While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus, the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”
Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
- Mark 5:35-36
Well, if Jesus overheard a conversation, overhearing conversations cannot be THAT bad, right?
The on-line dictionary says that an eavesdropper (a term since the 17th century) is someone who lurks in the shadows, typically under the eave of the roof to listen in on a conversation to which the eavesdropper was not a part. I was not an eavesdropper. I was sitting at a table in the food court, in full view of the woman doing the talking.
Upon the day of writing this blog, my wife wanted to go out. I really did not want to go, but she coaxed me into it. I took her to the mall so that she could walk. She came back with the usual Valentine’s Day stuff found at the kiosks along the way, but she walked. In the meantime, I sat in the food court and played a game on the tablet. I had already done most of my daily reading. Since my brain was not engaged and the woman to my right spoke directly toward me, loudly, I could hear every word, if I wanted to hear all the words. It was inevitable that I would hear some of the conversation.
It did not take me long to figure out that the woman was talking about an activity at her church. The woman talked about a weekend event that she had organized that would be all about women empowerment. She went into detail about the social issues, the financial issues, the issues regarding power within the workplace, etc. I paid little attention until she said, “Of course,…” with a long pause.
“There will be the usual (derogatory noun) about accepting Jesus into your heart, but the rest will be good stuff to empower women.”
I was so shocked that I cannot swear to the derogatory noun that was used. Was it “crap”, “junk”, or “garbage”? It was along those lines with an accented dismissive gesture with her hands and arms. At least she wasn’t a potty mouth.
Then I started asking myself what this woman’s motivation was. Was she downplaying the evangelism to get people in the door and then by some mystical force they become saved? Was she so into her cause that she would let the ‘holy rollers’ have their five minutes somewhere in the middle of her great program just to get the church to allow her to do it? Was her church so interested in numbers that they would attempt such a sham? Or have the ‘evangelists’ of that church reduced themselves to bait-and-switch tactics, since no one wants to hear their message anymore? Is the message the message Jesus sent us into the world to proclaim, or some watered down ‘garbage’, ‘junk’, or ‘crap’ designed to attract outsiders who would turn and run away from the true message?
The last two questions are scary. For one thing, if you do not have the Holy Spirit within you and relying upon Him in your efforts to do God’s will, you will never be a successful evangelist. Even then, you need to prepare before venturing out. Then our message must be based on sound doctrine. But finally, if the Holy Spirit is working within the heart of a seeker, they will not turn away from the true message, no matter how clumsily you might deliver it. Without the Holy Spirit working within the heart of the seeker, an eloquent delivery would be of no use.
On the church calendar, a three-day event to empower the women of the church looks like doing God’s work, but after hearing the description made by the organizer, it seems that God was not involved in the planning and the humans involved only thought of Him as a filler between sessions. Then again, God can do miracles in the oddest places, even a church. I will pray for them, although I never learned which church it was. As Jesus said in the Scripture above, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.