One of our pastors (Larry Booker) tells of going to General Conference a number of years ago where a special session for ministers was held. A certain pastor had been asked to speak to the ministers about his personal experiences concerning the importance of upholding holiness in the local church. The church he pastored had about 600 people at that time, and I also knew that they had let down tremendously in separation from the world.
This pastor related how that on three different occasions God dealt with him about His displeasure with this situation of waning holiness. He did not say how that God had talked to him the first time, but he did tell how God dealt with him the final two times.
In the first instance, he told of purchasing a piece of property in the country where he had fenced some sheep. When he bought the small flock, a few goats were thrown in by seller as a kind gesture. At the time the pastor thought this was kindness but he soon realized why the goats were free.
In the middle of his property he fenced off an area and put up a shelter with food and water for his flock. One morning he came to check on them and found they all had broke through the fence and were grazing beyond its perimeters. He found the breach, repaired it and managed to get them all back inside.
The next day the animals were out again: not far away, just a few feet outside the fence. He thought to himself that there must be something there they wanted and needed, so he enlarged the fences border just enough to include the area where the sheep and goats had been grazing. He said to himself, “Now you will be happy. This is just what you wanted.”
When he came back the following day, they were again outside the fence, not far but just beyond the bounds that he thought would make them happy. He repaired the breach and once more herded them all back inside, only to come back another day and find them outside. He enlarged the fence once more, saying, “OK, this is where you want to be. The fence is now big enough to accommodate your desire.” But the next day there were outside the fence again. Thought this process he realized that it was the goats that were the real instigators of these “breakouts” and understood why they had been given to him.
The property where he kept his flock was surrounded on all sides by a fence and dirt roads. The fence surrounding the property obviously had little ability to keep the sheep and goats in, and the pastor was frustrated and tired of the animals constantly getting out. He figured there would be nothing appealing in the road for them to heat and would therefore probably be safe enough. So he removed the fence completely. His attitude was this, “All right go ahead and have the whole field. I’ll let them do whatever...