“Rita, hold all calls and if anyone comes in, tell them I’m unavailable.”
It hurt Rita’s heart to see her young pastor, Tom Davenport, so down. He had been at her church for about two years. When he came, he was brimming with new ideas about how to grow the church and how to involve it in the work of the Lord. Every day he grew more discouraged, and it was painful to watch.
As soon as Tom closed the door, he sank to his knees by the chair in front of his desk. He wasn’t so much in a kneeling position as in a crumpled one. “Lord, I’m all used up! I’m so far beyond frustration that I don’t even know how to cope anymore. I was so excited when I came here, excited and scared to be the pastor of a church this size at my age, but that excitement has been drained out of me one drop at a time.
“I need you, Lord! I know you haven’t left me! So why do I feel like I’ve been left hanging. I need you to speak to me! I need a conscious sense of your presence! Tell me what’s wrong! I preach to the best of my ability, messages that I truly believe come from You. Why then am I preaching to stone faces? Talk to me, Lord! Communicate to me about the problems we face! Is it all me? Do I need to leave this church?”
Tears scalded his cheeks and his chin trembled. He raised his hands to heaven in a “need to know” gesture. Slowly, very slowly he began to feel that sweet filling of the Holy Spirit. He felt the presence of the Lord upon him.
“You have a virus!”
“I have a virus, Lord?”
“No, your church has a virus.”
“Lord, how does a church have a virus?”
“Get up, sit in your chair, and let me show you!”
Tom sat in his desk chair with his hands on the arms, palms upward in an expectant manner. Scenes began to run through his mind. Everything was crystal clear except the faces.
“Gads, I can’t stand the music our pastor allows in our church! How can anyone worship with all that “praise” junk assaulting our ears?”
“Did you hear what the missions committee wants to involve our church in? Don’t they know that we’ve got to get out of debt before we can involve ourselves in any costly mission works?”
“Our deacons have always been very involved in helping run our church! You know what they want us to do now? They want us to be servants, ministering to people! We’ve never done that before, and we don’t intend to start doing it now!”
Scenes like these ran through Tom’s mind for several minutes. When the scenes ceased, his mind flashed back to what God had said to him. “You have a virus!” With his brow creased in concentration, Tom searched his memory for the symptoms of a virus: A virus is contagious; it makes you feel so horrible that you won’t attempt anything that is not absolutely necessary; it weakens your body; and it becomes hard to concentrate on anything but the virus.
Tom sprang to his feet and paced the floor. God had showed him the problem, now He began showing him the solutions. Viruses may not be overcome immediately, but they can be overcome!
A totally different Tom walked out his office door. “Rita, we’re going to put a new sermon title in the bulletin. It will be ‘We Have a Virus!’ okay?” Rita was thrilled to see the change in her pastor!
Sunday morning a newly energized Tom stood before his church. The fact that God in His loving care had revealed the church’s problem to him restored his confidence, his enthusiasm, and his passion. With God’s help, this church would become a powerhouse for the Lord. He was not stupid though; this virus would not dissipate overnight.
“I stand before you today, to tell you our church has a virus! This virus has been sucking the life out of our beloved church. I stand before you to tell you the Great Physician is here, and He has the perfect medicine to heal our virus—if we’ll take it.”
Tom held his Bible over his head. “This is our medicine! Today our Great Physician will administer His first dose!”
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