From all accounts, he stood above the rest. His preaching touched hearts and informed minds. His church suffered growth pains. People came from all around to be a part of the ministry growing under his leadership. Quietly, however, on one otherwise forgettable morning his wife walked out. She did not come back. He resigned. They divorced. Their children cringed. The church almost fell apart. The community laughed.
Across the table he stared into the other man’s eyes. Slowly he stood. Pointing his finger in his new adversary’s direction, he said, “Never, never have we done it like that before.” It was classic. The obstruction grew from long years of control and power. How dare anyone else presume to offer guidance for his small organization?
The meeting was informal. Few were invited. She figured the privacy of her own home served to strengthen her cause. Slowly she began. “I’ve been studying my Bible at great length lately. I’ve discovered something our church has never taught before. Now I’m wondering if our Pastor is really the man to lead us.”
8:30pm. Once again, he failed to come home on time. Even the children wondered why Daddy seemed to be away so much. There were those strange phone calls. The phone would ring. The Mrs. would answer, “Hello.” Click. Nothing. The caller hung up. And what about those new clothes he seemed to be buying so quickly over the past few weeks. Why the change in style? And what of his quiet, pensive demeanor of late? Did she detect a note of guilt sketched in his eyes? Finally, the day came. He said, “We need to talk...”
Ring. Ring. “ABC Products. This is Sam Johnson. How can I help you?”
“Mr. Johnson, my name is Jane Smith. I work in accounts receivable for XYZ Industries. I’m calling to find out when we can expect payment on your overdue account. I see that ABC Products has been issued two past-due notices.”
“Mr. Johnson? Mr. Johnson are you still there?”
“Ah, yes, sorry. You seem to have caught me off guard. I was under the impression that bill had been paid. Let me check with my partner and I’ll call you back.”
“Well, okay, Mr Johnson. What time will you be calling?”
“Ah, well, I’m not really sure. I’ll call you soon. Goodbye.” Click. Sam’s mind began to race, “Not another one. What is George doing? He knows the books are his responsibility. I know there has been plenty of income to cover our expenses. Why are these bills not being paid?”
Not one of the above scenarios is false. Unfortunately, they are also not unusual. They could be the stories of people you know — right there in your family, your community, your church, your business.
Ricki Lee Brooks
Related Text Illustrations
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Contributed by Gregory Dawson on Jan 5, 2001
The story is told about a small, country church where the pastor called a special meeting of the congregation to approve the purchase of a brand new chandelier. After some discussion pro and con, an old farmer stood up and said, "Buying a new chandelier may seem like a good idea to you, but I’m ...read more
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In a Peanuts cartoon, Lucy demands that Linus change TV channels and then threatens him with her fist if he doesn’t. "What makes you think you can walk right in here and take over?" asks Linus. "These five fingers," says Lucy. "Individually they are nothing, but when I curl them together like ...read more
Contributed by Bruce Howell on Feb 27, 2001
A pastor was visiting a family one day. He knocked on the door but no one answered it. He knocked again and again, but still no answer. He thought he heard someone inside but they just wouldn’t answer the door. Finally he wrote a note and slipped it under the door. It was Rev.3:20: ...read more