Our little country church hired a new minister after our former minister… well let’s just say, we could have stoned him in Old Testament times.
The situation dragged on longer than it should have and had a negative affect on the entire congregation. People just stopped trying! Deacons were listening to sports on their iPhones and little Bluetooth ear pieces during sermons. Old ladies started gossiping right out in the open. Teens were chewing tobacco in the back row. And no one was particularly following along with the sermon in their Bibles – IF they even brought them.
When the new preacher, Pastor Charles McNutt, approached the church cornerstones about their individual transgressions, they’d hem and haw around and sometimes flat out lie about it.
When your spiritual leader falls, I guess it’s hard to feel like trying even matters anymore. Everyone was bearly going through the motions. We really needed a wake up call and the new preacher knew it.
Pastor McNutt wasn’t some young buck. If he had been, I’m sure his spirit would have been crushed. No, our “new” preacher was seasoned. Looking at him, this would likely be his last congregation. Maybe the pulpit committee hoped this old preacher would be tired and wouldn’t make waves.
Fortunately, they were wrong.
One bright Sunday after he failed to get one, “Amen” through a “Hell Fire” sermon, Pastor McNutt closed the service by telling his congregation, “Next week I will be preach about the sin of lying. To help you understand the context, I would like you all to read Mark 17.”
His response was half-hearted nods and murmurs of, “Yes” just to get the service over with.
The following Sunday, after hymn number 145, “Amazing Grace”, Pastor McNutt approached the pulpit and asked for a show of hands. He wanted to know how many had read Mark chapter 17.
Of course, every hand went up. The sly minister looked around the room, smiled an old knowing smile, and said, “My dear lost children. The book of Mark has only sixteen chapters. I will now proceed with my sermon on the sin of lying.”