The little truck looked as if a strong crosswind would blow it onto its side, leaving the wheels spinning slowly to a stop in the air. The piece of furniture strapped into the bed of the vehicle almost gave the impression it was brushing the utility wires overhead as the huge affair rolled into the parking lot.
My heart sank. Never had I seen such an item before, but I knew immediately what it was intended to be. I had heard the project was in the planning, but didn’t really think it would ever become a reality. Now, I wished it had stayed in the planning stages.
Seven feet tall and six wide, the rolling case was. It was a storage rack, built for a specific use.
For half an hour, we talked. I like the man who drove the truck. He knew, just knew, I needed the huge thing. He had seen the state of my repair area and believed his was the ideal solution. A fair amount of money had gone into the project, and more than a few hours of his labor.
His gamble wouldn’t pay off on this day.
It’s too big. I can’t put it in my store. For that matter, it doesn’t fit my vision of what I’d want for the task anyway.
The little truck, front tires nearly lifting off the pavement from the weight in the bed, made its precarious way back onto the street and headed back in the direction from which it had come. Before it departed though, a few unhappy words had been muttered behind the hands of the fellows who had accompanied the contraption with the intent to help unload it.
They didn’t wish to move it again.
I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t have wanted to move it the first time!
The unhappy words hadn’t been said to me. Still, they had been directed at me. Somehow, it was my fault that the towering storage rack wasn’t finding a home in my little store.
I never promised to buy such a thing. There was no commission for it to be built.
I stood behind the counter in my store and shook my head. When I came home to dinner a couple hours later, the unhappy feelings lingered.
Why did they blame me?
Would it be sacrilegious for me to suggest that I understand how God feels?
I’m not saying I’m God. I’m saying I’ve done just that thing to Him before. Maybe you have too. At the least, we’ve all seen it done.
I wonder if the King of Creation doesn’t just look up from His work and say, “Nope. I didn’t order it and I won’t pay for it. Take it away.” (Matthew 7:23)
Well now. That doesn’t seem fair, does it?
And yet, when we presume to know what our commission is without consulting the Commissioner, we will work in vain. We simply toil for ourselves, wasting our labor.
And what of those who come along for the ride? They come in what we call good faith. But, is it really?
The old pastor who married the Lovely Lady and me described such a situation once, many years ago. It seems a traveling evangelist from a different state had stopped in to see him one day as the elderly saint sat at his desk reading his tattered, marked-up Bible.
“God has told me that I’m to conduct revival services here in this church,” the hapless young evangelist informed the wise old man.
The gray-headed pastor sat, fingers of his hands laced together on the desk before him. He smiled. It was a kindly smile, not the wicked smart-aleck grin of malice some would wear in such a circumstance. Leaning forward, he quietly gave his answer.
“I’m glad you told me. When I hear the same message from Him, I’ll get in contact with you and we’ll proceed with the meetings.”
Unfortunately, the young man never conducted any services in that church.
If someone makes a promise to you on behalf of God, check with the real Source first, before taking action. Many who haven’t have paid the price.
Some have paid with their lives, as in the case of the People’s Temple and the Jonestown Massacre in 1978. Blindly following their false prophet, hundreds drank poison and died. They acted in good faith.
Heaven wasn’t awaiting.
God hadn’t invited them to be a part of that cult. He certainly didn’t place the order for their suicides.
Almost just as bad is when we blindly follow empty teaching, the result being a lifetime of service to good feelings, but empty deeds. The end of such a life is what the Preacher called vanity. Nothing more. Nothing less. (Ecclesiastes 1:1-3)
Useless and empty.
I wonder if the folks who drove away from my music store in that little pickup felt like that? Useless and empty?
The disappointment was almost palpable.
That old pastor had a saying: When God orders it, he writes the check out and pays for it in full.
I think I want to be sure the order has been placed. I need to see it with my own eyes. It has to come right from the source.
Payment is guaranteed. In writing, it’s guaranteed. (Matthew 25:21)
Now—that’s good faith.
True faith means holding nothing back. It means putting every hope in God’s fidelity to His Promises.
(Frances Chan ~ American pastor/author)
Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter into the kingdom of heaven—only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day, many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, didn’t we prophesy in your name, and in your name cast out demons and do many powerful deeds?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you. Go away from me, you lawbreakers!’
(Matthew 7:21-23 ~ NET)
© Paul Phillips. He’s Taken Leave. 2016. All Rights Reserved.