I was Just a Guest

Matthew 23:12 – And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.

A number of years ago, I accepted an invitation from a friend, to join her and her family for Sunday service at their church. The occasion in part had to do with the church celebrating their pastor’s 10th anniversary.

The morning of the church service, I and my younger daughter met my friend and her family in the lobby of the church. There was quite an outpouring of people leaving the 8:00 am service and equally a number of people coming in for the 11:00 am service.

As my friend led us to our seats, I felt a sense of warmth and Christian love all around us.

The choir was quite large and the songs moved the congregation into shouting, clapping and dancing.

After the Scripture reading and prayer, of course, the worship leader asked for visitors to stand and be recognized.

When I sat back down, I couldn’t wait for the Word to come forth.

After all, I was just a guest and didn’t know what to expect for the remainder of the service.

So, now, the congregation waited for the pastor to introduce the guest pastor from Virginia.

But before the church’s pastor introduced the pastor of the hour, he first gave acknowledgment to those few faithful members who stood by him when he first came to the church. Then he proceeded to speak about how the church membership had increased and about all the community projects that were taking place or underway to begin in the coming months.

Now, mind you, I didn’t find anything that unusual about the man of God thanking the faithful or expounding on how the church had grown since his arrival. What took me unaware was when he then begins to fuss at the congregation about how trifling they were.

Yes, all that pleasantry went right out the door, when this pastor told his congregation that he spent too much money to have them come up in his bathrooms and leave them nasty. He actually spoke to his congregation as if they were customers rather than members of the Body of Christ.

My friend took a quick glance over at me. She probably felt embarrassed, seeing how she was always bragging about the great accomplishments of her pastor.

Well, the guest pastor preached. And right after that. The church pastor extended an invitation for members and guest to come downstairs to the fellowship hall for a celebratory meal.

My friend and her family led my daughter and I downstairs.

The way I was thinking, this was a nice ending to a somewhat pleasant service, minus the beat-down and public humiliation of the congregation.

I and my daughter were seated, but what I found unusual was that my friend and her family stood to the side.

Naturally, I felt a little uncomfortable, seeing that I was just a guest, and I really expected to have dinner with my friend and her family.

Long story short. The church pastor made it quite clear that no member was to be fed first. As it was said to me by my friend, the church had problems in the past with church members hogging down and wrapping up platters to go. So, the church pastor put in place a rule that prohibited members from eating first whenever there was an event taking place at church.

Now, I do know that my friend and her family are no longer members of this church. I was never told about the cause of their departure.

What I do know is this.

I was just a guest and I was the better off for it.

In Christ Alone

The Counterfeit Christian
2015 The Year of Our Lord