Monday, August 15, 2011

The minister and the miser

(Copyright 2011 by Bob Rogers)

I once had a church member who was a miser. To protect the guilty, I'll call him L.B.

Soon after I became pastor of a certain church in southwest Mississippi, I began to hear tall tales about L.B., a long-time inactive church member who was a miser. L.B. lived simply, but he was not poor. "He's got so much money in the bank that they had to put him on the board," one of my deacons claimed. They said he was so miserly that he drove his old pickup truck at night with the lights off to save his battery. (I didn't believe that story.) L.B. owned the land around our church. The old, rusty barbed wire fence often broke, and his cows wandered onto our church lawn.

Being the good pastor that I was, one Sunday afternoon I took my wife and went to visit L.B. We were greeted by L.B., his parents and dozens of cats. My wife sat down on the couch and noticed a live chicken in a bucket next to the couch, with chicken wire on top. L.B. and his parents rolled their own cigarettes and smoked as we talked. I talked to them about the Lord. They said they believed. I encouraged them to attend church; they made a few excuses, and we left.

I didn't see or hear from L.B. for a long time. He never came to church, and he never gave any offering. Then one Wednesday, we had the church windows raised during prayer meeting, since it was a mild autumn evening. Suddenly I heard a man's voice calling, "Ooo! Ooo!" We looked outside, and there was L.B.’s pick-up truck parked in the middle of the road in front of the church, throwing a bale of hay on the road and calling up his cows to feed. He had time to finish feeding them and leave before another car came by that way.

One night as I was driving near the church, I suddenly saw a pickup in the shadows turn on his lights. As we drove by, I saw the silhouette of L.B. in the cab of the truck. Then as he passed, the lights went off again.

Jesus warned, "Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven...For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." (Matthew 6:19-21, NIV)

Not many Christians are as extreme as L.B., but are you, like L.B., so consumed with making money here on earth that you ignore the church and the Lord right next to you? Don't wait until you meet the Lord head-on to turn on your lights. It may be too late.

(Copyright 2011 by Bob Rogers.)

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