It was the question that kept going round and round inside Dave's head. How had he gotten here? Not here in his late model sedan, driving aimlessly around town. But here. In this situation. Maybe that's why he was in the car for no apparent reason. To figure things out. Inside the car seemed to be the only place he ever got any time to himself. Time where he could think things through, figure things out.
Everything came back to Greg. Young, clever, got-it-all-together Greg. Ever since he had started coming to their small group, it seemed Dave and Greg were destined to have it out. He contradicted every point Dave made in their lesson. Argued every stance Dave took, and put a spotlight on every small error Dave committed.
Sometimes Dave could remember that there was a verse in Galatians, or Phillipians, that backed up his statement, but Greg always wanted to know exactly where that verse was.
What verse was that again? Can we go there? Read that right now?
Ughhh! The man was so frustrating. Dave couldn't remember specific verses very well. Truth be told, he didn't read his Bible as much as he should. He was a good small group leader, though. Everyone respected him. Liked him. Trusted him.
Except, lately he had felt his leadership role being eroded away. Greg knew his stuff. Knew where all the verses were and exactly what they said. He related them to their current discussion and people listened. They were gravitating to his conversations and being impacted by his knowledge. Dave was losing his group.
After a while, Greg came to him privately. At first Dave assumed it was because he wanted to apologize for hijacking the group. But no, he wanted to address other things.
“Dave,” he began innocently enough. “I've noticed signs of stress in our small group lately. I was wondering if maybe work and hosting the group week after week aren't starting to become a burden to you. I was wondering if I could help out some, maybe host at my house once in a while, take the lesson off your hands here and there. You know, give you a bit of a break. See if that helps.”
Dave couldn't believe it. Greg was making a blatent effort to steal the group away. “What makes you think it's a burden, Greg? I love hosting this group. I'm where God has called me.”
“I'm not trying to say anything different. I just thought you could use a break now and then, and I feel I could be of help. Sometimes, it seems like things are a little rushed for you, and you didn't quite have time to really prepare.”
“Don't worry Greg. You have a point – I need to prepare more. I'm going to refocus and do better. You'll see.”
But Dave had no such intention. He was just buying time. Time to speak with the pastor and some elders about Greg. He explained how the young man had been undermining him in small group, trying to embarrass him in front of the others. Dave also hinted, subtly, that Greg held to some fringe beliefs that bordered on false teachings. No details, of course – small group confidentiality, and all. But possibly dangerous leanings that Dave was worried could mislead people. Already he feared that Greg was trying to steal people away to start his own study - away from the church.
A meeting was called. Dave had outlined everything vaguely enough that Greg couldn't really defend himself, and he strangely didn't seem inclined to. Afterwards, it seemed almost anti-climactic when the young man announced that he and his family would find another church home and left.
That first meeting afterwards had seemed different. Nobody said anything, but Dave could tell they all knew he had instigated Greg's departure. Even worse, God said nothing. But Dave could feel it nonetheless. It was like when you did something really bad, and you knew your father knew about it. And you knew your father knew that you knew he knew about it. It hangs between you, this silence that separates you from him until you make things right.
Dave looked up from the steering wheel. His car was stopped.
Where am I?
Looking around, Dave's eyes focused on one house. Greg's house. With a sigh, he realized why he was out driving around aimlessly tonight.
Time to make things right.
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