Summary: "Some days you're the windshield. Some days you're the bug." - Unknown
“Celebrity nowadays is so fleeting.” Aubrey O'Day
Indeed, in life there are many one hit wonders in every career field. In the military, we said that one “Aww, Nuts!” wiped out ten “Atta Boys!” You can be the fair haired boy on the fast track one day and a company merger puts you in the unemployment line. A man or women so loved and cherished on their wedding day finds themselves served divorce papers in a relatively short time. You can be the team who goes to the Super Bowl three times, but when you lose you are the dirt dog though there are very few teams who ever made it there that often.
In ministry, it can be the same way, and since all believers are servants/ministers we will all experience reversals at some point. Not too long ago, I was at a church where a couple was doing a fine job ministering to the youth. The pastor had appointed them, but because they had no formal education that galled some of the board/bored members. Controversy came up and the Scribes and Lawyers found ways to hamper and berate the pastor from their constitution and ultimately he resigned when he realized he would never be able to do anything God led him to do without being bogged down in litigation for months. As soon as he left, the couple was put out of their successful ministry and the search was on for a more appropriately prepared and ordained couple. Sigh, such nonsense!
A pastor is called and it is all pecan pie and ice cream for awhile then he says something about a sin the Chairman of the Deacon Board is involved with or the daughter of some super giver and it is all over. He may linger on for awhile, but he is a lame duck just speaking to a hostile audience.
Let the Youth Pastor have to ban a kid from a few activities or send the banker's daughter home because of provocative clothing and it won't matter if he grew the group from 30 to 150 in a year. The 60 kids he led to Christ will not get him much mercy. I know a fellow who was given a week's termination notice just a few days after his dad was asked to come and speak at the Church.
Paul had pretty much the same experience in Lystra. He and Barnabas had just healed a man crippled from birth. Man, he was the hit of the century. They thought Barnabas was Jupiter and Paul Mercury. They were made gods in a instant just like a rock star. Paul had to do some fast talking to keep the Priest of Jupiter from offering up sacrifices to them. WOW! What an open door to win folks to Christ! Not!
18 And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.
19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. KJV
As long as they were seeing what they wanted to see and heard the chants they wanted to hear Paul and Barnabas were top shelf. Once their fantasy bubble was popped they were open to the persuasion by the Jews. It allowed them to stay believing what they wanted to hear so that was a comfort to them. Hence Paul is stoned and left for dead. I wonder how Barnabas escaped. Sometimes it pays to not be the main speaker.
In one sentence, you just barely kept from having sacrifices made in your honor to being stoned in the next. Paul had a penchant for that.
22:1 Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.
2(And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,) KJV
21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
22 And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.
23 And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air, KJV
It took a quite a few more sentences, but ended up the same way in Jerusalem. First, they are beating him here, but as soon as he started speaking their language they were ears. You could have heard a pin drop as they hung on his every word. They enjoyed the reciting of their history and the glories of God, but then Paul dropped the G word!