many
of you have seen your babies or children do that? Raise your hand. Why, of
course, you've seen them. Why? We want them to have the privileges that we
didn't have. We give them no duties, no work, a car, no strict rules, go
where they want to go, come in when they want to come in and send them off
to a heathen college.
I'll tell you what. I was amazed this morning at how
many people had not been to a state university or college in the last three
years. You had better just sort of check up and see what is going on. I know
people this morning that did not raise their hand. They had not been to a
secular college or a state university in the last three years; yet, they
sent their young people to one!
You wouldn't buy a car without looking at it. You
wouldn't buy a suit of clothes without looking at it. And yet you take the
most precious thing you have, your children, and ship them off to some
college because you bowed down before the shrine and the god of secular
education, because back yonder one day a certain school was good. Listen,
nowadays the schools are going to the devils so fast you almost have to
check every day on how they are doing. Yet the honest truth is, you take
that little child when he's a baby and give him everything he wants and
never spank him and never give him any duties, never give him any
responsibilities at all. What happens? The child grows up without it. He has
the privileges that you didn’t have and then he breaks your heart.
There's a man in this room tonight, a couple in this
room tonight, two of the sweetest Christians I know in this church. This man
is a hard-working man. I mean he is not a man who sits behind a desk. He is
a man that works by the sweat of his brow and toils with the labor of his
hands; a God-fearing man who loves God. He teaches Sunday school in this
church. You don't know his name. Don't try to guess. He is a God-fearing
man; a wonderful man. He worked to send his boy to college. He worked to
give his boy privileges he didn't have. Here is the sad case. This fellow
didn't have a formal education. He didn't get to go to college or a
university. So he said, "I want my boy to have what I didn't have." The
fellow worked and saved; his wife sacrificed; and they lived a humble,
sacrificial life to save money to send their boy to school. And what
happened? They boy went to school and some cheating, lying, dirty professor,
who is a robber and a thief, stole that boy from his parents! He took the
money those parents sacrificed and sweated to make and stole that boy's
affection. And that boy, who was such an idiot, didn't have any more sense
than to hear what some godless professor said over the sacrificial advise of
God-fearing parents, became ashamed of his mother and dad. I have got more
respect for a bookie in New York City than I have a fellow who is ashamed of
Mom and Dad because he's got a few degrees behind his name and they didn't
have the privilege of going to college when they were kids. What happened?
He got ashamed of his parents.
I talked to him one day and he said, "My parents don't
know much. They mean well." I said to him, "Young man, you hear me and you
hear me well. Your parents have more real sound education in their big toe
than you have got in your brain!" What happened? I'll tell you what
happened. God-fearing parents didn't listen to the warning of faithful
preachers like this one and others. What I am trying to say is, know where
your children are going to school! Don't give them everything at their beck
Time and time again I have been on airplanes. I don't
know whether I've told you this or not, but if I have I want you to hear it
again. In fact, I want to hear it myself. I was in a certain city in the
church of one of the 25 largest Sunday schools in America. They were listed
in "Christian Life" magazine. The pastor was a young man in his forties, a
young kid, and his wife and I were sitting in a Howard Johnson's restaurant
having lunch together. Their little boy, about four years of age, was a
little demon. This man who stands up and says, "Hell is hot, sin is black,
you have to get born again, don't you tell me what to preach," said to his
little boy, "Son, please be quiet. Would you like a piece of candy?" He
bribed that kid to be quiet because we could even talk. The boy said, "No,"
to a prophet of God.
I said to this boy, "Now son, you be quiet." He said,
"No!" And I said, "Sit still. Don't you ever say no to me as long as you
live!" I gave him a double-whammy. I said, "You sit down." He looked at me
and I could read his thoughts. He thought, "I think he means it." (like
those devils over in Acts, Chapter 19, 'Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but
who are ye?' I think this fellow knows what he's doing.") And I said to
myself under my breath, "Sure I know what I'm doing." That little
four-year-old, and I wouldn't be surprised if he's not still sitting there
in that restaurant. That boy learned more from me in 30 seconds than he
learned from his parents in four years.
You have heard me say this. My boy, David, is almost
16. He has never heard me clap because he sings. Now he can sing. He has a
good voice. I taught him all he knows. He and I have a lot in common. He
sings and has a good voice and you have heard him sing. I've never one time
clapped because David could sing. Time and time again when I've said, "Son,
do this" and David said, "Yes, sir," I've clapped.
Our young people need to learn to bear the yoke of
responsibility while they are yet children. These boys and girls in the
front row down here need to have a yoke. That's what the wise man said, "It
is good fro a man that he bear the yoke in his youth." Let him learn to
shoulder the yoke. Let him learn to share in the responsibility.
I was thinking about that dear family about whom I
spoke awhile ago. They are godly people, sweet Christians, the kind of
people of which First Baptist Church of Hammond is made. Average type people
about whom I am talking. Now their boy, ashamed of his mother and father,
has gone off and makes fun of our church, laughs at our standards, comes to
our church and snickers while I preach.
Why? I'll tell you why. Because those godly parents
(and they are here tonight and know this is true) said about their boy when
he was a little child, "We want him to have the privileges we didn't have,"
and so they sacrificed.
But do you know, as I have in my book, "Blue Denim and
Lace, that every privilege and every asset has a liability, and every
liability has a corresponding asset? The higher the building goes, the
deeper the foundation must be laid. The higher the tree, the deeper the
The honest truth is the folks who had to milk the cows
and gather the eggs and get up early and chop the wood and build the fire
had some advantages. I have often said that when I was a little boy, we had
to bank the stove at night. Not all you folks know what it is. That's when
you close the grate, close the damper, get all the wind off the stove and
off the fire, and the fire banks at night.
I've often said that as far as I know, I am the only
person that's every lived who has gotten out of bed in the morning, gotten
up on a linoleum floor, gone to the stove, opened the grate, opened the
damper on the stove pipe, gotten the poker, stirred the fire, gotten the
fire going and gotten back in bed without my feet touching the floor one
time. It was as cold as blue blazes!
To the average boy, Mother says, "Get up, Junior."
Junior says, "I want to stay in bed." His mother hollers, "Get up!" Learn to
bear the yoke of responsibility.
I thank God that I knew as a kid what it was to be
hungry. I thank God that I drank water out of a dipper. Did you ever drink
water out of a dipper? You poor heathens! I thank God that at our house we
had an old-fashioned bucket and we had a well. We primed the pump and
sometimes got the water out of the well. Everybody drank out of the same
dipper and put the dipper right back, with saliva and everything else, into
the bucket of water. Don't look so educated and formal. How many of you did
the same thing? Of course you did.
By the way, we didn't have any diphtheria epidemics
either. We didn't have time. We were too busy. If we got sick, we just had a
mustard plaster. How many of you ever had a mustard plaster? Penicillin is
nothing! Brother, there's no disease you've got that a mustard plaster on
your chest and on your back and some black drought down your throat won't
cure. If it doesn't cure you, It will make you so uncomfortable you won't
care if you are sick.
I thank God I knew what it was to take a bath in a
number two tub. I thank God, and you'll forgive me, that I knew what it was
not to have indoor plumbing. I mean an old-fashioned out house, and I'm glad
about it. "But I just wish my children could have the advantages that I
My daughter Becky is in college and she's having to
tough it a bit, and I'm just dying laughing. She is going to these stores
that have seconds, buying her clothes, and paying them out a dollar a week.
It just tickles the fire out of me. They had a Christmas tree in their
dormitory, and do you know how they got it? Just like we used to get ours.
They went out in the woods and got a hatchet and stole one quickly and ten
ran back to the car and drove off, hoping no one saw them! "You stand up in
front of the posted sign so nobody will see it, and I'll get a Christmas
tree." Don't look at me with that sanctified, pious look. You wouldn't be
laughing if you didn't get yours that way.
It is good for a kid to get up early in the morning.
It's good to go to work in the morning. It's good for him to bear the load.
It's good for him to have the responsibilities that I had. I thank God I
know what it is to read by the light of the kerosene lamp. I thank God I had
a paper route when I was ten. I had a "Dallas Morning News" route back when
the morning paper was not what you read at brunch; you read it at breakfast.
We had to have our papers opened and delivered and on their way by 3:30 in
the morning when I was ten.
I thank God that I worked in the summertime. I thank
God I was a paratrooper. I thank God I laid oak floor for a living to go
through college. I thank God I worked 40 hours a week, pastored a full-time
country church, and spent 15 or 16 hours in college at the same time. I
thank God for every battle I've had to face or faced as a kid. Why? Because
it is good for a man to bear the yoke in his youth.
You take that kid and spoil him rotten an cater to his
every whim, and you will live to see the day you'll regret having said, "I
want him to have the privileges I didn't have."
I was on a plane eight or nine years ago flying out to
California to preach in Los Angeles. I was sitting beside a lady in one of
these coach sections with the three seats abreast. I was next to the aisle.
This little lady, (she must have been about 23 or 24 years of age), was
sitting beside the window and between us was her little boy of about three
years old. He crawled all over her. He absolutely crawled all over her. His
footprints were all over her dark blue dress. She was having a time and she
did everything she could to get him to be quiet.
I did what I did to that preacher in the Howard
Johnson's restaurant. I just turned over and I said, "You hush!" And he felt
led to hush. Do you know for two and one-half hours we had peace on that
plane. That little boy was like the city of Pompeii—he froze—he turned into
a pillar of salt!
They came to serve him his dinner and she said, "Do
you want anything to eat?" He didn't even say no or yes; he just shook his
head. There is not a kid in the world that couldn't be cared for and
corrected and couldn't amount to something if you would let him bear the
yoke in his youth.
You say, "Brother Hyles, I don't want my child to have
to work. I had to get up and work hard and provide for the family." Well,
sure you did! America was built with that kind of people. It's good for a
man that he bear the yoke in his youth.
2. A young person ought to bear the yoke of spiritual
service. I am a little weary of our youth programs in the average church in
America. I'm a little tired of them. I'm a little tired of thinking the
average youth program is nothing but a box of popcorn and a glass of
lemonade and a bowling ball and a hay ride.
I will tell you something else, too, kids. You're not
worth a dime; you're not worth the powder it would take to blow you up if
you would got to a tobogganing party and wouldn't go to a youth rally in our
chapel. There's something drastically wrong with your spiritual temperature.
If you'll flock by the droves to go see a Purdue University basketball game
and won't go to the Rescue Mission over in Chicago to see a bunch of men who
are lost in sin hear the gospel of Christ, there is something wrong with
your spiritual temperature.
Now the honest truth is, it is time your bore the
yoke. You have gotten the idea that a kid just has to have fun. Did you ever
stop and think you ought to come to church so somebody else could have some
What is wrong with a kid bearing the yoke and the
burden himself? What's wrong with coming to church because you are supposed
to come? What's wrong with coming because it's your church and your program
and you want to be where god's people are and want to do what is right to
When you get older, you will be a deacon or a Sunday
school teacher and do things you don't want to do. You will not do what you
don't want to do when you get older, if you won't do what you don't want to
do while you are younger. I am sick of the youth programs that are catering
to the fancies of our young people. They are like cafeterias-allowing the
young people to take what they want and leave what they don't want. If it's
fund they go; and if it's not fun they don't go.
We'll have a bowling party and fill up three buses for
a youth program. How many folks went to the ballgame yesterday? One hundred
fourteen went to the ballgame. How many folks went to that youth rally where
one of the finest youth directors in America came from Florida to speak to
the teenagers? Fifty or sixty came, and 14 of those were visitors and 16 of
those had to come to sing.
Look kids, there is something wrong with you. Did you
hear me? There's something wrong. You are being trained not to bear the
yoke. You are being trained that a youth program is to entertain you, and
there's something wrong in your heart. It is high time a lot of parents and
a lot of kids realize that while you are young, there are things that you
are going to have to do because they're right do! "Well, I just didn't have
any fun last week, the kids just weren't nice to me." Why don't you just
come some week to be friendly to them?
I know parents and I am not trying to hurt anybody's
feelings. God knows I am trying to make some decent kids, and if you'll back
me, we will do it.
Brother Fisk is here tonight. They are moving back
from California to this area and back to this church, thank God. I recall
when C.W. Fisk was here as assistant pastor. He came to me one night and
said, "Brother Hyles, somebody in the church has disciplined my boy David
and I think it may be a little strong. What do you think?" I said, "You back
the person that disciplined him." You back them. He said, "Brother Hyles, he
can't go to choir for eight weeks." I said, "Okay, then he doesn't go to the
group for eight weeks. Even if he was punishedddd too strongly, you will
make a better boy out of him backing authority."
I just want to say this, and I didn't intend to say
this. I think I'll just go ahead and blast off. I just feel led to get
really vocal. When Dr. Billings decides to discipline your child and your
child comes home some night and has to stand up while he eats, don't you
waste your time calling me on the telephone saying, "Preacher, I want to
talk to you about what Dr. Billings did to my boy." Because, brother, I'm
going to be sitting there counting them as he gives them—Amen one, Amen two,
You say, "What if Dr. Billings is wrong?" I don't care
if he makes a few mistakes. It is always better to trust authority! Always
better. Amen? You better just go ahead and get used to it because I'm not
going to be an escape valve for you when your child is being disciplined.
I would ten thousand times rather my child get hit too
hard than not at all when he needs to get a spanking. You say, "Brother
Hyles, you sound like you are for spanking." Well, let me make it a little
clearer. I am for spankings. Is that clear enough? You say, "Brother Hyles,
at school?" Yes, at school. Where I went to school, they didn't have backs
on the chairs. It made it easier for the teacher to reach you with a paddle.
When I was in first grade at Elizabethdon School, two
of our teachers, Mr. Brown and Mr. Smith had paddles in their rooms. You
signed your name every time you got a spanking. That's where I learned to
write. That's where I learned to write my signature!
When a child is saved, I don't care if he's eight
years old, he ought to become a good Christian. Young people, if you are
going to become a good Christian you're going to have to say, "That's my
church and that's my youth program." We had a youth activity last night and
it wasn't any fun. The only reason you come to church is to satisfy your
appetite for fun.
The honest truth is while you are young, you had
better learn to carry the yoke. When we have a youth rally in that chapel, I
don't care if you like the speaker or not. I don't care if you have a good
time or not. In the first place, if you were right with God, you would have
a good time. But I don't care if you have a good time or not! You ought to
say, "That's my church." I'm a young person here. I'm for my church, and I'm
going to be there."
People come to me and say, "I'm going to go back to
the school activities. They are more fun than the youth activities at
church." Well, you will go down with Elijah, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego
as one of the great Christians of all time. What is wrong with going because
you are supposed to go?
There are people in this church that come to hear me
preach Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. They would not
miss. They are like the fellow Dr. Rice talks about. He drank ten cups of
coffee one day, and the lady said, "You must like coffee." He said, "Yes
Ma'am, I do like coffee or I wouldn't have drunk so much hot water to get a
little bit of it." You have to keep coming and keep coming and keep coming
to get enough spiritual food to feed you.
Many of you have gone home and have said to your
husband, "The preacher wasn't quite on tonight. He wasn't his best tonight."
But did you come back? Of course you came back. Why? Because you've got
integrity. You've got character. You've got honor. You've got decency.
You've been taught loyalty to the church. A young person ought to carry the
spiritual service yoke. Rallies as well as te hay ride, mission as well as
When I was in Texas pasturing the Miller Road Baptist
Church (I want the young people to hear this), we had some young people who
got burdened about spiritual activities. They called their own prayer
meetings on Saturday nights. Those kids came without an adult sponsor. They
came to the altar of our church, and every Saturday night they spent two
hours or more on their faces praying for the services on Sunday. Then they
would testify for awhile. One of the young preacher boys would preach to
them for awhile.
I have seen those kids come and stay on their knees at
church until 10:00 or 10:30. I've seen them go down to the public square in
Garland, Texas, and pass out tracts and witness and have street services in
little country towns on their own!
They didn't have to have a wiener. Now, I'm not
against wieners. I'm not against pizza. You need something to stick you
together and paste you together on the inside. I'm not against having
refreshments, but I'll tell you what I am against. I'm against having to
cater to any Christian through a carnal program to get him to come to God's
house. I feel any Christian who is six, sixteen, sixty, or one hundred and
sixty, ought to come to God's house for his spiritual appetite as well as
his carnal appetite.
If you would not come to a Gospel rally where the Word
of God is going to be preached without refreshments as readily as one with
refreshments, there is something wrong with your spiritual temperature. It
is time that a lot of you kids got the idea that you're supposed to carry
the load, too.
Suppose we have a deacons meting the first Saturday
night of each month. I send the word to the deacons and say, "Deacons, I
want you to be sure and come, and in order to entice you a little bit, we
are going to have pizza and lemonade." And so the deacons meeting is up. Do
you think a man is worth being a deacon who will come for pizza, who won't
come because he is a deacon and is supposed to come? No. But you have the
same salvation he does, don't you? Did Christ die for you as well as he did
Look, young folks. You are setting your habits now for
a lifetime. One of those young people at those Saturday night prayer
meetings is pastoring a church in the state of Kansas. Another is in Texas,
pastoring a church. Another is in South Carolina, an assistant pastor of a
church. Another is a fine school teacher in a Christian school in Texas.
Another is a fine deacon in a large church.
The years have come and gone and those young people
have grown up. Why did preachers, missionaries, music directors, and school
teachers come out of that group? I'll tell you why. Because they bore the
yoke of spiritual service when they were young.
Brother Streeter, someday you ought to be able to
announce a prayer meeting for the youth activity, and every kid in this
house ought to be there. We would give no violet pops, no chocolate-covered
peanuts, no popcorn, no pizza, and no whistles or bugles or trumpets or
saxophones or any of it. Just a prayer meeting! You can say, "I didn't have
much fun!" Well, then, you probably need the prayer more than you thought
you did. If you will bear the load while you are young, you will amount to
something when you get old. You get the habit as a young person of only
doing that which satisfies one of the senses: It's got to look good, smell
good, taste good, or you don't enjoy it. When you become an adult, you'll be
the same way. Do something for God while you are young.
I pastored outside Marshall, Texas, when I was a kid
preacher. I pastored the college church where I went to college. I was a
sophomore in school and I pastored some of the faculty. It was not unusual
for me to look out and see the vice president of the college in the service
where I would be preaching. I didn't know much Bible, but I was pastor of
I would get a verse. Let's just take Daniel 4:24,
"This is the interpretation, O king, and this is the decree of the most High
which is come upon my lord the king." I'd take that one verse, go down to
the college library of East Texas Baptist College, and study every
commentary in that library on that verse. I'd study the original language.
I'd become a scholar on that verse. I didn't know another verse in the
Bible, but I knew that one. I knew it better than anybody could know it. I
knew every scholar's interpretation. I would get up the next Sunday morning
and I would preach on that one verse.
If anybody would ask me to explain the next verse, I
couldn't have done it. I preached on that one verse. The faculty would come
out and they'd say, "He is the smartest kid in our school. Boy that fellow,
he knows his Bible." What they didn't know was, that I didn't know the
meaning of the next verse.
I saw young people come and go. I saw college students
who were always going to do something some day. "When we get out of school,
we're going to do something big." They never did. There's not much
Christianity in a Christian who goes off to college and does not move his
membership somewhere to serve God in the local church while he's away from
home. There is not much Christianity there.
I'll tell you another thing, too. You will not amount
to much if you do not have your membership in a church where you live. No,
you won't amount to much. You can look up and gristle all you want to, but
you wait and see. Someday when you don't amount to much, write me and tell
me, would you please? No, you won't; because you won't amount to enough to
I saw the students who said, "We'll get busy in a
local church. We'll teach Sunday school. We'll sing in the choir. We'll be
faithful. This is our church." Now those are the kids who are amounting to
something after the years have come and gone. They are doing something for
God. The habits you start now will stay with you forever.
3. A young person ought to bear the yoke of problems.
Problems? Yes, problems. You say, "Brother Hyles, I just don't want my
little darling to have to go through any persecution." I have got four
little darlings, and I hope very one of them get laughed at at school for
Becky came home from Munster High School and said they
called her the "Jesus Girl." You know what I said? Do you think I say, "Poor
Becky." I said, "God bless you, Becky." I paid kids to keep calling her
that! Young folks ought to have to suffer, too.
You say, "I just hate to see the children being
criticized at school." Well, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego weren't
grandparents when they were thrown into the fiery furnace. Daniel wasn't on
social security when he faced the hungry lions! I hate to see the children
suffer. I hear preachers say all the time, "You know, it is so hard to be a
preacher's kid." I don't feel sorry for you. Don't come whining around me.
Can you picture John the Baptist coming home and
saying, "They don't like me. They laughed at me." Well, of course, they
laughed at you! If they don't laugh at you and think there's something wrong
with you, then there is something from with you. I want to tell you this. My
boy will kill me for telling you this. Dr. Billings, when you were here last
time, I talked to you into the night after the service, and my boy, David,
was waiting for me. He sat there and waited and waited and waited. I'd
forgotten about him but he always rides home with me after the service.
I finished and there was David waiting for me. David
is not quite 16 and a typical kid. There is nothing pious about him. I asked
him if he didn't get a little weary waiting and he said one of the sweetest
things he has ever said. He said, "I just walked up and down the hall and
though how many people in America would like to wait an hour and a half to
get to ride home with Dr. Jack Hyles." That's what my boy said. I don't feel
sorry for preachers' kids. I think they ought to thank God their dad is a
A little girl wrote me a note the other day and said,
"Dear Brother Hyles," (She spelled dear, D-E-R-E and brother,
B-R-U-T-H-E-R.) She said, "I just wanted to tell you that, in spite of the
fact that everybody at my school hates you, I love you anyhow." Boy, that's
a left-handed way to brag on a fellow. You know it?
We used to have a fellow that would meet me over here
as I walked in the door, and he would put his arm around my shoulder and
say, "Brother Hyles, I want you to know I'm for you. I don't care what they
say." I'd say, "Hey, before you leave, what did they say?"
I just think young folks ought to bear the yoke, too. Sure!
Must I be carried to the skies
On flowery beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed thru' bloody sees?
Sure, I must fight, if I would reign;
Increase my courage, Lord.
I'll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by Thy Word.
Just bear the yoke. It is good for a man that he bear
the yoke in his youth.
Ten and one-half years ago when I came here we had a
battle. A lot of you folks remember those days. We have tried to forget
them, haven't we? I almost threw in the towel. You know why I didn't? I'll
tell you why I didn't. I started to Lisbon School when I was a boy in the
fifth grade. I was a Christian, and they had a little dance that they were
using at our school. I like a little girl named Jean Muller. I thought she
was the prettiest thing in the world. I was sitting across the room from her
writing a note. "Dear Jean, Do you like me? I will like you if you will like
me." She wrote back and said, "Dear Jack, I like you and Harry." I wrote
back and said, "Dear Jean, then I like you and Bonita." If she was going to
have two; I was going to have two!
The school was teaching the young people this dance,
but I wouldn't do it because my pastor taught me it was wrong to dance,
whether it was round, square, folk or ballroom. And I still believe that.
You say, "Brother Hyles, prove it." I don't have to prove it. I just believe
it because I believe it.
I pitched on our softball team, and for the first time
in the history of Lisbon School, the fifth grade won the school
championship. The fellows said, "He's a little ol' sissy Christian anyhow."
They decided to end the school year beating me up. They put a rope across
the door out of which I walked. The battle started then.
When I went to junior high school, I was elected
president of the graduating class. Mrs. Kerr, who was in charge of the
graduating activities told me I was to lead the conga. I was to lead that
junk! Isn't that something? Isn't that educated and cultural? Paganism! I
have forgotten more culture than the average person in Hammond.
Mrs. Kerr said, "You're president of the senior class,
and I'm going to teach you how to dance." She looked awfully old. I suspect
she was thirty! I was 15. She grabbed me and put her arms around me and I
broke away. She said, "Come on, you and the secretary of the class are the
once dance first." And I said, "No, Ma'am, I don't dance." She said, "Well,
I know you don't, but you will in a few minutes. It won't take long." I
looked up and I said, "Mrs. Kerr, I don't believe Jesus wants me to dance."
Boy, she dropped me like a hot potato. She walked off!
If somebody had not taught me to stand for right when I was in junior high,
you would not have me as your pastor tonight.
When I attended East Texas Baptist College, they
called me a fanatic. My college president called me to his office and said,
"Jack, you're stirring up trouble." I said, "I know." They had smoking on
the platform of our school and had a quartet singing the song, "Cigarettes,
Whiskey, and Wild, Wild Women" at a Baptist college.
He said, "Well, Jack, you've been going out to your
country church and preaching about that." And I said, "Yes, I have and I'm
going to keep it up, too." He said, "Well, you're causing trouble." I said,
"I wouldn't, if you would have 'Amazing Grace' instead of 'Cigarettes,
Whiskey and Wild, Wild Women' sung on campus."
Some of you might say, "Well, Brother Hyles, how do
you get like you are?" It is a long, hard process. I have been carrying the
yoke for a long time, kids. I've walked alone for years. I've been like this
since I was a boy. When you become a preacher, you don't suddenly pick up
You do not compromise and go to only the youth
activities you like, and only those that serve your favorite refreshment,
and only those where you go tobogganing (and I'm not against tobogganing),
and only those where you go bowling, and come to the youth activity when
there is a sermon, become a preacher and suddenly have a big battle like we
had ten years ago and say, "I'll die for what's right!" You don't do it
unless you will die for what's right when you're a kid. It is good for a man
that he bear the yoke in his youth.
Let us pray.
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