A man and his wife joined a local church. The couple were out of work and had precious little food and clothing, and it wasn’t long before they asked the church for help. The church lovingly obliged by providing plenty of donations. The pastor also helped the husband find a good job.
During their time of need, the couple attended church faithfully. Once they were back on their feet, though, they stopped. This irked the pastor, but he let the situation slide because there wasn’t a lot he could do about it anyway. You can’t force people to come to church, even those who are members of your church.
Then came a night when the pastor was walking along a downtown street and just happened to run into the couple. The couple were well dressed and obviously very much into themselves. As a matter of fact, they would have passed right by the pastor without speaking if he hadn’t spoken first.
The pastor said, “My, you folks certainly do look good. Where are you headed?” The wife answered, “We’ve just had a wonderful meal at a nice restaurant, and we’re going home now. ” The pastor said, “Well, I guess you know that we’ve been missing you at church lately.” Now it was the husband’s turn to answer. He said, “Oh, you know how it is. We both work hard every day, and Sunday’s the only day we have to do the things we like to do.”
Both the husband and the wife hoped that excuse would suffice and the conversation would come to a polite end, but the pastor was having none of it. Perhaps his tone wasn’t the best in the world, and his social etiquette surely wasn’t, but he did feel led of the Lord to say what he said. He looked the husband squarely in the eyes and said, “Do you know what we ought to do? We ought to get down on our knees and ask God to take away your job so that you can have time to worship and serve Him because He has been so good to you.” Ouch. Point made.
This story really happened. I cut it out of a Christian publication years ago and stuck it in my files. Really, though, even if it wasn’t true, it could be. We are so prone to run to the Lord when times are bad and drift away from Him when times are good, aren’t we?
But the Bible teaches that the exact opposite should be the case. The text verse is Romans 2:4, and I’ll use it to close this post. As you read the verse, pay close attention to what it says about what God’s goodness toward you should produce in your life. I don’t think you’ll have any trouble spotting the lesson:
Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? (N.K.J.V.)