Once there were two evil brothers. They were incredibly wealthy and used their unlimited resources to hide their evil ways from everyone in town. The only person who knew the truth was the old, worn out pastor, who didn’t have the will or strength to stand up to them. Consequently, the evil brothers completely controlled their church.
One day, the old, worn out pastor retired and a new energetic pastor was assigned to the church.
She was a magnificent preacher, wonderful administrator, and on fire for the Holy Spirit.
Under the new pastor’s leadership, the church began to grow very quickly.
The first worship service filled up so they started a second service. It too, quickly filled up and the church started a third service. Once all three services were full, the members decided the only solution was to build a bigger sanctuary. They chose to only pay with cash.
The two evil brothers were very much against all the new people coming to church and the new sanctuary. They did everything they could to prevent it from happening.
Then, on the day of the capital fund drive, the church raised eight million dollars. Sadly, in order to build the sanctuary, they needed nine million. They were one million dollars short.
That night over dinner, the evil brothers celebrated the church being unable to build the new sanctuary. And as they raised their glasses to toast their good fortune, one of the evil brothers keeled over dead of a heart attack.
The next day, the remaining evil brother was in the pastor’s office planning his brother’s funeral. He said to the pastor, “I know you are aware that my brother and I are evil but no one else in town knows. I will give you the one million dollars you still need so that you can build the new sanctuary, but tomorrow in the funeral, you must call my brother a saint.”
The young pastor was torn. She knew it was God’s will the church build a new sanctuary, but she also knew she could not lie. She said, “Write the check right now and I will call your brother a saint.”
The evil brother sneered and said, “I knew you would compromise your morals for money,” He wrote the check and she immediately went to the bank and deposited the funds.
The day of the funeral, the church was packed with people. As the pastor stood in the pulpit, there before her in the casket lay the dead evil brother. As she began her sermon, she said, “This man in the casket swindled all of you out of money, looked at you with contempt and disdain, beat his wife and children, and was a truly horrible human being. But compared to his brother, he was a saint.”
At one time or another, each of us needs to be reminded we are not saints. We are people in need of God’s healing, restorative grace. It’s the only way home.
When the “Good” people began to wonder why Jesus ate with sinners, he said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” (Mark 2:17)
The real you is someone in need of Jesus’ love. That’s a good thing.
Prayer: Dear Gracious Heavenly God, remind me of my need for your Son. Fill my life with grace, peace, and purpose. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
Just for the record, at my funeral I don’t want to be called a saint. I just want one person to say he/she never fell asleep listening to my sermons. I’m good with that.
I pray your day is filled with joy and laughter.