Though the Fig Tree does not Blossom

Dear Fellow worker,

Just as the economic recession is beginning to bite CWI, our Communications and Promotions Officer said something this morning that hit me like a truck.

Her atheist friend who works for a well-known human rights charity told her at the weekend that in a downturn economy, charities should flourish not wilt. Why? Because of the need! If charities are not prospering, she said, it’s because of bad management.

Hmmm. It looks like “the sons of this world” are still “more shrewd in their generation than the sons of light”.

I felt depressed when I heard that less-than-flattering judgement. The reality is, though, that CWI’s constituency is much smaller than that of the organisation Helen’s friend represents. The great and the good who give to her charity don’t place a high premium on the saving of Jewish souls. They are committed to human rights without realising that the greatest human right is the right to hear the gospel. It is little better in the Church. The sad fact is that since the apostolic age, Jewish mission has rarely been high on the Church’s agenda.

Let me assure you this is not a pitch for money but because you are interested in CWI enough to at least read the magazine, I’m assuming you are interested enough to know something about the challenges we face. A few days ago, I talked to our office manager Andrew Quinney and we worked out a simple, fool-proof way we could save CWI a cool £120,000 per year; stop publishing the Herald. If we did that, we could afford to employ five new missionaries.

On the other hand, we could pass on the costs of producing the Herald to our readers. But if we charged you just what it costs us to produce the Herald, with no profit to ourselves, it would cost you £2.50 per copy, or £10 for a year’s subscription.

But we don’t want to do that. God willing, we are going to continue to publish the Herald and to send it to you free of charge and without obligation because the Herald is your window on CWI. Without this magazine, you would not know what we have done, what we are doing or what we plan to do. In short, you would not be able to pray for us intelligently. Prayer is of paramount importance.

So, as you read this issue of the Herald, be encouraged by the reports of the outreach to New Agers and pray for those who professed faith. Give thanks for a great Summer School and remember those who were contacted during the outreach and the students who are contemplating their future.

Last Sunday morning, on my way to a preaching engagement in Lancashire, I visited a couple of supporters in Burnley. Both are in their nineties, in ill health and pain yet they pray for me every day and regularly send small gifts to CWI with encouraging notes in shaky handwriting. After fifteen minutes, I left them feeling both uplifted but also convicted of my own spiritual poverty. But I am encouraged to believe that so long as there are supporters like Frank and Anne in this world, God will continue to provide for our needs.

Yours for the salvation of Israel,



This article first appeared in the Autumn Herald 2011

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