Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Bold (emotionally) (08/30/07)
- TITLE: Who Will Stand Up?
By Alan Zimmerman
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Pastor Sims was out of character as a firebrand preacher, but that wasn’t what got the people’s attention. Here was a man who had often betrayed the confidences of church members. And many of them had seen him after he had taken more than a friendly sip of corn liquor (and a few times someone had to escort him home). For him to hold himself up as the town’s moral standard didn’t sit well with them. But they listened as he continued, “Who will stand up against the idolaters? Who will stand up against the unjust? Who will stand up? Why do I have to carry your burden as well as mine?”
Before he could say anything more, a quiet man with worn jeans and dusty boots rose from his seat and said, “I will stand up! I will stand up against evil in this town.” The church was silent as he kept speaking. “And I will stand up against the hypocrites who hold themselves up as holy, but who are anything but worthy.” This man was speaking in general terms about society and the world, but the audience thought he was talking about Pastor Sims. And the pastor thought the same thing. The man concluded in a loud voice saying, “I will stand up!!”
Pastor Sims, now red-faced and furious, shook his finger at the man and said, “YOU WILL SIT DOWN! How dare you come into my house and cast stones at me? What gives you the right …” but before he could finish the local banker shouted, “I will stand up!” Then, on the other side of the church, a young couple said, “We will stand up!” Three elderly ladies in the third row rose and in unison said, “I will stand up!” Within a few moments everyone in the church had made the same vow. In their minds, they were standing up against a self-righteous man in a black robe. But the Holy Spirit had entered their hearts, and though they didn’t realize it at the time, they would be taking a stand against the everyday evils of the world.
As you might imagine, it wasn’t long before the shepherd and his flock went their separate ways. Little by little, the newly energized church members made their town a truly Christian place to live. They often remembered the day that their congregation made a bold stand and God punished an arrogant preacher. But one man, a quiet man with worn jeans and dusty boots, saw it differently. He always thought that maybe it took a prideful pastor to bring this church to its senses. And the preacher, who was publicly humbled by God, had also been exalted by the works of the same people who had turned against him. The quiet man shook his head and smiled as he thought of his wonderful God, who could turn defeat into victory, and victory into glory.
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