I ran into this story online:
Texas beer joint sues church…2009-10-29 / EditorialLaugh A Little
In a small Texas town, ( Mt. Vernon ) Drummond’s bar began construction on a new building to increase their business.. The local Baptist church started a campaign to block the bar from opening with petitions and prayers. Work progressed right up till the week before opening when lightning struck the bar and it burned to the ground.
The church folks were rather smug in their outlook after that, until the bar owner sued the church on the grounds that the church was ultimately responsible for the demise of his building, either through direct or indirect actions or means.
The church vehemently denied all responsibility or any connection to the building’s demise in its reply to the court.
As the case made its way into court, the judge looked over the paperwork. At the hearing he commented, “I don’t know how I’m going to decide this, but as it appears from the paperwork, we have a bar owner who believes in the power of prayer, and an entire church congregation that does not.”
An e-mail sent bya former Grove Hill resident
Source: Clark Country Democrat
What an illustrative story. Here we have a congregation that sees their prayers answered, and perhaps also their own smugness. In any even it reminded me of the story of Peter, and how he denied the name of Christ.
We pray for certain things and we expect our prayers to be answered. And how miraculous: the prayers of this congregation were answered. At that point our human fallen nature hits in again. They get smug about the works of God. What a lesson is in there:
In faith we ask God for certain matters and expect (as promised) that our prayers will be answered. The trap we should not fall for however is to be proud for the wrong reasons (and the use of the word smug indicates they were). If your prayers are answered so directly and you feel a need to boast, than at least acknowledge the source of your success: God, the one you have been praying to. The Bible is clear on the subject matter. In John 5:19 we read:
Jesus gave them this answer: “Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.
But of course there is the temptation to be proud about not God’s work but our own amazing prayer skills. And that’s where we go wrong. Paul understood and explained this to the Corinthians in his first letter (1 Corinthians 1:31):
31 Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.”[a]
- 1 Corinthians 1:31 Jer. 9:24
The Rich and the Kingdom of God
16 Just then a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?”
17 “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, keep the commandments.”
18 “Which ones?” he inquired.Jesus replied, “‘You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, 19 honor your father and mother,’[c] and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’[d]”
20 “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?”
21 Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22 When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it is hard for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and asked, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”
27 Peter answered him, “We have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?”
28 Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29 And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife[e] or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. 30 But many who are first will be last, and many who are last will be first.
I guess the church in the US showed us again an example of how we may be claiming to be following Jesus, to live a Christian life yet when it threatens our earthly existence, even just the financial side of it, how ready and willing are we for real. There are many out there that end up facing severe consequences, even death, as a result of their faith. Look at the early Christians look at those areas where Christians are persecuted. What would you do if you were convinced that your prayers were answered and find yourself faced with a POTENTIAL liability? WOULD YOU DENY HIM, HIS NAME, OR WOULD YOU FACE UP TO THE CONSEQUENCES EVEN IF THE MAY BE FINANCIALLY SEVERE?
What do you say?